Whatever Will Charlie Sheen Do Now?

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Malibu has become the latest California coastal city to ban smoking on its beaches.

Mayor Sharon Barovsky, who smokes, said the new law is needed because of concerns about the health impact of secondhand smoke and the unsightly litter caused by cigarette butts.

I hate to see those kinds of butts on the beach as much as the next guy, but ? second-hand smoke? Next up: The California State Assembly weighs a statewide ban. (Links via L.A. Observed)

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  1. Death to the nanny state.

  2. Ah yes. Now all the smokers will come out and complain how their rights are being trampled and no one will support them… while they casually toss another burning piece of non-biodegradable trash on the ground.

  3. Sanity check: Are you arguing that reducing one’s personal output of non-biodegradable trash is a prerequisite for receiving individual rights?

  4. If the cigarette butts are the problem, why not enforce the litter laws?

    Where I live there are signs that say “NO LITTERING – $500 FINE” and then underneath on a separate sign they say “CIGARETTE BUTTS ARE LITTER” – as if it were an afterthought. 🙂

    Just enforcing that cigarette butt litter law would probably make billions for the city.

    Maybe we could use the proceeds to fund a “butt bounty” of 10 cents per butt or something – and then the’d have an advertising campaign that said “YOUR BUTT IS MINE!!!”

    …or something.

  5. Charge smokers $1 to enter the beach. If this is too hard to enforce, then have a voluntary system. Use the money to place ashtrays on the bloody beach. Every single smoker I know, myself included, would willingly pay a little extra for the “privilege” to smoke on a beach, in a bar, in a restaurant, etc…

    An aside – In Vegas, I could toss a butt on the sidewalk before entering a Casino, and then find it gone when I came back out.

  6. Put ashtrays on the beach? That what a beach is, anyway, just one big friggen ashtray.

  7. “Are you arguing that reducing one’s personal output of non-biodegradable trash is a prerequisite for receiving individual rights?”

    No, he’s pointing out the chronicly irresponsible making an argument from personal responsibility.

  8. “? another burning piece of non-biodegradable trash on the ground.”(Italics mine)

    Typical of nanny-state promoting, tree-hugging, enviro-nazis. Not content to make a valid point about littering, he has to tack on a patently false accusation to make it sound more horrifying. Note that making accusations sound more sensational is the important thing. Actual non-biodegradable litter may be unsightly but is preferable to the biodegradable variety from an environmental standpoint, as it doesn’t leach toxins into the soil (sand, whatever).

  9. That’s not actually true, Warren. Non-biodegradable materials leach toxis as well. Otherwise, your lead pipes would leak AND poison your kids.

  10. Zymurgist,

    Your snide quip carries little real meaning. Litter laws could protect against this, or, dare I say it, property laws! Maybe public beaches are the problem, not how the treatment of one piece of property fails to satisfy millions of owners’ desires.

  11. Technically, the law says you can’t smoke on the BEACH; it doesn’t say a damn thing about smoking in the ocean. Someone, in an act of civil disobedience, should go out to where the water is knee deep and start puffing away. I’d do it myself if I lived 3000 miles further west.

  12. Yeah, I don’t see one good reason why the approach to the butt problem should be a smoking ban. There’s already a ban on littering; why not enforce it? For the same reasons you make it a crime to not only murder somebody, but own a gun, which is a potential instrument of murder (cigarettes are potential instruments of littering):

    1) Prosecutors get more counts on which to convict
    2) Giving cigarettes/firearms the social stigma of criminality (only bad people have them)
    3) It’s better (in the eyes of some) to pre-emptively ban all possible activities which could lead to a real crime (“real crime” = “crime with a 2nd-party victim”). I don’t understand this argument since it apparently goes, “This activity (littering/murder) is bad. Instead of banning this activity, we will ban lead-up activities (smoking/owning a gun), since it will be easier to prosecute several small crimes than one big bad one”.

    As long as policymakers persist in the idea that the inanimate item (cigarette/gun) is the cause of and responsible party in a crime, we’ll have this sort of wasteful governmental intrusion.

  13. OK, let’s stop farting around and just ban tobacco entirely. I can’t wait to see the drive by shootings in the nicotine wars.

  14. OK, let’s stop farting around and just ban tobacco entirely. I can’t wait to see the drive by shootings in the nicotine wars.

  15. Sanity check: Are you arguing that reducing one’s personal output of non-biodegradable trash is a prerequisite for receiving individual rights?

    Well, I’ve checked my copy of the Constitution, and I still don’t see a right to blow smoke in people’s faces listed anywhere in it. Could you be a little more specific about which “individual rights” you’re referring to?

    Also, is the “individual right” that gives you permission to smoke on the beach the same one that gives people permission to, for example, strip naked and masturbate on the beach? I mean, I’m all for it, at least if it’s women doing it and I get to watch. It’s just that I don’t normally hear calls for it to be legalized. Mostly I just hear drug addicts complaining about their right to pollute the air I breathe.

  16. db said:


    I don’t understand this argument since it apparently goes, “This activity (littering/murder) is bad. Instead of banning this activity, we will ban lead-up activities (smoking/owning a gun), since it will be easier to prosecute several small crimes than one big bad one”.

    Actually the lead-up activities to murder are outlined here:

    Murderers are also not average citizens. About 90% of adult murderers already have an adult criminal record. Murderers are overwhelmingly young males with low IQs who have long histories of difficulty getting along with others.

    SOURCE: http://www.junkscience.com/nov98/lottgun.htm

    So to prevent murder, we should ban the lead-up activities (being stupid AND young AND male AND not getting along with people AND having a criminal record). Interestingly we have already done this, but it proves your point because we still have a murder rate – despite banning the lead-up activities.

  17. Dan-
    Blowing smoke directly into someone’s face is not the issue here; smoking in public is. SImilar to the way I can wear perfume in public, but can’t spray the contents of my perfume bottle directly into your face.

  18. zymurgist: …another burning piece of non-biodegradable trash…

    Umm… what freakin’ weirdo alternate universe do you live in where cigarette butts aren’t biodegradable? I mean, really, in your quest for big scary words to use are you truly that ignorant or do you just not care? Wow. Paper and cellulose filter. Non-biodegradable. Jeepers golly, it might even have CHEMICALS in it! Sorry, Warren, I know you hit it, but it just about made my head explode.

    And Dan, oh Dan. Yes, that’s right, the lack of a positively defined right to something means the gov’t can always outlaw it, no problem. And any good constitution has to weigh at least three hundred pounds, cause my copy doesn’t say anything about having sex, or eating candy, or picking my nose, or farting, or drinking coffee, or eating burgers… The ghost of Madison is still among us, and right know he’s pointing at you and screaming “I told you so” at Jefferson.

  19. Malibooo

  20. Smoking is a patently insane activity with no redeeming qualities. Smokers are by definition irrational about their addiction. As a former smoker, I understand well the ability to shut off common sense while inhaling a stream of carcinogens.

    I totally support any attempts by people who value their own health to restrict others ‘freedom to smoke’ in public environs. The application of the word ‘freedom’ here is an oxymoron and more than a little tragic as addicted smokers are in reality slaves to their habit, and they know it. How else can you explain the ‘choice’ to smoke, which even if one escapes cancer, is accompanied by a whole host of other health problems?

    Now I have no problem with individuals who, after counselling from those who care about them, insist on commiting suicide, but I certainly do not need to have my biology in the least bit affected by their insanity… and for those who think second hand smoke is a non-issue.. try:
    New study adds weight to link between passive smoking and death
    or
    Public smoking bans may cut heart attacks

    for just a couple examples of which there are many to indicate that a ‘smokers freedom to smoke’ is affecting the health of others.

    It is possible to quit smoking… I did, so did my Grandfather, only he didn’t have the “freedom to quit”… he died of lung cancer caused by cigarette smoke.

  21. Smokers “blow smoke in people’s faces” — Dan

    This is item number one in the Anti-smoker’s Handbook of Hyperbole (subtitle: Overstatement for Dummies). Smokers can make a room smoky, if it’s unventilated, but not a beach. Furthermore, they don’t blow smoke in people’s faces, because that is an aggressive act that could bring a punch in the nose.

    Pete (a non-smoker)

  22. If it’s a city-owned beach, everyone arguing about individual rights can crack open a cold bottle of shut the hell up. Dogs are banned, to prevent dog shit and dog bies. Glass bottles are banned to prevent broken glass from hiding in the sand. Alcohol is banned to prevent people from getting rowdy. Now, cigarettes are banned to prevent acrid smoke and litter. The owner, being a responsible owner who wants to maximize the ability of the public to enjoy the resource, has decided that keeping cigarettes off the beach will help. You can argue that on the merits, but there is no individual right to smoke on the property of someone who doesn’t want you to.

    method, many cigarettes use fiberglass filters nowadays. Most people assume they’re biodegradable b/c they look like cotton, but those little bastids lasts for years and years.

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