Poll confirms time is right to ban smoking in public places
A poll commissioned by the Summit Prevention Alliance shows 67 percent of 500 people polled favor a ban on smoking in public places.
The greater news would have been 67 percent favor smoking in public places. In other words, we aren’t surprised.
The poll, which has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percent, confirms what many people already know, it’s time for Summit County to be bold and daring and ban smoking in public places.
First and foremost, smoking is a health issue. The greatest harm is done to workers who may not have a choice about where they draw a paycheck. Workers should be guaranteed a safe workplace, free from second-hand smoke.
An added benefit of the county and its four towns going smoke-free is differentiation in the tourism marketplace. Families should be attracted to a county where they are not subjected to unwanted tobacco smoke.
The Board of County Commissioners is studying a ballot issue that would create a smoke-free county. If it passes, and the poll indicates it should, the measure would be binding that the BOCC enact an ordinance. But that would only cover the unincorporated areas, even though that includes the significant restaurant and bar enclaves of Copper Mountain and Keystone Resort.
The vote would only be advisory on the four home-rule towns of Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Dillon and Frisco. Elected officials in the towns will be able to judge by precinct voting records how their residents feel about going smoke-free, and act accordingly.
The libertarian purists among us feel smoking is a right and should not be banned by heavy-handed government.
Yet, in our view, the public health and welfare trumps the right to smoke in public places. Smokers can commit their slow suicides in their cars, houses or open air.
The public expects restaurant inspections and kitchen cleanliness to govern the safety of what we put in our stomachs. A smoking ban would do the same for what we breathe.
We salute the many restaurateurs who have taken this step voluntarily.
Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Abigail Eagye, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Aidan Leonard, Shauna Farnell and Martha Lunsky.
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