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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Letters to the Editor Smoke And Mirrors; Smoking Ban Bad Idea

Smoke And Mirrors; Smoking Ban Bad Idea

I read in the Gazette 1/16/13 where Council has finishing drafted a resolution to be presented to our State General Assembly asking for "Clarification" of their laws on smoking on their beaches plus a bunch of other jibber jabber not pertaining to smoking anywhere.
Folks in Raleigh and their Tobacco lobbyist are up on their game in their understanding and will see the primary purpose of this document is to change State laws to allow a smoking ban be placed on all folks that frequent beach strands they own and control. I do not see where clarity was needed on this issue as it is clear that smoking is allowed and always has been on public beaches in N.C.
Why not come right out plain and simple and tell the folks in Raleigh that our Town Council has had very little local input for or against smoking in open areas but you do not like/want smoking on their beaches instead of beating around the bush and cluttering up the real issue for this resolution.
This issue is best left as is,  in the hands of many in our States legislature that have determined smoking on beaches in open air instead of 5+- folks on a few Town Councils in "seashore communities" wanting to enact an ordinance they drew up that will concern folks and tourist dollars from all over the U.S. When the rubber meets the road the folks in Raleigh will/should deny local municipalities more power to control State property than they already have.
Our legislature has already determined what they will allow on smoking in the outdoors in open air and 5+-folks in local governments from "sea coast" towns are not going to change this. It will be hard to impossible to convince a majority of folks in our General Assembly with a resolution without hype being used to allow an ordinance to be put in effect banning smoking by local governments on any state owned beaches.
Our officials in Raleigh are smart enough to know that it is not a proven fact (and never will be) that non smoking folks are being harmed by second hand smoke in open air on public beaches where breezes historically blow at 5+- mph. The folks examining this issue will not be under the influence of a group based in California and sending e-mails tooting non-smoking and bringing cigarette butts in jars to Council meetings using hype to promote their non- smoking cause. The true issue is littering of cigarette butts on the beach but some have let second hand smoke take over this issue and that is the very thing that is going to defeat it.
On a different note elected officials sometimes use a deal of "the side that has the most folks show up and speak" for or against a given issue win their case even if the use is not the best for a given location.
Is this what happened with a majority of Council voting to change zoning to allow Tattoo Parlors as an allowable use in Pleasure Island Plaza in our Highway Business district? We have a future business owner happy with a majority Council decision and numerous business owners unhappy as was expressed at our 1/16/13 Council meeting plus numerous other citizens not fans of Tattoo Parlors in C.B. yet to speak. Almost from the start of the public hearing it was obvious that the Tattoo Parlor issue before Council was clearly in favor of the applicant.
Where would this applicant be if Council had denied his request for rezoning? Probably owning property useless to his Tattooing venture.
Had Council taken P&Z's lead instead of promoters of tattooing we may not have Tattoo Parlors as an allowable use in Pleasure Island Plaza. I heard many things about the applicant but this deal was not about him but other business owners in Pleasure Island Plaza.
Council members need to explain why they failed to protect numerous business owners who owned property in this Plaza long before a Tattoo Artist wanting to open up shop and a few supporters of tattooing came to C.B. Have a good day.
D.A. Lewis
Carolina Beach, NC