A few of my friends in Hoopeston and I were just discussing this sometime in the last couple of months. Now the Champaign city council is considering an ordinance to make tobacco possesion by anyone 17 and under a violation with a $145 fine. There are some really quality, bickering quotes to be had. First up, the CU Smokefree Alliance:
The CU Smokefree Alliance, which has led the fight for a smoking ban in public places in Champaign-Urbana, also will not support the proposed ordinance, according to spokesman Matt Varble.
The alliance believes the proposal “is a bad idea whose time has not come,” Varble wrote in a news release.
“It appears that the mayor is simply pretending to be anti-tobacco in a way that blames our youth for tobacco problems when, in fact, the problem is citywide and spans beyond youth possession,” Varble said.
The best way for underage youths to learn not to smoke “is for adults to stop smoking in public places,” he said.
“A focus solely on youth possessing cigarettes says smoking is wrong for kids, but just fine once you reach 18 and beyond,” Varble wrote. “It’s not.”
A “bad idea whose time has not come”? Aren’t you just trying to reduce the overall number of smokers and hence the people that die of tobacco related causes? Or not.
Next up, a quote from a council member:
Council member Giraldo Rosales, who strongly supported a smoking ban in restaurants and bars, said he won’t support the mayor’s proposal.
“They bring out the health issue, but when we wanted to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, it wasn’t a health issue,” Rosales said.
“To me, we need a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance that includes restaurants and bars and youth … We’ve had no community input. For the mayor to come up with this is ridiculous.”
Why do we need an all encompassing, comprehensive ordinance that serves your political needs when this will probably do just about as much, if not more, to curb teen smoking as banning smoking in public places? Hit them in the pocketbooks and move on. Or, keep arguing to make it look like you are more anti-tobacco than the mayor when, here in the real world, you both know that neither one of these proposals will pass as is.
The details of our discussion are pretty hazy, but I’m fairly certain we agreed on a higher fine than that and some level of forced parent involvement in the process. Probably not perfect either, but we are just a group of friends chatting over dinner.