Friday, February 3, 2012

Of bans and beaches

I woke up this morning thinking about a few places now trying to ban e-cigarette use (along with smoking) outdoors - including at parks and beaches. A recent television episode of a show my kids watch showed a girl trying to read at the beach and being bothered by grill smoke - which got me thinking....

Would the FDA or CDC argue that charcoal or wood smoke is actually safer to inhale than the smoke from tobacco leaves? If not, then would that not be an argument to also ban charcoal grilling from parks and beaches, in order to protect innocent bystanders from THAT smoke, as well? And since there is "NO safe level" of smoke exposure, regardless of ventilation systems installed, would that not support banning the use of wood-fired ovens and charbroil grills in food service and restaurants, in order to protect employees and patrons? If you can smell the grill in the dining room, that means you are being exposed to smoke, right? How can they argue one smoke is safer than another smoke? (Yet, apparently they do.)

Men "smoking" at the park.
Think of the children!
And then there's campfires, fireplaces and fire pits to consider. Shouldn't those be banned, as well?

I think at these meetings where they are trying to ban e-cigs/smoking outside (where grilling is allowed) we should insist that they add grills to the ordinance or not pass it at all!! And if they are trying to ban e-cig use in bars & restaurants, insist they also ban wood-fired ovens and charbroil grills, because my safety is at risk! (Let's see them answer THAT one.)

I know that this has long been an argument made by smoker's rights groups, but I have yet to hear it or about read this argument at any public testimonies regarding outdoor bans and I don't think anyone has insisted or argued that we SHOULD ban grills and fire pits. Maybe the time has come to force them to put their money where their mouth is or shut up.

Think about it - they want to ban smoking and smokeless e-cigarettes at the stadium in Indianapolis, but the hundreds of tailgating grills that will be at the Super Bowl this weekend, pumping out enough smoke to equal dozens of smokers for hours before the game, isn't a concern? Still think these bans are supported by "science?" Time to call them on their bluff?

1 comment:

  1. I am no lawyer, but perhaps there is a case to be made that for any law/regulation that is preambled as being based on the health effects of a waft of smoke, if they do not include these other sources of complex smoke then they are merely arbitrarily discriminating against a class of people.

    Could it work, Greg?

    It is not quite the same as the old argument for smokers' rights because of the aggressiveness of the new laws. Before you could always argue that the counterargument was ridiculous, because unlike cigarettes, no one was bringing his grill into someone else's place of work or unavoidable indoor social gathering place, and going near where someone was burning wood was voluntary. With the new bans on outdoor use (and maybe even private clubs), that reasonable argument no longer applies.