READERS REACT TO SMOKING
In last’s week column I talked about a new proposal in Maryland that, if passed, would effectively prohibit smoking in condos, apartments and townhouses if neighbors complained that they could smell the smoke.
I was quite curious to see what you readers thought about this and asked you to write. I must say, I have been surprised at the reaction. The majority of Examiner readers agree with the law.
William S. was an exception. He wrote: “If this legislation passes, where does it end? Some foods have a pervasive aroma that could permeate walls. What about aural pollution, must I be forced to endure every sort of conversation through my walls?”
But Lee of Annandale spoke for the majority: “Your neighbor has a right not to breathe your smoke. I also don’t think it’s overkill to ban outdoor smoking in public places. Smoking should only be done in isolated locations where non-smokers aren’t inconvenienced.”
James of Manassas added: “I am a smoker, but I sympathize with those who have a negative reaction to tobacco smoke. Those of us who smoke don’t realize how offensive the odor is because our sense of smell is duller than those who don’t smoke. I have trained myself not to smoke indoors and support the 50 feet away from the building rules outside.”
Mark K. put it succinctly: “Your rights end where my nose begins, literally in this case.”
Well, so much for my home being my castle. I suspect that the anti-smoking crowd will win the day on this in Annapolis. But if I were voting, I would vote no, even though I have never smoked a cigarette in my life and am unlikely to take them up now. I love the fact that passengers can no longer smoke on airplanes, and that smoking is forbidden in nearly all public buildings. But when prohibition extends to my own domicile, my libertarian side starts to work on my conscience.
Being considerate of others is a virtue in a civilized society. Personal freedom is a Core Value.