Think About It: Blowing Smoke - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

December 10, 2012

Think About It: Blowing Smoke

As some people continue to debate whether or not a smoking ban on local beaches is an affront to individual liberties, keep this startling fact in mind. According to a story last year by Huffington Post writer Loren Berlin, "the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the standard-setting organization representing the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, calculated in the 1980s that roughly 60% to 80% of all of the health care expenses incurred in the United States were attributable to things that people could potentially control, such as failing to wear a seat belt, engaging in unsafe sex, ingesting drugs or alcohol, driving drunk, overeating or under-exercising, and smoking." 

And guess who pays for those transgressions? …everyone who has health  and auto insurance. Sure, everyone has their vices, but when people's actions affect those who simply breathe the air around them or choose to sit on the public beaches that are a big part of our local lifestyle and tourism lifeblood, then maybe common sense says it's time to ban the burnt butts from the beaches.

One could falsely argue that making people hand over their keys when they drink or forcing people to wear a seat belt are also examples of "the man" trying to come down on us like Big Brother, but that would be a stupid, vacuous argument. Smoking costs everybody, its remnants pollute, and it's addictive. Cutting back on smoking freedoms on beaches, not in beach parking lots, mind you, seems a small price to pay and might just help some people already frustrated by smoking laws kick a nasty habit. And that's a winner. Think about it…

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