Juneau's smoking law goes too far

Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Smokers, be prepared, you are about to be the target of the smoke police.

If I read the brief ordinance that was in the paper, people smoking on the sidewalks of Juneau will be in violation of the law, as most sidewalks in downtown Juneau are not the required 10 feet to allow passage by open doors, windows and other requirements. The best way out of this is, of course, to walk in the street. Of course, you may get run over for your effort.

If smoking is really such a health hazard, why not ban all tobacco use in the entire country? I'll tell you why not, as the greedy politicians don't want to lose millions in tax revenues that the tobacco industry generates.

Their concern for public health is secondary. One has only to look at the millions that have given up smoking, and to make up the difference in lost tax revenues the tax rate on tobacco has steadily climbed to keep the tax income the same or even more.

There has to be a better answer to the problem. Remember the huge lawsuits that were filed against the tobacco companies, and the monies from these suits were supposed to go to health and education for the prevention of the effects of smoking. It seems that most states used these funds for everything but that, and by the time the greedy lawyers got their share there wasn't much left anyway.

Since I don't smoke, I haven't any ax to grind but would like to see a solution other than penalties that do nothing more than enrich the city coffers and make second-class citizens out of those that choose to smoke. I do agree with most of the ordinance, but as usual the city has gone too far.

Bud Womack


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