Lawmakers need to act decisively to protect public

Are our county and state lawmakers paying attention to the court-ordered ads Big Tobacco must run on the deadly effects of tobacco smoking? Without a doubt, the most important danger the ads mention is there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Listening lawmakers?

This means anyone who smells tobacco smoke has inhaled a substance that science says is unsafe, at any level of exposure — unsafe not just for children, seniors or asthmatics. I mention this because our lawmakers scrupulously exhibit a mindset that if they’ve got to protect kids, seniors or people with conditions like asthma, they seem to act decisively. Our lawmakers need that same mindset to protect everyone from tobacco smoke, indoors or outdoors.

Now that most indoor smoking is prohibited, the places most polluted with tobacco smoke are parking lots and outdoor areas like parks and beaches. Smokers ignore the smoking ban in parks and on beaches, so we need law enforcement to enforce the law with citations, not warnings.

As for parking lots and other such areas, follow the lead of progressive states that have banned smoking from entire campuses, like parking lot malls or anywhere people will be exposed to smoke. No smoking even in parked cars — smokers must leave the premises entirely to smoke.

Next, raise the smoking age another two years, to 23, then to 25. This makes perfect sense. Finally, decisively move to fully prohibit smoking of any kind in public, including e-cigarettes.

Jerome Kellner

Kahului

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