L educ has beaten Strathcona County to the punch. Historically, Strathcona County has implemented a number of bylaw initiatives that have led to the Alberta Legislature making similar laws. In fact, the county was the first municipality in the province to implement a smoking Karelia cigarettes bylaw, which was soon after adopted by the Alberta government.
Now, Leduc has made the first step towards taking smoking away from people in their own private space, implementing a bylaw that states nobody can smoke in a vehicle when a child is along for the ride.
I agree with the bylaw. Smoking should be kept out of the immediate oxygen supply for children. They don’t choose to have an adult smoking next to them, but if they had a say, I bet they would opt against it.
Here’s my problem: Where is the line drawn?
It’s great that the community of Leduc is implementing this bylaw, but how far does that reach extend, or how far will it grow in the near future?
People choose to smoke. It’s a conscious decision, as is drinking or gambling. While it is definitely an addiction, it is still a choice.
Putting legal implementations on private ownership is a slippery slope.
How far down the line is a bylaw saying people can’t smoke in their homes if a child is present?
I’m not saying that’s wrong, I’m simply playing devil’s advocate in stating the limitations of the law.
It’s not farfetched to sit with the opinion that the more limitations that are placed on a group of people, the more individuals in that group will rebel.
Anyone who has ever attended a concert at Rexall Place can see where I’m coming from. If somebody wants to smoke badly enough, they will. I’ve been to numerous concerts over the years where I’m surrounded by people lighting up their cigarettes (and other smokable substances) around me. They don’t want to miss the concert, but their addiction is telling them they need a cigarette.
Telling people they can’t smoke in Rexall is right. Making smoking illegal in public places is right. Restaurants have a much more clean feel since smoking and non-smoking sections stopped existing. Let’s face it, a line of booths separating the two sections never did much.
Still, smoking is now banned from public parks — it’s allowed in more private parks than public now — and that’s outdoors. While I would frown upon anybody lighting up a smoke when there’s a child standing next to them in a park, it is their right to smoke in the great outdoors.
It seems governments are simply tip-toeing around slamming the tobacco companies themselves. That’s clear in the soon-to-be-implemented legislation that require tobacco companies to make their warnings cover 75 per cent of a pack of cigarettes.
Smoking is unhealthy, but smokers know that and they don’t need to be an ostracized, segregated part of a community.
I’m a “laissez faire” kind of guy. Let’s keep the children safe, but keep the government hand out of an industry that is driven by choice. The tobacco tycoons don’t force people to smoke. It is a choice.