Grrr! Outdoor Smoking Ban

It's Grrring to breathe in someone's second-hand smoke in a restaurant or bar.

That's why even smokers don't mind stepping outside for a cigarette break while socializing. But this movement to make smoking outdoors illegal is ludicrous.

Can you imagine graduating from the police academy so that you can "protect and serve" the citizenry of your city, only to be forced to write tickets to smokers?


According to a report in USA Today, Washington state will be considering a $100 fine for smokers caught puffing within 25 feet of a public building, and in Iowa, the state's hospitals ban smoking on entire campuses, meaning smokers have to leave the grounds to light up.

I'd hate to be the attending emergency room physician in need of a cigarette break. I'd hate even more to be in dire need of emergency care when that physician is 5 miles away smoking in some park.

Oh, right. Some parks have banned smoking, too, along with beaches and other public outdoor spaces.

I'm not saying second-hand smoke isn't bad. Indeed, it has been linked to lung cancer in non-smoking adults and can cause things like chronic coughing and phlegm, among many other bad things.

In an online FAQ from the National Cancer Institute, it says that "individuals can reduce their exposure to secondhand smoke by not allowing smoking in their home or car."

Gee, you think? But come on, people, inhaling a whiff of someone's cigarette outdoors as you walk by will not kill you.

Automobiles claim millions of lives through accidents and nobody's leading the charge to ban driving.

I find the smell of newly paved road tar offensive, so I think I'll start a movement to use cement on all roads instead of tar.

Some people are allergic to shellfish. Does that mean all lobsters and crabs should be banned at all public restaurants?

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches should be banned in school cafeterias because some children are allergic to peanuts. In fact, all school lunch bags should be searched 25 feet from the elementary school, and all kids with peanut butter sandwiches should be suspended.

I'm all for laws that punish people for littering and that includes cigarette butts. Whenever I see a smoker drop his butt on the ground and leave it there, I want to smack him upside the head. Ditto the glowing object tossed from the driver's window onto the highway.

But banning smoking outdoors is ridiculous. And no, I don't smoke.

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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, writes the Grrr! Column and hosts the weekly "The Real Deal" webcast on and