Will 2012 Be the Year of ‘No Smoking’ in Philly?
As we’ve detailed before, there is a quiet war on cigarette smoking in both this city and this state. An indoor smoking ban has been effect in all bars and restaurants at which food makes up less than 20 percent of their establishment’s total annual sales. In May 2011, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order at the Kingsessing Recreation Center that banned smoking in city-owned recreation centers and outside, at playgrounds and pools.
This at first seemed like a no-brainer. But as part of the “Get Philly Healthy Initiative,” the city may take all of this smoking stuff even further. There’s a PDF on the city’s website which reads, in part, “Smoking in public recreational facilities is a costly public nuisance. It is a common habit of smokers to discard cigarette butts and packages on City streets, sidewalks, parks, and other public areas. The City does not have the resources to remove the excessive amount of litter created by smokers.”
Philly has also considered putting images of diseased lungs inside stores which sell cigarettes which, some studies show, do not work.
Now, it’s being reported that there’s a movement to “close the loopholes” of the ban on indoor smoking, and make it so that smoking is simply banned indoors, everywhere. As according to WITF (h/t Keystone Politics), 2012 may see that happen.
Deborah Brown, head of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, says the result is a regulatory patchwork in which people aren’t sure where they can go if they don’t want to be around secondhand smoke.
“You never know,” said Brown. “Like, you could go into a restaurant thinking that ‘Oh, it’s a restaurant, it should be smoke-free,’ and for whatever reason of the exemptions, it may not be.”
Brown said the exceptions weaken the indoor smoking ban. But the ban itself was the result of a hard-won compromise, something that had to be hammered out in a 2008 conference committee.
The American Lung Association is said to be working with Republican State Sen. Greenleaf of Bucks County on this issue, neither of whom seem to realize how cool smoking looks. More on this issue later.