Friday, January 18, 2008

IN MY VIEW: Burbank's Outdoor Smoking Ban is Unreasonable: Good Bye Science, Hello Fanaticism

According to an article in the Burbank Leader, a 19-year-old received a $200 fine for having a cigarette in hand while crossing a street in downtown Burbank. He was cited under the city's no-smoking ordinance, which completely prohibits smoking in downtown Burbank, including all streets, sidewalks, parking lots, alleyways, or anywhere else. The young man told the press: "I was here to see a movie and had no idea there was a citywide ordinance. This is an unreasonable law."

According to the article, since enforcement of the law began in August, more than 300 people have been cited for smoking in downtown Burbank. At an average cost of $100 per fine, this amounts to $30,000 in revenue, which is apparently split between the city courts and other city departments.

Signs on business windows throughout the downtown read: "No smoking in downtown Burbank."

The Rest of the Story

This is exactly the type of fanaticism that gives the anti-smoking movement a bad name. In my opinion, this is going to hurt efforts to protect people from secondhand smoke much more than it is going to help. The reason? Because it does little to protect the public from any real health threat, yet it promises to undermine future anti-smoking efforts by painting those of us working to protect nonsmokers as being zealots and fanatics.

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