I am not a smoker but resent the premise that elected officials can make a law that affects thousands of people without being put up for a vote.
The ordinance was played up to be about the children and their playgrounds. Certainly most people would agree that prohibiting smoking on playgrounds is fine. However, included would be places such as the dog park, the Animas River Trail, athletic fields, parks, picnic areas, basketball courts, community pools and more.
The stated intent and purpose of the ordinance is to promote public health, safety and general welfare of the residents of Durango by limiting exposure to involuntary environmental tobacco smoke or secondhand tobacco smoke and the associated health risks in designated areas open to the public.
The Durango Herald (Nov. 9) said “The mayor originally opposed the inclusion of the river trail because he doubted whether smokers in remote spots would bother people on the trail. ... He (Lyon) said the law’s intent really is about setting a good example as opposed to eliminating the danger of secondhand smoke.”
That goes directly against the stated intent and purpose. It validates the fact that this is more about the City Council’s agenda than public health. In addition, there is no scientific evidence that secondhand smoke outdoors is detrimental to the health of others.
Also, I am curious as to why the golf course has been exempted. Why is it any different than the dog park or the river trail? Could it have something to do with politics rather than health? Dog owners don’t have the clout that the golfers have because they are not unified.
This is a complete overreach because it is so inclusive and also when you start exempting certain groups you could be violating the rights of others.
This is not a complex issue. It is about freedom and legislating ideology. In any event, it needs to be decided by more than five or six people. We already treat smokers as second-class citizens: I guess the idea is to ban them completely or turn them into golfers!