edited title: It should be illegal to smoke on the street.
People should be free to walk the street without having to avoid offensive odors that are created purely for somebody else’s pleasure.
Smoking smells. When people walk on the street they cannot avoid having to smell a person’s smoke. If a person who is smoking is walking in front of another person, the other person cannot avoid getting the smell of smoke in her clothes and hair.
While not all smokers litter, enough do that cigarette butts are one of the most common forms of litter.
Smoking on the street is worse than smoking in bars or restaurants. People can choose to only go to non-smoking restaurants, but they do not have a meaningful choice about using the streets.
Then it should be illegal to drive on the streets, fart on the streets, and many other activities. Strangely, I think it is more fair to ban smoking on the streets than in a private establishment. But all such blanket bans are bad laws.
Non-smokers are always such incredible whiners. Really, is it that traumatic for you to smell smoke? What do you do when you pass by a factory, or a sewer grate, or heaven forbid…a massive diesel engine?
There are bad smells everywhere and you can’t go around banning all of them–or all of the people omitting them. Can I ban people who wear waayyy too much cologne? I think it should be illegal as many are allergic to the various ingredients. Let me guess…you’re one of those people that wears way to much perfume?
If smells from walking down a public street (anyone’s smell) bothers you that much, wear a surgical mask and coat the inside with menthol. That should solve the problem. Carbon monoxide, smoke, contaminents in general…aren’t going anywhere. We ALL have to live with them. You can too. We are all putting up with the same shit.
If it could be shown that people exposed to normal levels of “street smoke” suffer measurable, adverse health issues, then I would agree. Otherwise, no.
Although, as a democracy, we are certainly free to regulate any activity that takes place in public. If the people wish it so, it should be so. Assuming this would be legislation at the state level in the US, as I don’t think the feds have the constitutional authority to do so. I wouldn’t vote for a ban, but that doesn’t mean I think others should be unable to vote for one.
Cars are tools, useful devices while tobacco is just a form of self destructive entertainment; and cars don’t smell anywhere near as bad. If cars magically all vanished overnight we’d be crippled as a society; if tobacco vanished the addicted would be unhappy, but they’d be just as mobile as ever.
In other words, cars and tobacco don’t compare at all well.
The OP’s view is unfair to smokers. As Chessic Sense said, deal with it. There are more important non-smoking location battles worth fighting. As to the litter issue, there are already existing laws which should enforced. One I really like is smoker butts generally contain toxic substances. Go after smoker litter for littering and illegal disposal of toxic substances.