Pequannock Debates Smoking Ban

Ban on SmokingImage via WikipediaThe most ferocious battles of freedom often do not pit liberty against tyranny, but the rights of one individual against the rights of another.  Such is the case in the smoking ban that is now being debated for Pequannock Township.  During the past 3 Town Council meetings, a resolution has been discussed that would make it illegal to smoke at a number of specified township parks and properties.  Debate has gone back and forth as to which parks, which township buildings, and whether the ban would be a complete one or would allow for smoking areas, smoking circumstances (when children are not present for example or when the park is closed to public use), or other variants such as prohibited with x-feet of the ball-field, etc.

On one side, are the rights of children to grow up with the best influence possible: a world where smoking is simply not socially acceptable.  On the other, the rights of a shrinking set of smokers, who though small in number, have no less claim to personal freedom than any other citizen.

None of the members of the Town Council consider themselves smokers and none are in favor of smoking, the disagreement occurs over personal rights and the ability to enforce such regulations, since the legal responsibility of writing tickets to fulfill the regulation would fall somewhere between the Park Ranger, who's jurisdiction are the parks in question, and the Health Officer, who would be responsible for enforcing the regulation.

All present for the debates agreed that overall, citizens are currently excellent about policing themselves and each other to prevent smoking near children, though there is a serious issue with litter from smokers in the form of cigarette butts in several township parks.

Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock EnvironmentalHistoric District, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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