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May   4

25 Foot Smoking Buffer Zone Up In Smoke

Smoke When smokers step outside for a puff, they won't need to take a hike after all.  Strong protests from New Jersey's restaurant industry against a proposed 25 foot smoke free buffer zone may have snuffed out the proposed regulation. From the Express Times:

State officials are backing off a plan to create smoker-free zones within 25 feet of private businesses and public buildings.

"I thought that perhaps it was something local businesses and municipalities should deal with themselves," state Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred Jacobs said Wednesday.

Jacobs is responsible for drafting regulations to go along with the Clean Air Act that took effect April 15. The law is designed to protect New Jersey residents from the effects of secondhand smoke and bans cigarette smoking in public places. The legislation makes New Jersey the 11th state with such a ban, joining Delaware and New York, among others.

Instead of the 25-foot proposed rule, business owners and municipalities have the right to set their own rules, provided they don't harm the public's health, Jacobs said.

"The staff have discussed it and agree (secondhand smoke) is a public health issue. But 25 feet from the door is probably in the street, maybe in front of a neighbor's business. The absolute number is difficult to enforce and unnecessary," Jacobs said.

May 4, 2006 in Current Affairs | Permalink


So the new sequence for entering a bar/restaurant will be: hold your nose or exhale, while moving as quickly as possible past the outdoor smoking zone, hoping that no smoke adheres itself to your clothing or gets inhaled into your lungs. Can we look forward to a Montclair child organizing the effort for this ordinance: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/pdf/agendas/council/2006/021506/item2-O2006-217.pdf.

Posted by: Jim | May 4, 2006 9:22:10 AM

ugh. *Must* we now be forced to *see* our second class citizens all clustered together?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 4, 2006 9:32:49 AM

Big fan of the smoking ban. Thought the 25 foot rule was overboard and unrealistic.
Good news.

Posted by: darren | May 4, 2006 10:09:30 AM

It was logically necessary to abandon the 25-foot rule because studies proved that there are no two doors in all of New Jersey more than 22 feet apart.

Just squeeze in tight and smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette...

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | May 4, 2006 10:10:01 AM

I don't know about 25 feet, but I can't stand it when smokers congregate RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOORWAY that you have to pass through to either enter or exit a building.

I agree with Jim above re: holding nose, etc. I can't stand having that stink on me or "tasting" it in my lungs!!

Posted by: justeL | May 4, 2006 10:22:58 AM

The only problem with the 25-feet rule is that we currently lack the technology to enforce it. In the future, heat sensors mounted above the door of each bar will detect any ciggie within 25 feet; then a laser beam will vaporize it.

Then, and only then, will we be able to breathe free.

Posted by: walleroo | May 4, 2006 10:42:52 AM

So it makes you a second class citizen if you can't puff your hazardous materials into the air of a restaurant?

I guess we're all second class citizens because we can't talk on our cell phones in our cars. Or because we can't snort cocaine. Or because it's illegal to have sex in public. Or because we can't put led paint or asbestos in our buildings. Or because employees have to wash their hands after using the restroom. Or because businesses can't pump whatever toxins into the air they want.

Posted by: Butch | May 4, 2006 10:43:24 AM

What the world needs now is a technology for ensuring that teenagers remain abstinent until marriage. Hmmmm...

Posted by: walleroo | May 4, 2006 10:48:23 AM

Of course they're second class citizens, Butch. Haven't you seen how they huddle pathetically to stay warm in winter? Can't you see how they wrap their yellowed teeth around those cancer sticks? Haven't you smelled their shame in the elevator ride back up? It's like riding in 3d class carriage through Shazilistan.

Posted by: walleroo | May 4, 2006 10:50:22 AM

"I agree with Jim above re: holding nose, etc. I can't stand having that stink on me or "tasting" it in my lungs!!"

So what do you do when you go out? Hold your breath for 5 hours? Live in a bubble? You are in a state that has the highest concentration of toxic waste dumps in America and you are offended by the smell of smoke 25 feet away? Do you wear perfume or deodorants that may be offensive to others or that may cause cancer in unborn disenfranchised baby gay spotted owls?

Is there anyone out there on the fat end of the moral seesaw who is at all capable of dealing with life here in the real world? I am not a smoker, but I wonder why -- if tobacco is evil incarnate -- it hasn't been made illegal. What's that? Too much profit to be made? Okay, I see now... Well, let's do the next best thing and persecute the users.


Posted by: Bill The Cat | May 4, 2006 11:00:23 AM

I, too, thought the 25-foot rule was ludicrous. There would be no logical way to enact or enforce it. Sounds as if it really wasn't thought through thoroughly in the first place. Plus, it would undue pressure on our law enforcement personnel who have bigger fish to fry.

Posted by: Miss Martta | May 4, 2006 11:19:58 AM

Bill, et all: Unlike other vices, such as drinking and digestable drugs, the secondhand smoke generated from a lit cigarette affects other people and not just yourself. In other words, the actions of smokers affect the quality of life of non-smokers. The act of smoking infringes on the rights of others that choose to lead a smoke-free lifestyle. This direct consequence is unique to smoking cigarettes.

And yes, tobacco is big business, so making it illegal will be very difficult to impossible.

Posted by: Jim | May 4, 2006 11:23:44 AM

Jim, don't you think it is pretty naive to say that drinking and drugs don't affect other people while second-hand smoke does? Unless you are a resident of Area 51, you are going to meet a drunk driver on the road someday. And maybe he or she is stoned, too. But as long as they aren't smoking...

Posted by: Bill The Cat | May 4, 2006 11:27:40 AM

This whole smoking ban seems to have left out my biggest peeve...

Smoking in cars with children/babies. I can't tell you how many times I see 2 adults smoking away in a car, windows rolled up, with an infant in the back. THAT should be illegal. How can they be so gung ho to protect the bars/restaurants when our youngest, most innocent victims are subject to these smoke chambers every day??

Posted by: momof2 | May 4, 2006 11:51:25 AM

I agree the 25-foot rule was silly and unnecessary.

Last night we went to Tierney's for their great burgers and it was blessedly free of smoke (our first visit there since the law changed). I mentioned it to the bartender who was bringing over our cheeseburgers and he said he LOVES it. So it has made everyone happy I think - except the poor guy who was outside smoking when we came in!

Posted by: mauigirl52 | May 4, 2006 11:53:28 AM

I know it's too early, but I wonder how the non-smoking ban has affected the businesses involved. My wife and I have already visited places we avoided in the past because of second hand smoke.

Posted by: BeanCounter | May 4, 2006 11:56:36 AM

BeanCounter: I think it will draw out people who normally would not have gone to bars, resturants and clubs because of the smoke.

When I leave work every day in NYC, the bars and pubs in my neighborhood are packed so I don't see where this has hurt business one iota.

Posted by: Miss Martta | May 4, 2006 12:01:38 PM

I tend to agree with momof2 about smoking in a car with children.

I suppose the parents are exercising their "right to choose" irregardless of the harm to the infant child.

Shameful in the extreme.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 4, 2006 12:03:41 PM

Did I say irregardless? I meant regardless.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 4, 2006 12:04:29 PM

ROC: for a definition of loop see loop.

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | May 4, 2006 12:38:58 PM


Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 4, 2006 12:39:43 PM

a palindrome

Posted by: cheeze | May 4, 2006 12:51:59 PM

Just an anology for the "right to choose" argument - just as anyone has the right to choose to drink alcohol and get drunk, they do not have the right to choose to get in a car and drive because they put other people at risk. Just as a smoker has a right to choose to smoke, they should not have the right to get in a car and put a child at risk.

Posted by: momof2 | May 4, 2006 12:54:08 PM

anAlogy! sorry.

Posted by: momof2 | May 4, 2006 12:55:56 PM

Agree - similar to the fact that parents are responsible for kids under 14 (I think it is) to make sure they buckle their seatbelts. Babies can't choose whether or not to smoke. There's a good ad on the radio about it, with cute little children's voices saying things like "I smoke when I'm on the way to my babysitter" and "I smoke while I'm taking a bath..." "Seems like I've been smoking all my life."

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