Snowmass law is half baked
November 6, 2007
As if Snowmass Village’s elected officials did not have enough on their plates, on Monday they decided to outlaw smoking cigarettes in certain outdoor areas.It seems that this new law, which takes effect Nov. 20, is yet another unnecessary rule that’s a waste of taxpayers’ money – from the expenses tied to the purchase and posting of no-smoking signs to actual enforcement by police.For Snowmass lawmakers to tell smokers that they can’t fire up a cigarette while walking through the outdoor mall smacks of micromanagement by a town becoming increasingly uptight. Smokers already pay Colorado’s three-year-old “sin tax” – which is now at 84 cents a pack – and now they’re being told they can’t smoke in outdoor public places unless it’s on roads, trails or parking lots. Additionally, statistics show the number of smokers is declining, so we question the timing of passing such a law. Indeed, the adult smoking rate in Colorado dropped from 22.3 percent in 2001 to 17.9 percent last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in a September study. If outdoor smokers really are a problem in Snowmass, this issue would be best addressed by putting it in the hands of those directly affected. For example, if a person is attending a concert in Snowmass is bothered by secondhand smoke, he or she simply could ask the smoker to light up elsewhere. Snowmass officials have better things to worry about than passing such a frivolous law that smacks of a town run by bunch of control freaks (not including Councilman Reed Lewis, who voted against the ban). We liken the Snowmass smoking ban to outlawing spitting or chewing gum outdoors, something Singapore does. There’s a name for towns and cities that pass laws like those: police states.