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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Letters to the Editor Smoking Ban; Cooler Thinking Should Prevail...

Smoking Ban; Cooler Thinking Should Prevail...

Council, Editor, Others.
Now that the hype to ban smoking and littering our beachfront with cigarette butts has subsided somewhat, cooler thinking will prevail. It is a good idea to stop all action and rethink this issue before spending money on going any further toward putting an ordinance in effect that will be very difficult to near impossible to enforce. There are currently no beaches in N.C. that have a smoking ban in effect at this time. This is uncharted territory and a smoking ban in open areas is a bad idea for a Town that relies on tourist trade in the summer months THAT HAS SMOKERS AND NON SMOKERS ALIKE. Our Council and Town authorities have not been able to stop the littering with an ordinance currently in effect so why do they expect another ordinance will work. We have peer pressure use advocates addressing Council stating that peer pressure is a means to use without law enforcement being involved to a great extent. Where are/were the so-called peer pressure folks while littering our beaches with other trash and cigarette butts is going on? Cigarette butts are considered litter also and the peer pressure advocates have not made any attempt to try to use their so-called peer pressure ploy to control this. Why? Because they have better sense and are just trying to use smoke and mirrors as an attempt to bring about implementation of a smoking ban.
Who in their right mind is going to tell someone else to pick up a cigarette butt off the beach or anywhere else? I will answer that, no one with good sense. What you were told at the July 10 Council meeting by some about not needing enforcement and relying on peer pressure was pure nonsense. Also, should one person go so far as to attempt to forcibly try to detain another person until law enforcement arrives, if even called, there would be major, major trouble and probably would cause need for a rescue squad.
Our law enforcement is not going to spend time that they don't have and is needed elsewhere writing citations to tourists and locals alike and making them mad probably to the point that they will not come back on a trivial matter of throwing a cigarette butt on the beach. The folks that do not smoke trying to discipline folks that do with peer pressure will be asking for trouble. One person telling another person to pick up a cigarette butt, trash or what ever or put out a cigarette just is not going to happen with out major trouble. Folks minding other folks business and trying to discipline them without any authority is an a-- kicking just waiting to happen.
When private citizens try to discipline other private citizens, whatever the reason, they are asking for trouble and will soon find it. This you can bet your bippy on. Enforcing ordinances is a job for the authorities not the stupid or faint of heart.
Should the non-smoker decide to call the authorities, before they could arrive the smoker would be gone resulting in a useless call to the police dept. Should the non-smoker and smoker stay until the police arrive with out killing one another at this point the non smoker will have to file a complaint and go to court to testify that the smoker had a lit cigarette or left a butt on the beach. Without a signed complaint law enforcement will not issue a citation unless they see it happening. The non-smoker who thinks he was offended is not going to be committed enough in mass to spend time, energy and money going to court on this issue. We also do not have and cannot afford enough law enforcement to enforce any ordinance effectively you can draft to try to completely stop this behavior.
The very price of cigarettes and other tobacco has slowed down smoking everywhere and very well may be the demise of cigarettes at some point in time.
The non-smoking advocates want this to happen now but they do not propose a sensible solution to the problem. So what should Council do for its local folks and its tourists now that the Pandora’s box has been stupidly opened? Before enacting this or any ordinance, have a workable and sensible plan.
I do not have the answers either but I have stated a few things to bring light on this issue. More trash containers for litter, education and butt cans seems to be a better answer for Council to use to try to appease the non-smokers who have become more insistent on stopping all public smoking on our beaches.
I don't believe Council or anyone for that matter will ever be able to satisfy non-smokers until all smoking is banned except on their own private property; this is the push that is on in today’s society.
This is an issue that has no good answer that solves the problem of smoking in public. By the way, I only have half good sense and I do not smoke and have not since 1996 but I do have enough sense to see where Council should not tread at all on this subject until better answers to this problem surface.
It takes courage to tackle this issue. The Council member that started that needs to definitely rethink this house of horrors again and see what kind of Pandora’s box he has opened with complaints I suspect coming from very few people.
Him bringing this problem to Council without bringing any sensible answers to solving the problem seems to me to be stupid decision making coming from a Councilman.
Have a good weekend.
D.A. Lewis,
Carolina Beach, NC