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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Letters to the Editor Smoking Ban: More Important Matters To Handle

Smoking Ban: More Important Matters To Handle

Mr. Mayor and Council Members:
We are residents of Carolina Beach, and have been for the past twenty-nine years.  We are taxpayers. We are voters.
We understand that Lonnie Lashley has introduced the idea of banning smoking in the municipal areas of Carolina Beach.  It is also our understanding that this proposal is to be discussed publicly at the August 14th Town Council meeting.
Why then, after watching the news on WECT tonight, did it sound like some of you have already made up your mind to enact this ban?  Are you disregarding public input, or have you been contacted by the 5,000+ year-round residents already and are informed enough to make your decision?
We have watched, with interest, the controversy surrounding Wrightsville Beach's attempt to pass a smoking ban.  We also read their proposed ordinance, which Mr. Lashley submitted in your agenda packet at the July meeting.
We agree with their decision to put this smoking ban on their ballot in November. That is a logical and fair decision for their residents.
However, do we need to remind you that you represent the residents  of Carolina Beach, not Wrightsville Beach?
We don't need another "ordinance" written in our books.  We have plenty of them, including Section 14-35, that details what is considered litter on the beach, if that is what your issue is. Section 14-44 details how violators of our litter laws should be penalized.  Yet, each day we pick up cans, bottles, bags, and other trash off the beach and surrounding areas. But we don't seem to recall the last time we heard a citation was issued to someone for littering.
Maybe your issue is the smoker himself/herself?  Are you really concerned about smoke and whether this smoke disperses quickly enough in the air as to not offend others?  Come on now...we have 10+ knot winds everyday.  That should speak for itself.
We have discussed this issue with many of our friends here on the beach.
They all think this proposal is absurd.  Some smoke and some do not.
Several individuals suggested that you might be fearful of the smokers who might head our way if Wrightsville Beach passes their ban first. We would like to think that you all are more intelligent than that. On second thought, is that your concern?
Our new Police Chief, Kurt Bartley, and his officers have enough to do already, and as professionals, we can't imagine assigning them the responsibility of citing a smoker standing on the beach. They have more important matters to handle.  So who will be the enforcers of this smoking ban?  Perhaps you?
Folks, don't let emotion get in the way of your logic.  You will hear from some residents regarding this smoking ban.  But many are just trying to live day to day, and don't have the time or opportunity to call you or write their opinion.
We bet they will, however, respond if you put it on the ballot.  Let the voters decide if they want this ban in our town.
Respectfully Submitted,
Mr. and Mrs. David Benton
Carolina Beach, NC