YES on 1B: no smoking
Many weeks ago, we editorialized in favor of a countywide ban on smoking in public places. We haven’t changed our minds, even in the face of appealing libertarian arguments about creeping government nannyism.
Thanks to the Board of County Commissioners, the question about a smoking ban is on the Nov. 4 ballot as Referred Question 1B.
It asks, “Shall ordinances be adopted prohibiting smoking in all enclosed public places, including restaurants and bars, in Summit County, Colorado?”
Our answer is YES.
Second-hand smoke is a health hazard, in our opinion. Summit County would be a healthier place and a desired tourism location once its reputation as a smoke-free destination becomes known.
What this question does is call upon the county commissioners to enact an ordinance that would take effect in unincorporated sections of the county, not the least including Copper Mountain and Keystone.
A SmokeFree Summit poll and our own Summit Daily News unscientific Web site poll indicate strong support for the smoking question.
Voters in the home-rule towns will vote on the question, as well. The individual town results should be – if the polls are correct – compelling straw polls to encourage town councils to follow suit with smoking restrictions.
Politically, SmokeFree Summit wants a true countywide restriction in the towns and county to hit simultaneously to prevent unfairness to any one establishment.
It should be noted that many establishments have gone smoke-free on their own volition. They are to be congratulated.
Now for the nannyism charge. The government is already a nanny about the issue, but not in a way we would agree. Smokers who incur inevitable health problems are entitled to the same access to medical treatment as those who choose to live smoke-free lives, whether they can pay or not.
Smokers burden private health insurance plans, making everybody else pay extra for their death wish. Harsh, but true. That’s nannyism.
Any measure that can reduce the inhalation of smoke, first, or second-hand, is a step in the right direction.
Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Kim Nicoletti and Martha Lunsky.
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