Het fanatisme van anti-rokers in gemeenteraden begint steeds absurder vormen aan te nemen.
In het plaatsje Bridgewater in de Canadese provincie Nova Scotia is in de eerste stemmingsronde een voorstel aangenomen waarin het voor de hele gemeente verboden wordt om buiten te roken. De enige plaats in de buitenlucht die overblijft om te roken is daardoor de eigen achtertuin.
Of de twee bruggen die eigendom zijn van de provincie, concludeerden rokers in het plaatsje. Ze hielden direct, uit protest tegen deze wet, een (rook-)demonstratie op deze bruggen.
Dit heeft niets meer met gezondheid te maken, concludeert Dr. Michael Siegel op zijn weblog. Hier zijn fanaten bezig die de aanblik van rokende mensen niet meer kunnen verdragen….
The police said Saturday’s protest, which alternated between the two bridges and at its height saw about 60 puffing away, was peaceful. Sgt. Al Cunningham said reporters almost outnumbered the smokers.
Town council recently voted to order staff to draft the bylaw. However, the proposal’s future is uncertain, as the most recent vote only passed 3-2 with two councillors absent.
Mayor Carroll Publicover has said the proposal would be an unreasonable restriction, arguing it would be impossible to enforce the rules on the town’s 66 kilometres of streets and 34 kilometres of sidewalks.
Bridgewater, a town of about 8,000 people along the province’s south shore, is the second Nova Scotia community to make headlines by proposing tough anti-smoking measures.
Smoking on streets and sidewalks and in parks does not represent such a substantial threat to the public’s health that it needs to be banned. An all-out ban on smoking in outdoors public places goes too far and divorces the tobacco control movement from any kind of rational science base. It also threatens to cast those of us who support workplace smoking bans as being fanatics who are simply trying to achieve prohibition through the back door.
Why should the sight of a smoker outside a school prompt an effort to ban smoking throughout the town? If the intent is simply to protect nonsmokers from health damage caused by secondhand smoke exposure, then there is no need to go this far. Instead, it seems that the real impetus for this proposal is a distaste for the idea that young people might see people smoking.
If you are going to regulate smoking in public places, I think you do so in order to protect people from secondhand smoke. I don’t think you regulate smoking in public places in order to keep kids from seeing people smoking. The former is justified on public health grounds. The latter is not.
More disturbingly, the latter intent (to protect kids from seeing smokers) casts a negative moral value on smoking. It becomes more than simply a health issue. It now becomes a moral issue. I think that is a mistake, because I don’t think we want to mix up lifestyle choices with morality. It could have devastating consequences in a number of ways.