Posted by BE on January 19th, 2012
Health professionals in Auckland have proposed that smoking be banned in all outdoor public places in the city. At least I think that’s what they’ve proposed. The front-page story in this morning’s Herald isn’t entirely clear on whether the ban is intended to be universal within the Auckland City boundaries or restricted to certain public spaces.
Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether banning smoking in any outdoor public space can be justified in what we like to call ‘a free society’, a limited ban (on virtually anything) invites public confusion and is therefore much more difficult to enforce. A total ban, on the other hand, leaves no room for confusion or the excuse, ‘I didn’t realise you couldn’t smoke here.’
As I write this, a poll on the Herald’s website reports:
Excellent and sensible idea – 43%
Good in theory – 27%
Not a fan but would go along with it – 4%
Outrageous, a step too far – 26%
That’s 74% of respondents variously in favour and 26% adamantly against. An unscientific poll of course, but indicative at least of majority support for banning smoking outdoors as well as indoors in public spaces.
So yes, if there were such a law, you would essentially only be able to smoke in private indoor locations, including your home and garden, other people’s homes and gardens with their agreement, and (I’m guessing here) other privately owned indoor premises with the agreement of everyone who ever used the premises.
Put even more simply, you would not be able to smoke in any outdoor location where you might come into contact with another member of the general public – on the street, in the park, on the beach, in children’s playgrounds, tramping, climbing, jogging, playing or just plain walking. Read the rest of this entry »