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Author Topic: San Diego city council votes to ban smoking at beaches and parks  (Read 1265 times)

Atossa

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Fines are $200 I believe, and repeat offense can be a misdemeanor!
What does everyone think about this?

J D

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Re: San Diego city council votes to ban smoking at beaches and parks
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2006, 05:18:26 PM »
Eh, it's their city, their park, their beach.  Let them do what they want.  If the residents don't like it, they can try to throw the rascals out and repeal the ordinance.
"I never think of the future.  It comes soon enough."--Albert Einstein

cerealkiller

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Re: San Diego city council votes to ban smoking at beaches and parks
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2006, 12:45:46 AM »
I live in San Diego and I happen to agree with the proposal. Smokers, and I used to be one before I quit in 2000, tend to indiscriminately throw their cigarette butts anywhere and everywhere. Case in point, following this year's memorial day weekend the beaches were inundated with litter left behind by beach goers. The majority of that litter, however, was cigarette butts. Luckily, a team of high school students volunteered their time to clean up the beaches, but this isn't always the case. Smokers littering the beaches with their discarded cigarette butts is a clear cut example of a "tragedy of the commons". Most people, including non-smokers, tend to internalize the benefits of public goods and externalize the costs. This is, quite simply, rational human behavior. To counter this behavior, however, sometimes a community is obliged to legislate in an effort to prevent people from externalizing the costs placed on public goods to the point that they are irreversibly damaged. As to the enforciability of such ordinances some cities in California  have already passed similiar laws prohibiting smoking on their beaches with great results. The overall cigarette litter in these communities have decreased dramatically, which indicates that it is working. However, as we all know, correlation doesn't always equal causation. Other factors may have contributed to the decrease: perhaps a drastic increase in the price of cigarettes which stiffled demand. Who knows? In short, I think the proposal is a good idea.   

Atossa

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Re: San Diego city council votes to ban smoking at beaches and parks
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2006, 03:04:50 PM »
Thank you for your response. I too live in San Diego, and am currently a smoker.
I agree with you about the litter problem. I get very upset when I see smokers tossing their butts all over the place. I happen to carry around a disposable ashtray with me, and my husband and I are both make sure never to throw our butts out. We even pick up other people's butts at the beach. There are efforts at curbing this behavior, such as the SurfRiders foundation. Amongst a lot of other activites, they pass out portable ashtrays at concerts and events. I find this is a much better approach than passing legislation that bans a legal substance.

There are already litter laws.  Why not encourage people to not hesitate to "police" their littering fellow citizen, instead of passing a ban further limiting their liberty to engage in legal behavior? Don't you think any legislation passed should be a fine for littering with butts, rather than banning smoking which is legal?  There is speculation that the huge anti-smoking movement proliferating is being fueled by the pharmaceutical companies who have much to gain from people's efforts to "quit smoking" as a result of continuous bans and humiliation from fellow citizens.  I am not saying I subscribe to this idea, there is always a good conspiracy theory out there, but still, I think it is outrageous that what I pay high taxes to buy, legally, and enjoy responsibly, should be "banned" by the government, in city areas for which I pay the same city taxes. 

As a law student, I find it irritating that I cannot stand up in protest if this thing passes, by smoking where I want. After all, I will then possibly have a misdemeanor on my record for smoking cigarettes!! There is too much misinformation out there about the effects of second hand smoke in the outdoors.  There has not been one legitimite scientific study which shows any hazard from outdoor smoking on others. Yet, part of the "reason" given for the ban is non-smoker's health.  This creates a certain "hysteria" where people "hate" smokers and look at them as bad people. 

Furthermore, as has happened in San Francisco, the city council is contemplating exempting city golf courses from the ban, since it has been found that about half of golfers smoke on the course. Isn't there a bit of elitist hypocricy here?  So I can't smoke on the free beach or park but if I pay to go golfing, ok?
  Yes, I was one of the 250,000 people at the beach Memorial Day Weekend, and I can tell you there was a lot of trash around. Why not start ticketing the littering people, or calling the cops on them? Is that really going to solve our problems? And, where are all the smokers amongst those 250,000 people supposed to smoke when at the beach? On the sidewalk? In their car? Or are we just trying to force people to quit altogether? Do we really want government doing that? Prohibition all over again.
Anyway, I obviously feel strongly about this, and am glad to have  a chance to discuss it with intellingent people. Thanks again for responding.

jason1114

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Re: San Diego city council votes to ban smoking at beaches and parks
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2006, 06:32:23 PM »
Former smoker here, and I agree that banning smoking in public places is a little redundant because of the littering laws in place that are not being enforced consistently. However, the council, put in place by the will of the people, dictated this ordinance, so ultimately, that is where you should lay the blame. Apathetic voters...

meh...

RootBrewskies

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Re: San Diego city council votes to ban smoking at beaches and parks
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2006, 02:28:28 PM »
smokers suck.  i have no pity for them.  smoking in general should be banned and it certainly shouldnt be allowed in any public places.

Atossa

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Re: San Diego city council votes to ban smoking at beaches and parks
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2006, 06:33:55 PM »
"smoker's suck!" ha ha. Urgh. I said intelligent people.

Yes, I think the redundancy exactly displays the heart of these "bans," in that they
are just catering to the healthist craze, serve no purpose, and erode away our rights for no good reason. Not to mention, breed nastiness amongst people.

That's alright, I think I'll just smoke where I want and start collecting those tickets. It will be interesting to see if one can land in jail for the personal habit of smoking cigarettes, next to the drunk drivers, child molestors and thiefs, etc...


cerealkiller

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Re: San Diego city council votes to ban smoking at beaches and parks
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2006, 11:24:35 PM »
You posed quite a few thought-provoking questions, and made some very interesting points here. I'll try to respond to most of them, if not all.

1.Why not encourage people to not hesitate to "police" their littering fellow citizen, instead of passing a ban further limiting their liberty to engage in legal behavior?
Asking people, or encouraging them as you put it, to police their fellows citizens would be quite a stretch. Most people, especially given our self-centered culture, don't take kindly to other "ordinary" citizens telling them what or what not to do. I think that if the city of San Diego encouraged its citizens to "police" their fellow citizens by politely asking them to dispose of their cigarette butts in the proper recepticles, this would only end in disaster. We must realize that we live a rude and notoriously unconcerned--i.e., people being concerned about anyone else than just themselves--society. Given this sorry state of affairs, I think your proposal would only result in a number of unwanted conflicts between environmentally concerned citizens and those who are not so much. Namely, smokers who litter indiscriminately.

2.Don't you think any legislation passed should be a fine for littering with butts, rather than banning smoking which is legal?
This would be the ideal solution, even in my opinion. However, I would offer one caveat--the problem of enforceability. It certainly would be easier for an official to glance down the beach and see if someone is smoking in violation of a non-smoking ordinance rather than try to watch each and every smoker to see how she disposes of her cigarette butt after she has finished with it. This may not be fair. I can hear your rebuttal now: "well, that isn't fair. Just because enforcing a fine is more difficult than locating smokers who are illegally smoking--because of a ridiculous law--doesn't make it right". No, it certainly doesn't. But the fact remains that cigarette butt litter is a real problem which calls for a real solution. And, quite simply, a law that cannot be properly enforced is no law at all. Thus, it is necessary to take the more drastic approach because it provides the most realistic opportunity for success, at least a modicum of success.

3.There has not been one legitimite scientific study which shows any hazard from outdoor smoking on others. Yet, part of the "reason" given for the ban is non-smoker's health. This creates a certain "hysteria" where people "hate" smokers and look at them as bad people.You're right there has not been one legitimate scientific study which shows conclusively that smoking outdoors causes harm to non-smokers. In a similar vein, however, the scientific community has failed to prove unequivocally that cigarette smoking causes cancer, particularly lung cancer. What they and subsequently we--the community at large--do know is that cigarettes contain dangerous carcinogenics which lead to the mutation of healthy human cells which, in turn, can and often does lead to cancerous cells. Futhermore, it has been proven, by the scientific community, that the smoke which the non-smoker inhales is twice, if not more, dangerous than that taken in by the smoker herself. This, as you probably are already aware, is because the smoker by inhaling through the charcoal filter is able to dramatically reduce the effectiveness of a significant amount of deadly toxins contained in the smoke itself while the non-smoker is primarily inhaling the smoke in its purest and most deadly form. Now as to whether or not this proves that outdoor smoking is as dangerous to non-smokers as is indoor smoking remains to be seen. However, I will argue this: there would seem to be, at least to my mind, a positive correlation between proximity to smoker and/or smoke itself and the potential for health-endangering exposure.

4.Furthermore, as has happened in San Francisco, the city council is contemplating exempting city golf courses from the ban, since it has been found that about half of golfers smoke on the course. Isn't there a bit of elitist hypocricy here?  So I can't smoke on the free beach or park but if I pay to go golfing, ok?At first blush these two situations do seem similar enough to warrant a critical investigation into, as you call it, the likelihood of an "elitist hypocrisy". However, upon further introspection, I believe we can adequately distinguish these two policies enough that the idea of "elitist hypocrisy" will come to be viewed as needlessly hypercritical and unflatteringly suspicious of our local legislators. I think the first distinction that can be made is between public and privates interests. Secondly, a diligent consideration of this issue must put forward the matter of "free" access as opposed to "paid" access, and how the proposed legislation will or will not affect (in terms of 'economics') the parties involved, namely, owners of private property vs. owners of public goods--which is all of us. Admittedly, both of these issues are invariably connected--for that I'll apologize, I'm not intentionally attempting to bombard you with sophistry, but rather I'm thinking this out while I write. With regards to the first issue, the vast major  of golf courses are privately owned and operated while public attractions such as beaches and park are owned, even if only abstractly, by the all of us within the community. This fact is obvious as is its consequences, therefore I’ll quickly move on to my second point. You argue that because it has been found, so you claim, that fifty percent of golfers smoke that the city is considering exempting golf courses from this legislation for that reason alone. And this fact has somehow led you to believe that there is some sort of  elitist agenda taking root in the city council as its decisions pertain to golfers. (First of all, purely as an aside, I would argue that there is a common misconception that golf is a game for the “elites” of society to the exclusion of all others. I myself play golf, and trust me I’m the farthest thing away from an elitist--as determined by social status or ideology--as one could possibly get).  Given the fact that most golf courses are privately owned, and thus operate beneath the profit-generating business paradigm, I think the council members would have done a grave disservice to these owners if they had arbitrarily--in the name of fairness--applied the smoking ban to include golf courses.  Think about it, if you’re correct and some fifty percent of golfers smoke and smoking is banned on all golf courses, what your talking about is potentially artificially decreasing the revenue of said owners by fifty percent. This would be manifestly unjust, and an affront to the free market. And it is with regard to interfering with the market, that I most desire my government to not intrude.  A thorough consideration of proposed legislation cannot be accomplished by downplaying or avoiding the very serious and likely economic ramifications of said proposals will have on businesses. This is not to say that market considerations are more important than, say, you’re alleged right to smoke. I’m merely arguing that the city council more likely than not gave some forethought, and rightly so, to how a smoking ban would affect golf course owner’s bottom line. Plainly put, I believe their decision had little if anything at all to do with “elitist hypocrisy” and everything to do with economics. The same economic considerations aren’t necessary when it comes to public goods such as beaches and parks.  

Atossa

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Re: San Diego city council votes to ban smoking at beaches and parks
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2006, 06:19:37 PM »
Thank you cereal killer. I'm in a rush, but I wanted to respond to two of your points.
One, the point that it is unrealistic in our society to expect people to police each other. I agree completely, and it is kind of my point, again with the redundancy. You see, the city (here and in SF) has insisted there will be little cost beyond that of putting up signs - they state that no time or resources will be diverted from the police, for example. They clearly state themselves that they expect this will be a citizen to citizen enforced issue. That is exactly what I'm afraid of... my neighbor telling me to put my cigaretter out because its banned. Am I going to be re-imbursed for each cig. I bought but can't smoke? (kind of a hysterical note there, but seriously!)

Two:  "A thorough consideration of proposed legislation cannot be accomplished by downplaying or avoiding the very serious and likely economic ramifications of said proposals will have on businesses. "  Yet they did just that in private bars and restaurants, even private clubs, just a little while ago. This is just step two, govt is now in the bars, in the clubs, in the beaches and the parks. How long before my neigbor is calling the police because I had a cigarette in my house? There are far more important public health and litter issues... are oceans and skies are NOT being ruined by cigarettes, for crying out loud!

Also, the exemption of the golf courses is aimed at those publicly owned, "parks."  Therein lay the hypocrisy - since not too long ago the rights of private bar and restaurant owners were trumped in favor of public health, without regard to potential loss of profits. Now, the city wants to exempts its revenue producing golf courses, regardless of public health and littering.

Well, I gotta go but it was great reading your post. Thank you.


mynameismud

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Re: San Diego city council votes to ban smoking at beaches and parks
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2006, 04:50:12 PM »
i didn't expect this one to turn into a conversation about human nature and the way people interact in society.  it's not that complicated.  as one poster said, there are already laws against littering. 


there was also an argument that, and being from san diego, i remember hearing this one  put forth in support of the ban, after a big holiday weekend the majority of the litter is generally cigarette butts.  so what happens after we ban the smoking, do we next ban the second most common type of litter?  it may be a slippery slope argument, but the council has just decided to vote on whether to ban beer on the beaches on the fourth of july in part because of all the beer cans that get left behind.


the most practical reason not to ban smoking on the beach, however, is that someone who smokes is going to need to do so occasionally, especially when drinking.  what do these people think is going to happen if you tell the thousands of people visiting the beaches  in sd that they can't smoke on the sand?  they'll walk 100 yards or less east, just past the boardwalk, have their smoke, and throw it on the ground.  then it's either going to end up back on the beach, or go through the storm drain directly to the ocean. 




this looks to me like another attempt by uptight, self-righteous californians trying to control other people's habits, just like when san francisco banned smoking in parks and calabasas banned smoking in all public places.  ridiculous.