The Straight Story (1000+ posts) Fri Jul-10-09 06:24 PM
Smoking ban in park to affect the homeless?
Focus park smoking ban on play areas
Metro Parks and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department think they have an offer Tacoma’s leaders can’t refuse.
The proposed smoke ban for Tacoma’s parks could accomplish all these things – in theory. Reality is another story.
There’s nothing wrong per se with using the law to encourage healthy behavior. The codes are full of attempts to establish or endorse societal norms. But laws should offer some reasonable hope of solving the problems they purport to address. An all-encompassing ban on smoking in parks falls short.
Smokers who have been kicked out of offices, restaurants and bars yet still puff away aren’t going to kick cigarettes just because the neighborhood park is now off limits.
Kids won’t take up smoking because they saw some shady character at the park smoking. They take up smoking because they see their friends, classmates and loved ones doing it.
Littering? That’s already against the law, yet parks are still strewn with bottles, cans and hamburger wrappers. Tacoma officials might as well tell people not to picnic in the park if they’re serious about cutting down on the amount of trash on the loose.
Trying to legislate smokers into a corner – quite literally – is an overreach. The people who would be disproportionately affected by a park smoking ban are the homeless, many of whom smoke and spend a good deal of their days in parks.