Cape Gazette

Is a Rehoboth smoking ban wrong-headed?

By Steve Hyle | Feb 24, 2014

I am not a smoker except for the occasional good cigar, but I take exception with those who are giving kudos to those city leaders who are pushing for a Rehoboth Beach smoking ban. You know, every sword has a double edge. I completely agree with the ban on smoking in restaurants, planes, trains and other confined venues. A wide open beach is hardly a confined environment.

Passive smoking is the inhalation of smoke, called second-hand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke, by persons other than the intended active smoker. It occurs when tobacco smoke permeates any environment, causing its inhalation by people within that environment. The operative phrase here is permeates the environment. We’re talking about a beach environment here folks. The wind constantly blows off the Atlantic and immediately dissipates and disperses second hand smoke way before it permeates the immediate environment. Unless, of course, a smoker has the temerity to blow their smoke directly in the face of anyone in the vicinity, no one at the beach is at risk from their second hand smoke.

The other factor is an economic one. Has anyone in the city leadership done any kind of analysis or polling to determine what the potential negative impact a smoking ban might have on city businesses if it reduces summer visitors? Are smokers going to constantly leave their relaxing place on the beach to walk to a designated smoking area? Will they be annoyed that while attending a concert at the Bandstand they have to walk away, and miss part of the entertainment? And has anyone done a scientific study on the range and potency of second hand smoke on a wide open windy beach or board walk? Can second hand smoke really permeate an open beach environment?

I don’t deny that second hand smoke constitutes a health risk. But at some point common sense has to prevail. We are so prone now to jump on the latest politically correct hysteria that in this case it just may be blinding the city leaders to the negative impact of a Rehoboth Beach smoking ban, because of their fixation on what may be false and unproven positives. Rehoboth Beach may be better served if they rethink their position before they possibly cut off their nose to spite their face.

Steve Hyle

Comments (3)
Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | Feb 25, 2014 05:30

I concur with Steve. Banning smoking is a law that constrains human behavior. One cannot, and should not attempt to legislate behavior. It is simply socialism, and cultural manipulation to try and make people behave in a way that is socially acceptable (from someone else's point of view). 

Outside of criminal behavior this is not advisable, and certainly not prudent. From my perspective banning smoking outdoors is nothing short of oppression for an otherwise productive part of our society. I resent any law that is designed to make people behave in a certain way. The seat belt law is a perfect example. 

Yes smoking was glamorized for decades, and now the shoe is on the other foot. How can society allow or even promote a behavior, and then all the sudden condemn it, regulate it, criminalize, and demonize it to the point of casting smokers out in the cold. It seems to me, that should Rehoboth ban beach smoking, then smokers will not even have that to enjoy. The dynamics of addiction are often overlooked by those goody too shoes that want to manipulate human behaviour in the name of everyone. 

They do not speak for me, and I have been anti-smoking before it was popular. The rights of citizens should be equal despite any political incorrectness.

Posted by: Tim McCollum | Feb 26, 2014 06:39

With all due respect Ms. Boucher, I do not quite understand your last post. Are you suggesting regulations and legislation does not exist for pesticides, GM food, public urination,DUI, and littering? Please do not be surprised...but there is.  Let it go.  No one is bullying you.

Posted by: Tim McCollum | Feb 27, 2014 15:02

You have choices Ms. Boucher.  One of which as you stated is not to come to RB when smoking is banned on the beach and boardwalk.  That is fantastic.  I wonder how many less butts will have to be picked up during the 2014 Coastal Cleanup in September?

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