'Developed societies are paternalistic' (2003-2006)

By the time Britain went 'smoke-free' in July 2007, California's state-wide smoking ban was nearing its tenth anniversary and attention inevitably turned to the great outdoors. Stanton Glantz described a ban on smoking in parks as "the next logical step" for his movement. San Francisco was among the first cities to outlaw smoking in parks, a law initiated and supervised by the formidable Michela Alioto-Pier, whose aunt had, in 1993, written the Californian state ordinance that banned smoking in bars and restaurants. Lacking any evidence that tobacco smoke posed even the most slender health hazard in wide open spaces, Alioto-Pier adopted the language of environmentalism by claiming cigarette butts "leach toxins into our groundwater." She equated allowing people to smoke in parks with giving guns to children and demanded the state pay for a thousand 'No Smoking' signs to be posted around the city's parks, an idea as aesthetically unappealing as it was Orwellian. When the Recreation and Park Department failed to provide said notices she called it "an outrage" and "wholly irresponsible."

After smoking was banned in parks, the 'next logical step' was to extend the prohibition to streets. In Australia, Dr Ron Borland of the Centre for Tobacco Control compared people smoking in the street with heroin addicts shooting up in back alleys and called for the creation of "safe ingesting rooms" where smokers could be sent to keep them away from normal people. As a bonus, he suggested, they could be made to pay to use the rooms, as one might pay to use a lavatory in a train station....

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