Thursday, November 10, 2005

Washington State Smoking Ban

This article actually made me feel a bit better about the smoking ban that just passed in Washington.

I was a little worried that it went too far in stating that smokers must be 25 feet from any opening in a building, but this statement: "Valdez said the 25-foot rule is intended to prevent smoke from entering indoor spaces, as well as keeping entrances and exits clear of smoke. Enforcement will take that intent into account, he said." makes it a little more clear. As long as the smoke isn't entering the building, smokers should be ok.

The article also indicates that us nonsmokers are going to be expected to keep enforcement going: "Enforcement of the law will be driven by people who complain to the health department about smoking taking place illegally," so if there is some dive somewhere that everybody smokes at and nobody complains, they'll get along ok.

I am a little irritated that the fine goes to the business owner, and not to the smoker, but it would be pretty hard to get at individual scofflaws, I guess. I'd much rather see the smoker be fined for lighting up. Especially when you consider that (in my experience, at least) 90% or more of all smokers are considerate folks who try to keep their smoke away from people who don't like it. It's that handful of inconsiderates who make these laws happen. And they are the ones who ought to be punished.

The ban goes into effect on December 8th. After that, no smoking in any place of business in Washington State.

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