Asheville is a wonderful city.
It’s no wonder so many tourists are lured to this beautiful environment. The Blue Ridge Mountains provide us with a plethora of hiking trails, waterfalls and stunning views. We’re surrounded by nature’s gifts.
But the exquisite scenery isn’t the only reason Asheville is unique. We have a vibrant music scene, a surplus of high quality restaurants, breweries, art galleries, festivals, shops, street performers and so much more. Asheville is a dynamic small town loved by many.
With so many wonderful aspects, as well as interesting people who reside here, it can be challenging to find anything to complain about. There is one sad drawback that continues to annoy, frustrate and disappoint me: cigarette smoking in public spaces.
It’s almost impossible to walk downtown without being exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke at every block. It’s so widespread that sometimes it appears as if we’re living in a time before smoking was known to be a health hazard. With over 69 animal and/or human carcinogens (thetruth.com) in tobacco smoke, you’d think people would be deterred from lighting up. This isn’t the case.
If someone wants to put toxic chemicals in their body, that’s their personal prerogative. But contaminating open spaces for nonsmokers is insensitive, rude, unhealthy and unacceptable. Second-hand smoke is really hard on nonsmokers. For some of us the fumes can cause extreme headaches that can linger for hours. The smell stays in our hair and on our clothes.
Asheville takes a progressive stance on so many issues, but when it comes to cigarette smoking the city is asleep. It is time for smokers to show some respect.
I also think smokers should be held responsible for discarding their cigarette butts. Where do smokers think their cigarette butts end up? Either business owners or workers end up sweeping them up, or the butts get washed into the French Broad River. Did you know one cigarette butt soaked in a liter of water killed half of the fish exposed in a scientific study (www.thetruth.com/facts)?
It would be great if City Council would pass and enforce an ordinance for no smoking in public spaces or at least an ordinance for no smoking within 50 feet of doorways or windows. I’m also asking business owners to ask patrons not to smoke within 50 feet of doorways or windows. We all love Asheville. Let’s all come together to keep this city clean and healthy.