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my big book of little catastrophes
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mind if i give you cancer? 
26th-Jan-2005 08:32 am

Smokers, take heed: A new law is kicking your butts out of San Francisco parks and open spaces.

The Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 Tuesday to outlaw smoking outdoors in all recreational areas managed by the city except for golf courses. That includes parks, squares, gardens and playing fields but not federal lands such as the Presidio or Ocean Beach.

Wow. I've been hoping for this for years. I remember when saintmichael and I used to go lay out on the hillside at Dolores Park with all the speedo boys, and our lovely boywatching reverie would be interrupted because some dumb fuck plopped himself down next to us and lit up a cig, inundating us in noxious smoke.

I wonder how long it will take for SF to ban smoking in all outdoor public places. Having to endure smoke while waiting at a bus stop sucks. And of course any bar that doesn't have a smoking porch/backyard/etc creates a crowd of smokers hanging out on the sidewalk in front. I will cross the street to avoid the cloud in front of Badlands.

But I doubt this new ordinance will make that big a change. Even though we have a smoking ban in bars, smokers still smoke there. The Cafe has an outdoor courtyard and a porch that are used for smoking. They leave the doors open of course, so all the smoke drifts in and makes the whole place stink anyway. My clothes reek after just 5 minutes in there. And smokers themselves tend to drift indoors too. I'm sure there are many ordinance violations there any busy night, but I have no idea how to pursue correcting this.

Now I know I have friends who smoke, and can think of a couple who may be reading this even. However, I can't think of a single friend who smokes who hasn't tried to quit at least once. I know I do things that are bad for me too, so I can't be too judgmental about people who smoke. But I can be happy about changes that protect me from the annoyance and health risks of second-hand smoke, and perhaps make it easier for smokers to quit too.
26th-Jan-2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
Excellent news! I look forward to enjoying the benefits when we visit San Francisco in June!
26th-Jan-2005 04:46 pm (UTC)
The outdoor ban doesn't take effect until July 1, so no luck for you in June. Sorry!

Are you coming here for Pride? Who is "we"?
26th-Jan-2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
Agh! Still, it'll be better than London! We're going to miss Pride by a day (I'm a klutz) - just visiting, my boyfriend glassminds and me. I'm originally from Portland, and we popped through San Francisco on our way to New Zealand in December and loved it. So we'll be there for a week!
26th-Jan-2005 10:10 pm (UTC)
SF sounds better and better. Smoking ARGGHHGHGHGH!!!!
1st-Feb-2005 03:18 am (UTC)
Excellent! I'm glad I will soon be reaping the benefits of this ordinance.

In a small corner of my brain there's a little voice bothered by the ability of the government to regulate personal behavior to this degree. Mind you, I agree with the legal interpretation here - health risks - but I do get a tad uncomfortable when the government has power over individuals. I suppose the extreme extension of the health risk argument would be prohibition on tobacco. Although many would welcome that, it would be counter to the same principles on which we base abortion rights and sex rights - personal privacy and the right to do with your body what you want.

I know, I know, tobacco smoke does not stay localized with the smoker and impacts the people around them. That's why I'm not crying over this regulation. I just keep a leery eye on the legal precedent it sets.

I just wish that we had a society where courtesy prevailed and that smokers were sensitive to their impact on those around them. Since we do not, we unfortunately have to use the heavy hand of government to do it for them.
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