Ban smoking in public parks for public health

New state legislation allows local municipalities to have greater control over the smoking policies in their own communities. The city of Asheville has talked about acting to ban smoking in public parks, a policy that was formerly pre-empted by state law. This potential policy would help to protect the health of our youth and adults by keeping them safe from secondhand smoke while they're enjoying themselves outside.

Although many people think that outdoor smoke just dissipates, the heavy particles released from smoking fall to the ground in a mushroom shape once the smoke cools down a couple of seconds after it leaves the cigarette. This creates zones filled with toxic particles that are so prolific that it would take tornado-strength winds to fully remove them from the area.

Exposure to secondhand smoke can have immediate effects like severe asthma attacks, headaches and nausea. It can also lead to severe health risks in the long term, including heart disease and cancer. On an environmental note, this policy would help to greatly reduce the amount of littered trash in our parks by removing cigarette butts — the No. 1 most littered item in the world — from parks.

I would encourage the city of Asheville to enact a policy making all of our public parks and all public city property 100-percent smoke-free, and I would also like to congratulate the state legislature for taking such a big step forward in protecting the health of the public.

— Ari Zitin
Asheville

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44 thoughts on “Ban smoking in public parks for public health

  1. entopticon

    Thanks Ari, I think you actually make a very strong argument. I’ve been on the fence on this because I’m hesitant to restrict individual liberties, but those liberties end when they are harmful to others, and your points all seem to be valid.

  2. cwaster

    “tornado-strength winds to fully remove them from the area.” ? Where did you get this information, praytell? I have a really hard time believing that winds of more than 100+ mph wouldn’t dissipate it. That just doesn’t make sense.

  3. shadmarsh

    So it is ok to pollute the air with car exhaust? I would imagine there is far more pollution from cars than from cigarettes in Asheville.

  4. shadmarsh

    So it is ok to pollute the air with car exhaust? I would imagine there is far more pollution from cars than from cigarettes in Asheville.

  5. entopticon

    I don’t think it is as simple as reducing it to one cause or another. Car exhaust is of course, a real problem. Existing emissions laws could certainly be improved. Ari and the folks from the Asheville outpost of the Buckminster Fuller Design Science Lab had some compelling suggestions for systemic changes in areas such as public transportation a couple years ago.

    Any steps that Asheville could take towards more effective public transportation as well as becoming more bicycle and pedestrian friendly would be welcomed.

  6. travelah

    Car exhaust is helpful in that it carries tard culture to the rock show.

    I am more concerned with someone’s bad breath than I am somebody’s cig smoke drifting off the end of the bench across the street. The particulate in the air just from a bicycle going by is likely to be just as hazzardous as the smoke billowing from the lips of a smoker sitting across the street. Just how much of a sissy to you have to be to take this nanny state mentality any more seriously?

  7. travelah

    Although many people think that outdoor smoke just dissipates, the heavy particles released from smoking fall to the ground in a mushroom shape once the smoke cools down a couple of seconds after it leaves the cigarette. This creates zones filled with toxic particles that are so prolific that it would take tornado-strength winds to fully remove them from the area.

    I don’t know how this gem escapes anybody. Is there any scientific evidence to support this mushroom shaped toxic cloud thesis? Generally speaking, smoke dissipates into ppm in the atmosphere it is released into and doesn’t fall to the ground in heavy toxicity. In a closed environment, such as a car, smoke will leave a film resdidue over time.
    Seriously, is there any science behind this letter?

  8. entopticon

    I’d like to know Ari’s sources as well. As for the dangers of second hand smoke outdoors, the evidence that it can be at dangerously high levels is solid:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070502181454.htm

    I have mixed feelings about it, but my inclination is that designated smoking areas might be the best solution.

    A few facts from the American Cancer Society:

    Secondhand smoke can cause harm in many ways. In the United States alone, each year it is responsible for:

    an estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers

    about 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults
    other breathing problems in non-smokers, including coughing, mucus, chest discomfort, and reduced lung function

    150,000 to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations annually

    increases in the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million children who have asthma

    more than 750,000 middle ear infections in children

    Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are also at increased risk of having low birth- weight babies.

    As for you traveliar, don’t believe warning labels; they are all just liberal communist conspiracies. Put a shot of Drano in your coffee every morning, it will give you just the kick that you need.

  9. travelah

    As for you traveliar, don’t believe warning labels; they are all just liberal communist conspiracies. Put a shot of Drano in your coffee every morning, it will give you just the kick that you need.

    What a moron.

  10. entopticon

    What a moron.

    Said the right wing extremist religious fanatic that is so far gone that he thinks Episcopalians are going to hell because they don’t condemn gay people.

    An insult from traveliar is always a high compliment. Don’t forget that shot of Drano in your coffee this morning traveliar, it will give you just the kick that you deserve.

  11. entopticon

    traveliar… Mountain Xpress paranoid-delusional right wing extremist troll of the year.

    May you build a bigger and better tinfoil helmet in the new year to protect you from Obama’s secret communist brainwashing deathrays.

  12. Piffy!

    [b]”moron”… “sissy”[/b]

    Hey Jeff and Jon-

    Is this really the kind of “community dialogue” you want to be encouraging?

    Is it okay, since travelah represents the political ‘diversity’ to balance out the “libs” at Xpress? So he gets a pass?

    [b]Generally speaking, smoke dissipates into ppm in the atmosphere it is released into and doesn’t fall to the ground in heavy toxicity. In a closed environment, such as a car, smoke will leave a film resdidue over time.[/b]

    lil t–Can you show the scientific evidence to support this claim, and how it relates to cigarette smoke?

  13. travelah

    Generally speaking, smoke dissipates into ppm in the atmosphere it is released into and doesn’t fall to the ground in heavy toxicity. In a closed environment, such as a car, smoke will leave a film resdidue over time.

    lil t—Can you show the scientific evidence to support this claim, and how it relates to cigarette smoke?

    Be a good lil pfffstp and call it a lie.

  14. shadmarsh

    Piff, it is only when it actually applies that it is against community standards to refer to someone as a moron.

  15. Piffy!

    [b]Piff, it is only when it actually applies that it is against community standards to refer to someone as a moron.[/b]

    shad-dually noted, although already understood. (I got tut-tutted for using the term ‘ignorant’ in it’s proper context recently.)

    [b]Be a good lil pfffstp and call it a lie. [/b]

    I suppose i should conclude, mr AM ‘travelah” Mallett, that you can’t provide the sort of ‘evidence’ you demand of the letter-writer. Interesting to note, indeed.

    It’s too bad you choose to YET AGAIN revert to name-calling and ad hom attacks instead of merely providing the same evidence you belittle others for not providing. Classic AM Mallet (travelah).

  16. Piffy!

    [i]lil t—Can you show the scientific evidence to support this claim, and how it relates to cigarette smoke?[/i]

    [b]Be a good lil pfffstp and call it a lie. [/b]

    A lie? i’m just asking if you can provide the same sort of “scientific evidence” (your words) to support your claim as you demand of the letter writer. Simple, really. Are you a hypocrite, or can you maintain the same standards you demand of others?

  17. travelah

    Well pffstpdesfft, there are lots of multi-syllable words here but you might be able to make some sense out of it. If you are a good little boy you might even see where the OP got the idea there was a mushroom cloud of toxicity that requires a nanny state intervention of that smoker across the street.

    Start here.
    http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5191686_cigarette-smoke-pollute-air_.html
    http://www.repace.com/pdf/outdoorair.pdf
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbulence

    How outdoor turbulence works might be a challenge for you but maybe you could do an article for the new MX and demonstrate the terrible hazzards the chick across the street is causing by blowing smoke across her lips.
    … or maybe you are just flaming.

  18. entopticon

    It’s actually kind of adorable when traveliar tries to pretend to be intelligent, flailing though the attempts may be. It really is kind of funny how he arbitrarily plucked links out of the ether of cyberspace, completely oblivious to the fact that they don’t even support his contention that outdoor cigarette smoke is nothing to worry about. His links impugn his own arguments. It is kind of cute how he is just a bit too dim to actually understand that.

    From the conclusion of the study that traveliar himself just linked to:

    “These experiments dispel the common misconception that smoking outdoors can be ignored because smoke plumes immediately dissipate into the environment.”

  19. travelah

    The issue in dispute is not the hazzards of second smoke. It is the following statement that is not supportable with regard to outside open air smoking relative to banning all smoking in public spaces.

    Although many people think that outdoor smoke just dissipates, the heavy particles released from smoking fall to the ground in a mushroom shape once the smoke cools down a couple of seconds after it leaves the cigarette. This creates zones filled with toxic particles that are so prolific that it would take tornado-strength winds to fully remove them from the area

    That is not scientifically sustainable.

  20. entopticon

    The issue in dispute is not the hazzards of second smoke.

    Ahh traveliar, I see… you just blathered on about how it wasn’t a significant danger and about how anyone concerned with the issue is part of “the nanny state,” but it doesn’t really count anymore because you say it doesn’t now that your own links impugn that part of your argument. You are nothing if not entertaining.

    I have not yet seen the science behind that claim of Ari’s, so I don’t have strong feelings about it one way or another. I’ve seen the science suggesting that second hand smoke, even outdoors, can be a serious issue. It’s a complicated issue because I want smokers to have the right to smoke if they want to, but there are certainly cogent arguments to be made that they do not have the right to put others in danger, and the trash that they create is a serious problem as well. As I mentioned, I am inclined to think that designated areas might be the best solution.

    Whatever the case, the science that you yourself cited makes it clear that it is perfectly reasonable to be concerned about the dangers of second hand smoke outdoors, despite your ignorant claims to the contrary.

  21. travelah

    OK, so both pfffstepppft and entopticon agree with the author that it takes a tornado to dissipate cigarette smoke therefore we need to ban smoking outdoors. ….. great set of minds at work.

  22. entopticon

    You sure do love to confabulate traveliar. Again and again, I have said that I haven’t seen the science behind Ari’s claim, so your statement is nonsense, as usual. What I did show is that regardless of that, there is solid scientific evidence that second hand smoke still poses serious dangers outdoors. You even posted a link to a study showing that as well, because apparently you just linked to the first thing that came up on a Google search, without even reading it, and without even realizing that it impugned your own argument.

  23. Piffy!

    [b]OK, so both pfffstepppft and entopticon agree with the author that it takes a tornado to dissipate cigarette smoke therefore we need to ban smoking outdoors.[/b]

    I have said nothing even remotely resembling that, as anyone can clearly see. I merely asked you to provide the same sort of evidence you ridiculed the letter-writer for not providing, to which you responded with your typical off-topic name-calling.

  24. ashevillelokel

    I contacted Buncombe County and asked just exactly what “County Property” means (with regard to the ordinance)and the person acted like was from outer space …. she said (and I quote), “It applies to ALL County property…”

    I specifically asked if it includes “outdoor property owned by Buncombe County” … and her reply was “yes!”

  25. travelah

    You’re out of line Travelah

    Jacob, you are over your head and if yhou don’t have something constructive to add, why bother?

  26. If you never said anything but that which was constructive, you would hardly ever say anything at all Travalah, based on your record. I can’t understand why you try so hard to alienate people from the truth of the gospel. As a believer I must call you out when you speak to unbelievers in a manner that brings shame to Christ. I urge you to have ears for what I am saying,

    “If I speak in tongues of angels, but have not love, I am nothing but a resounding gong for a clanging symbol”

    Don’t tell me it is out of love when you speak in the manner that you do. If you believe you motivation is out of love I would challenge you to consider wither or not you even know who or what Love is.

    “If you claim to know God, but have not love, you deceive yourself, and the truth is not in you.”

    “how can you say that you love God whom you have not seen, when you do love your brother, whom you have seen..”

  27. entopticon

    traveliar, a rabid right wing extremist who apparently bases most of his science on Flintstones reruns, gets busted confabulating and tripping all over his own arguments, and yet he has the audacity to accuse someone else of being in over their head. It just doesn’t get any funnier than that.

  28. travelah

    Oh Jacob … woe be you ….. tear some cloths and throw dust in the air. You’ll feel better for it. On second thought, forget the dust. Thats worse than drifting cig smoke from across the street.

  29. travelah

    ashevillelokel, don’t worry. Before long just a pack of butts in your flannel shirt pocket on county property will land you a ticket or a summons. That’s not far fetched. There are communities that have considered banning smoking in your home if you have dependent children.

  30. I feel for you, Travalah, I really do. I can’t imagine how bitter and angry the soul can become when it takes the world on it’s shoulders so inappropriately so. Despite all your hard efforts to be an example, you achieve that end in the opposite direction that you seek. Your words serve only as an example of someone who is joyless and bitter, and everyone sees it, even if you don’t. It is obvious that you hate it so much that the world does heed your ‘righteous’ example, you will, if you are not careful, be reduced to a mechanical grumbling against God for it if you don’t repent. Religion is no religion at all if it leads you to exclude yourself from the community of us sinners. Don’t kid yourself in thinking that you have any fear of God when you treat the people that he left heaven for, and was brutally murdered for, so disrespectfully. If I didn’t respect you enough to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t.

  31. LOKEL

    The Buncombe County ordinance INCLUDES outdoor property owned by the County ….

  32. john

    In support of Travelah:

    “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” Liberals parroted this phrase ad naseum when Bush was POTUS. It’s still true. Thank God for Travelah. He/she bravely presents some much-needed diversity of opinion at this mostly-leftist blog. The bigger question is, why are smug ‘enlightened’ leftists so threatened by and intolerant of a different viewpoint?

    Point 2: Do we really need any more laws?

  33. JWTJr

    Somebody smoking in their own home with no kids around is no more dangerous to society than someone who is hooked on fast food. What are we going to ban next?

  34. entopticon

    Golly john, one of the handful of people here that is even further to the extreme right than traveliar chose to defend him. How surprising. If you want to be a right wing troll on the liberal weekly’s website, knock yourself out.

  35. travelah

    john, the plain truth of the matter is that leftist-liberals represent some of the most bigoted, narrow minded intolerant mindsets on the political spectrum. They despise anything regarding Christ, will stay silent about radical Islam and cannot stomach any dissent from their own myopic viewpoints. Scientific dissent is regarded as an unnecessary evil all the while not recognizing that science is by its nature skeptical. Political correctness is an operative mantra and Statist subservience is a prime directive.

    On the other hand, most grow out of it.

  36. Piffy!

    [b]Somebody smoking in their own home with no kids around is no more dangerous to society than someone who is hooked on fast food. What are we going to ban next? [/b]

    Get those windmills, JW!

  37. Piffy!

    Oh, look, travelah is yet again blathering on about about religion and “PC culture” and how the ‘left’ persecutes his perspective in a thread that has nothing to do with that whatsoever.

    Boy, what a contribution he makes!

  38. JWTJr

    I’ll get a windmill to blow my smoke on my neighbor. That should go over good.

  39. Eli Cohen

    “There are communities that have considered banning smoking in your home if you have dependent children.”

    Great idea!

    “Jon-Seriously, why is travleah still allowed to post here?”

    Pokippy, having an opposition viewpoint (trav) is just as important as your predictable appeals to Jon for help. Grow a backbone!

  40. Jon Elliston

    Don’t call people names here. For instance, don’t call someone a moron. Thank you.

  41. Piffy!

    Eli, i have no problem with ‘opposing viewpoints’

    I do take exception with off-topic slander and blatant lies.

    But i know your style of debate is mired deep in the name-calling category, so I can see why you might feel threatened by a request for a more reasoned board. Sorry to make you feel so threatened.

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