Writing Smokefree Laws

By using workers rights as the main focus of smokefree legislation, we continue to ignore the rights of customers and the general public to go about the routines of their daily lives without being exposed to secondhand smoke. By drafting laws using labor codes instead of health codes, we hand the tobacco companies and smoker advocates a huge loophole in which to build all their accommodation practices. In every place where smokefree legislation has already been passed, people with respiratory diseases are still asked to change their personal lives so nicotine addicts can practice their addictions in public. Whether it's in doorways, bus shelters, beside open windows or at outdoor cafes and restaurants, these dangerous practices need to be banned in the interest of public health and safety. There is now more than ample evidence and research to change the focus of smokefree laws to eliminate the problem of secondhand smoke entirely. Those with respiratory diseases have been asked to wait patiently until the laws recognize their rights too. Their patience is wearing thin! Everyone has the right to breathe clean air. The general public should not be asked to suffer for someone else's bad choices in life. It's time to lay all of the burdens of nicotine addiction at the feet of nicotine addicts, not innocent bystanders.

There are a few simple facts that need to be spoken at the beginning of any dialog about tobacco and its uses in public places. First of all, to advocate for the rights of all citizens to be able to go about the routine of a normal day without being exposed to tobacco pollution is in no way antismoker. On the other hand, to accommodate smokers in public places is in no way compassionate towards smokers. The only way to show compassion to persons with severe life threatening addictions is to do everything in our power to help them break the addictions. Providing places for persons to smoke in public places is simply enabling them to continue the addiction while at the same time exposing the general public to health and life threatening toxic chemicals. Itís time to stop tiptoeing around the subject with convenient, politically correct ideas inspired by an industry that is desperate to continue to kill for profit. We all need to reevaluate our need to continue to be enablers to smokers. Many of our lives depend on changing the major paradigm.

Below Are the Basic Elements Required to Make Smokefree Laws Fair:

  1. All smokefree laws should be written with the express purpose of protecting people from ever having to be exposed to secondhand smoke. No one should ever have to walk away from a public place in order to breathe smokefree air. Breathing is a basic human right! The smoker should be the one required to leave.
  2. Smokefree laws should prohibit smoking in all public places including outdoor spaces where people would be exposed to drifting smoke. This includes public parks, benches, stadiums and beaches.
  3. Laws that specifically deal with restaurants and bars should prohibit smoking any place where seating and tables are provided for the consumption of food and beverages, indoors and outdoors. Persons who donít smoke shouldnít have to sit indoors on beautiful days!
  4. All smokefree laws should contain provisions that ban smoking in doorways where persons entering and exiting would have to walk through smoke. This provision should also ban smoking in any proximity where smoke could drift back into the building.
  5. Smoking should be banned in bus shelters. People who donít smoke should not have to stand in the cold and rain so smokers can satisfy their addictions.
  6. Under no circumstances should rooms be provided for smokers in airports or any other enclosed spaces. There are no ventilation systems that remove harmful toxic chemicals contained in cigarette smoke. These rooms are dangerous for smokers and present other problems such as smoke drifting out through open doorways. It is also a hazard to employees required to clean and service the rooms.
  7. The right to breathe clean air should always supersede the need to satisfy a nicotine addiction. Any smoker who refuses a request to put out a cigarette should be charged with assault! Smokers should be forced to accept responsibility for their smoke and the harm it causes others.
  8. Tobacco companies and their representatives should be prohibited from participation in drafting smokefree laws because of serious conflict of interest.
  9. Tobacco use should be absolutely forbidden near children, pregnant women and disabled persons, especially people with respiratory diseases. This prohibition should include private homes.
  10. Tobacco advertising should be banned in all forms. There is no right to advertise a product that kills people, just as there is no right to yell fire in a crowded theater.
  11. All tobacco vending machines should be banned. This is one of the main ways tobacco is sold to children!