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Old 08-17-2006, 05:41 PM   #1
Brian Magnus
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Villa Regis, The Empreyan Heights
Posts: 45
Finally Some Sense Concerning A Proposed Anti-Smoking Legisl

Kudos to the Contra Costa County Times. Finally somebody has realized that this anti-smoking shit has gone to far. http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/...n/15293729.htm

Dublin Goes Too Far

Dublin council OKs cigarette ordinance
IF THINGS PROCEED along their current course, Dublin will become the first city in the Bay Area --the second in the state -- to pass an ordinance that places secondhand smoke in the category of a "public nuisance."

The latest ordinance, introduced by the City Council Tuesday, would, for the first time, regulate smoking in outdoor areas around private residences.

It goes into effect 30 days after passing a second reading by the council at its Sept. 5 meeting.

Under the new law, a nonsmoker who claims to have suffered because his neighbor's cigarette smoke wafted over a common fence, would be able to sue for damages in small claims court.

In this day of litigiousness, we hardly need to encourage a new flood of petty lawsuits.

It also is difficult to imagine how such an ordinance would be enforced. It would declare secondhand smoke a public nuisance -- like abandoned cars, weeds and vicious dogs. However, the ordinance would not make secondhand smoke a crime.

Inconvenienced nonsmokers would not be able to call the police to report a smoking neighbor, as they can to complain about someone who plays their music too loud.

Then, assuming an aggrieved nonsmoker decides to take the matter to court, how does he or she prove the case? The evidence -- the offending cigarette or cigar -- has long since gone up in smoke, leaving one neighbor's word against the other.

Don't get us wrong. The city's effort to crack down on secondhand smoke is certainly well-intentioned.

It comes on the heels of a report by the state Air Resources Board that labeled secondhand smoke a toxic hazard.

And, more recently, a U.S. Surgeon General's study declared, in no uncertain terms, that there is no such thing as safe exposure to cigarette smoke.

Unfortunately, however, good intentions don't always lead to good laws.

Councilwoman Kasie Hildenbrand says she pushed the ordinance because, with the growing number of multi-unit homes and residences being built closer together, relations between smokers and nonsmokers are likely to grow increasingly sour.

In particular, one resident had complained to Hildenbrand about a neighbor who kept smoking near her property line, aggravating her medical condition.

We sympathize with the woman. A considerate neighbor certainly would have stamped out his or her butt, moved farther away or gone indoors.

But the fact is, smoking, although bad for one's health, is not against the law if one indulges on one's own property.

Consequently, the city's efforts to restrict a person's right to smoke in their own backyard lead down a slippery slope.

Dublin has already banned smoking in most public places, which is a powerful step. But it's too great of a reach to attempt to enforce private behavior on private property when it does not violate the law.
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