A smoke-free outdoors?


Rep. Eliot Engel is trying again to ban smoking near federal buildings.

The New York Democrat unsuccessfully introduced a bill during the last Congress to ban smoking within 25 feet of any federal building’s entrances, exits, windows that can be opened and ventilation intakes. Engel reintroduced the bill Nov. 18 to correspond with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke Out smoking-cessation campaign.

The Surgeon General reported in 2006 that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. One step we can take in limiting such exposure is to free the entrances of buildings of the clouds of smoke often found when smokers gather outside of entrances and exits. The problem with this is simple – how else are people going to avoid secondhand smoke when the only ways in and out of a building is blocked by smoke?”

The bill would clarify various levels of guidance involving smoking near federal buildings. The General Services Agency banned smoking in courtyards and within 25 feet of doorways at GSA-controlled buildings, effective June 19, 2009.

A 1997 executive order banned smoking in all Executive Branch buildings, as well as all inside space owned, rented or leased by the Executive Branch.

What say you, feds? Is smoking an annoyance at your workplace? Or are you a smoker that would be annoyed by any new regulations?


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  1. Charles Beward on

    Smoking isn’t an annoyance at my workplace; what’s annoying is the mountain of lies put out about the health consequences of secondhand smoke. For example, “The Surgeon General reported in 2006 that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. ” That’s a lie. There was no such statement in the 2006 report the Surgeon General was reporting on at the time to indicate this “no safe level” canard. The Surgeon General lied; there’s no nice way to put it. Moreover, if secondhand smoke is such a menace, then why the following?

    Here’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, ANTI-SMOKING CRUSADER, world-class epidemiologist (Harvard/Yale), and president of the American Council on Science and Health, speaking for herself and her Council of 380 scientists at the time the New York City ban went into effect: “There is simply no convincing evidence linking secondhand smoke to lung cancer and heart disease.” “There is no evidence that any New Yorker — patron or employee — has even died as a result of exposure to smoke in a bar or restaurant.” And, “The link between secondhand smoke and premature death is a real stretch.” Moreover, 80 percent of the dozens of epidemiological studies made over the past quarter century show only a weak or statistically insignificant connection between secondhand smoke and either lung caner or heart disease.

    There’s no safe level? 25 feet from doorways because secondhand smoke is so toxic that just a whiff will affect your health? Does anybody with a brain really believe that nonsense? People should do their homework and not be duped by the propagandists in Tobacco Control.

  2. Deborah Broadus on

    What is annoying is the smell! Regardless of the health level claims, it down right STINKS! (there’s no nice way to put it).

    Personally, I don’t think most of us go though the trouble of taking a shower and putting on clean clothes planning to walk though a cloud of smoke, which in turn will cause us to smell of the stuff for the rest of the day after walking though a smoke cloud ONCE.

    Not to mention, when one has to walk though a cloud of it outside an eatery it has the ability to ruin appetites.

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