Clark County commissioners will soon be deciding the fate of a no-smoking proposal for county parks. The proposal was first presented several weeks ago by the Public Health Department and the commissioners turned it down.
During that meeting it became obvious that the commissioners found themselves in a heartrending quandary — they would have to, in the words of Commissioner Steve Stuart, limit the “liberties of smokers.” Stuart bore down on this point, reiterating that he felt uncomfortable about restricting the rights of the citizen who smokes. After all, wasn’t it enough that the present law prevents smoking in park lavatories and in the playground areas (remember the useless no-smoking areas in airliners)?
Never mind that tobacco smoke is a principal cause of children’s becoming sensitized to tobacco, and a known initiator of asthma attacks. Never mind that the smell of tobacco smoke is extremely noxious. Never mind that tobacco smoke is a major carcinogen.
What of the nonsmoker’s rights? Are we the ones creating these major health problems? To use and enjoy our county parks must we have no choice but to accept these risks and discomforts? Tell me why I must see my legitimate right to a healthy and enjoyable county park be subordinated to the “liberties of smokers”?