In the wake of the August 8 request by Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks to ban all outdoor smoking in both the City and County of Los Angeles, the South Bay Daily Breeze, which covers the Torrance, Long Beach and San Pedro areas fired back with this editorial entitled "Cut smokers some slack" on Sunday, August 10:
"Someone tell Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks that it's time for a cease-fire in the War on Smoking.
"Yes, smoking is a terrible, costly, self-destructive habit. And yes, society should do whatever it reasonably can to dissuade people from lighting up. But the smoking ban that Parks is calling for in the city of Los Angeles steps clear into the realm of the unreasonable.
"Parks, who is vying in a fall runoff campaign to succeed retiring Second District Supervisor Yvonne Burke, also wants the county Board of Supervisors to adopt a similar anti-smoking plan. Parks would like to see the policy enacted by all the cities in the county.
"In the wake of the comprehensive ban on public smoking that Calabasas enacted in 2006, Parks now wants L.A. to ban smoking pretty much anywhere non-smokers may be present - which is to say, everywhere.
"‘Smoke has no boundaries,’ Parks says. ‘You should smoke only where you are hurting only yourself.’ He adds, ‘We're not trying to get into people's bedrooms and homes.’
"The problem is, those two comments are contradictory.
"Parks is right: Smoke does have no boundaries. That's true even for cigarette smoke that wafts from one's front porch into a neighbor's yard. Once the law protects non-smokers from ever having to sniff even a microscopic trace of smoke, it must necessarily intrude into people's homes - or bedrooms, should the window be open.
"That's legal overkill.
"While secondhand smoke can be dangerous, especially in large amounts, that's simply not the case with the fumes from a smoker who just so happens to be walking by outdoors. In L.A., a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk has far more to fear from the exhaust of passing cars than from the lingering residue of a fellow pedestrian's cigarette.
"L.A. is a city that prides itself on its tolerance. City residents could do a little more to be tolerant of the smokers among them - friends and loved ones, all.
"We can protect Angelenos from the real dangers of secondhand smoke - and enact policies to dissuade smoking - without getting into the business of making life needlessly difficult for people just because they are saddled with an unpopular addiction.
"When the War on Smoking turns into the War on Smokers, it's time to call it quits."