Thursday, December 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Bob Dunning: Where there’s smoke, it’s not San Rafael

BobDunning2W

By
From page A2 | December 04, 2013 |

Davis’ reputation as the leader of All Things Right and Relevant took another hit late last month when the city of San Rafael openly bragged that its new smoking ordinance was the strictest in the nation.

Please, someone alert Dan and Joe and Rochelle and Brett and Lucas and tell them to do something pronto before the “Today” show and others like it decide that Marin County and not Davis is the cutting edge for new and innovative programs.

Basically, the ordinance takes the extraordinary step of prohibiting the smoking of cigarettes in your own home if that home shares a wall with another residence.

Thus, once again, folks capable of owning a detached, single-family home are in the clear when it comes to doing whatever they damn well please once the curtains are drawn. But those generally lower-income residents who have fewer housing options will feel the hot breath of Big Brother on their neck.

“I’m not aware of any ordinance that’s stronger,” crowed San Rafael city official Rebecca Woodbury to ABC News. “It doesn’t matter if it’s owner-occupied or renter-occupied. We didn’t want to discriminate. The distinguishing feature is the shared wall.”

As much as Woodbury may cite the “non-discriminatory” nature of the ordinance, it most definitely discriminates based on one’s housing. Put simply, some residents of San Rafael will be allowed to smoke up a storm in the privacy of their living rooms while other residents of San Rafael will be strictly forbidden from smoking in the privacy of their living rooms. And in most cases, the main difference between these two groups of residents will be income level.

It’s like saying those who own a Mercedes or a BMW can drive 35 mph while those who own a Ford or a Chevy can drive only 25 mph.

On the flip side of this, of course, one can argue that low-income people who abhor the stench of cigarette smoke but can’t afford a detached home away from their three-pack-a-day neighbor on the other side of the wall, will now finally have a measure of relief.

It’s a classic case of the so-called “common good” versus the rights of the individual, with the wealth of the individual generally the deciding factor over who gets those rights and who doesn’t.

Closer to home, Sac State soon may follow UC Davis’ lead and ban tobacco products everywhere on campus.

While regular cigarette smoking has been decisively proven to be one of the most damaging activities possible to one’s health, these bans more often than not are aimed at the secondhand smoke that reaches the lungs of non-smokers.

While some folks would like to ban cigarettes in all instances, most of us are willing to allow folks to exercise the right to kill themselves in this fashion as long as they don’t take the rest of us along to the grave with them.

Anyone who has lived with — or in close proximity to — a smoker knows just how insidious tobacco smoke is, creeping as it does under doors, inside vents and through open windows.

The issues here are much different from the debate many cities have over the occasional burning of firewood on days when the EPA says environmental conditions make it safe to do so. Rare is the smoker who lights up a cigarette only on Christmas Eve or the first day of winter. Also rare is the smoker who lights up just once a day for a few minutes.

Banning smoking in closed spaces, such as restaurants, bars, classrooms and airplanes is just common sense.

But given that a significant, if declining, number of people in our society still choose to smoke, I wouldn’t object if a strictly limited number of restaurants or bars were allowed to permit smoking — no kids allowed on the premises — with proper warnings to the public. If you don’t like cigarette smoke, don’t eat or drink here.

Again, the number of such establishments allowed should be minimal, but enough to allow smokers to get together and enjoy their guilty pleasure at someplace other than a tightly sealed closet.

Most smokers I know are respectful and courteous when they indulge in their death-inducing habit. If we can accommodate them without compromising the health and comfort of everyone else, all the better.

Until then, San Rafael’s new ordinance bears watching.

— Reach Bob Dunning at bdunning@davisenterprise.net

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Former foster youths aided by UCD’s Guardian programs

    By Sarah Colwell | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rain Recyclers saves water for another day

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City plans signs to improve flow on Fifth Street

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    State gets more rain, big mudslide

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Boston bombing suspect in court for first time since 2013

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    U.S., Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Feds will discuss Berryessa Snow Mountain protection

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    ‘Longest Night’ service Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Journalist will join post-film discussion Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offices will take a winter break

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Yolo County needs a few good advisers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Per Capita Davis: Time to stop fooling around

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

     
    NAMI-Yolo offers free mental health education program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    Disagreement on mother’s care

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Marovich is a brilliant diplomat

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    And a jolly time was had by all

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Remember that all lives matter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Pollution from electric vehicles

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    On skiing: What to know when buying new skis

    By Jeffrey Weidel | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys host Les Curry beginning Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD women gear up for second half of swim season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men begin 4-game road trip at Air Force

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: DBC Juniors rider Kanz wins a cyclocross event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    College Corner: How does applying for financial aid work?

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: B3

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B3

     
    Anniversary: Barbara and Jan Carter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Something growing in the mailbox

    By Don Shor | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Sing and dance along to Cold Shot at Froggy’s

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Point of Brew: Recollections of Christmases past

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A7

    Golden Bough brings Irish holidays to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ and benefit school arts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, December 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Last Minute Gift Guide

    Young phenoms make YouTube success look like child’s play

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG1

    Classic or contemporary, it’s all holiday music to our ears

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG2

    Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG3

    Gift ideas for the health-conscious

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: LMG6

    Hall of Fame proudly puts these toys on the shelf

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG7