July 10, 2012

Why we support the Carolina Beach smoking ban

Tonight the Carolina Beach town council will be hearing public comments regarding a possible beach smoking ban.  As we saw earlier this year in Wrightsville Beach, the emotions run hot on both sides of the issue.  Here are our thoughts on the ban:

We favor a smoking ban on Carolina Beach. Of course we all know that cigarette litter is a big problem on our beaches and that this can be addressed with current littering laws. However, smoking on the beach is also a public health issue. Beach goers who do not want to be subject to second hand smoke should not have to take proactive measures to avoid it. It should be the right of all individuals to enjoy the beach in a smoke free environment.

There is nothing worse than enjoying a relaxing day at the beach when a nearby smoker lights up and you find the winds are bringing their stink right into your area. You then have three options, confront the person and tell him/her to put it out, move yourself, or just suck in the unhealthy air. I generally will use option one but that occasionally leads to the smoker becoming defensive and it creates friction.

Please don't let people try to dismiss the smoking ban idea by saying it is a littering problem. It is more than that, it his a human health issue as well as a marine life safety issue. And for the people who bemoan the idea of 'big government' taking away more rights, I see it as the government protecting the rights of the majority who want to live a longer life. Smokers have every right to smoke, but they don't have the right to infringe on the rights of others who choose not to smoke.

UPDATE:  At the meeting, town council showed support for the ban and they will vote on it at the August meeting.  Star News Story
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