Following the passage of California’s smoking law in 1994, which restricted the smoking of tobacco products in all enclosed places of employment, I remember avid smokers complaining that they could no longer smoke while eating in a restaurant or working in the office.
Although the smoking law was passed to restrict smoking indoors, a number of cities have passed restrictions on smoking in public areas outdoors. Elk Grove is the latest city to increase smoking limits outdoor. According to The Sacramento Bee, the Elk Grove City Council recently approved an ordinance prohibiting smoking within 300 feet of playgrounds, schools, day care centers, or other places where children gather.
Smoking inside any public building was no longer optional and new restrictions can only have a positive effect both on health wise and environmentally.
According to the 1994 law, AB-13, smokers are restricted from smoking within 25 feet of parks and playground. 25 feet is not far enough away from playgrounds and other public areas. Places like public parks and playgrounds are obviously outdoors, which means that when the wind blows in the direction of play areas, so does secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoking, for one, is the leading cause to our health hazards. Before I kicked my four-year smoking habit, there was always one thing that I disliked—even more so now—walking behind or in front of someone who is smoking. Not only it is it harmful to the smoker’s health, but I don’t want to dodge puffs of smoke or walk around smelling like a pack of cigarettes, especially now that I don’t smoke any more.
Based on research from the American Cancer Society secondhand smoke is responsible for 3,400 deaths in the United States each year. Research shows that conditions caused by smoking, such as lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema, can be caused by secondhand smoke as well.
However, advocates of smoking may argue that smoking outdoors is less harmful, but individuals exposed to secondhand smoke have a 20 to 30 percent higher chance of developing lung cancer and heart disease, according to the United States Surgeon General.
According to www.breathcalifornia.org, people are at risk of breathing in secondhand smoke anywhere there are smokers. It can also travel about 20 feet in every direction and may stay around for hours.
Additional smoking restrictions are a must. It is not necessary for anyone to smoke when near or around areas where children are present. Smoking in front of or near children may have negative influences, because children imitate a lot of what they see. Playgrounds and daycare centers are places where children should be safe from health hazards and negative influences.
In addition to health-related problems, smoking restrictions help improve air quality and have positive effects on public health and the environment. An additional 300 feet from a nonsmoking area isn’t as bad as lifetime commitment to an addiction or the rocky road to its recovery either.