“Tobacco’s but an Indian weed,” wrote 18th century songwriter Thomas D'Urfey in 1719 as the use of tobacco ignited across the British Isles.In truth, the Native Americans used tobacco sparingly as a sacred medicine plant, but the Europeans lit up frequently and quickly made smoking a daily habit.
Joining an anti-smoking trend that’s been spreading across America for decades, on Wednesday, Dec. 7, the Susanville City Council unanimously approved an ordinace prohibiting smoking in all city parks — Memorial Park (including the skate park, community center, Roop’s Fort and the museum), Riverside Park, Inspiration Point, Pat Murphy Field and any new parks so designated by the city council. Way to go.
The dangers of cigarette smoking are well known to everyone – lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and complications to pregnancy to name a few.
The U.S. Surgeon General has required warning labels on cigarette packages for nearly 50 years now.
Smoking has been banned in all enclosed workplaces in California, including restaurants in 1995 and bars in 1998.
In 2004 the state banned smoking within 20 feet of any entrance or window of a public building.
Since 2008 smoking inside a moving vehicle in the presence of a minor became an infraction.
Cities and counties all across the state have imposed their own unique smoking prohibitions.
Belmont, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Calabasas, El Cajon, Escondido, Glendale, Goleta, Loma Linda, Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Diego, San Jose, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara have all approved greater and lesser smoking bans.
The city of Susanville is simply the latest city in the state to ban smoking in its public parks.
The council’s reason for banning smoking is easy to understand — the city wants to protect the health of its residents from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
The council said members of the public have the right to expect clean air in the public parks and not be subjected to second-hand smoke.
According to the ordinance, smoking is defined as “possessing (and ‘smoke’ means to possess) any object containing a lighted tobacco product or other lighted weed or plant or the lighting of any object containing a tobacco product or any other weed or plant.”
Now, some folks are sure to insist they have a right to smoke if they wish.
But those folks who don’t smoke also have a right to breathe air that’s not fouled by the toxic vapors and chemicals found in tobacco.
One right must give way to another.
If you smoke, please refrain when you visit one of Susanville’s city parks.
You can give the gift of fresh air to everyone who uses the city’s parks, and what a great gift that would be.
But here’s something else to consider.
Given the proven, scientific dangers smokers face, maybe this would be a good time for you to give up smoking altogether instead of just when you visit city parks.
You could breathe a little easier, too.
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