Village Bans

Not a wedding announcement.

Our Voices Exposed, a group of Enosburg Falls, Vermont, High School students met with the village Board of Trustees there a couple of weeks ago to ramp up the board about the negative impact of second hand smoke. On Tuesday night, the board passed an ordinance that bans smoking outside in the village’s two parks. The ban goes into effect on June 12, right after the Vermont Dairy Festival.

It would be bad politics — not to mention a financial disaster — to undermine Dairy Days in this state.

That vote comes on the heels of Burlington’s outdoor smoking ban enacted late last month. Burlington’s ordinance comes with hefty fines for those caught lighting up in city parks and on beaches: $50 to $200 per offense. Burlington also bans idling cars or trucks in the city.


My friend Rufus called them “ninnies. Imposing their stupidity on us.”

I can make all the cases against smoking. I started as a kid, filching Pall Malls from the long drawer atop my dad’s bureau. King size. Unfiltered. When I started buying my own, I switched to the smooth, mild Chesterfield. Ronald Reagan sent cartons of Chesterfields as Christmas gifts for “all my friends” in the ads he made. It is the smoke of True Romance. It wasn’t enough, though, so I eventually switched to the stronger, manlier Between the Acts. Now that little cigar was great for my cough and the smoke could clear a room faster than a dog fart.

I quit in 1976. See, I’m cheaper than I was cool and the carton price was about to hit $5. It was time.

Still, I understand why people smoke and why they want to. And I understand the dangers of second hand smoke. I don’t see much science behind a danger that says three parts per billion of tobacco tar in the atmosphere will cause global warming. Or hiccups in rats. Or something.

That’s political science.

I suspect that this Generation of Don’t wants to carry the nation to a total ban of smoking. They can’t get that passed, so they are nibbling away at it park by park. Starting with Vermont.

Maybe Rufus ain’t wrong after all.

2 thoughts on “Village Bans

  1. I grew up in a household where mother and dad each smoked a pack a day because their doctor said he would walk a mile for a Camel. To this day I love the smell of second-hand cigarette smoke even though I never took up the smoking habit myself.

    But, why do they call them parks when in many places it is illegal to park there after dark? Mrs Poleczech and I tried it a few years ago, and some cops came by and made us put our clothes on and leave.

    Even here in the urban area of SE Texas, a family has to park their gas-guzzling SUV a good ways off and walk to the park so that dad and mom can grab a quick smoke before letting the kids roll around on the chigger infested grass.

    The sale of tobacco is a tax revenue enhancer; so, I say let people smoke in city parks — unless it stunts the cows and interferes with dairy festivals. Or worse, stock car races.

    — George

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