Lawmakers in Burlington, Vermont are trying — for a third time — to get smoking banned from the Church Street Marketplace: the city’s downtown shopping and dining venue.
The measure would ban smoking on the four-block strip 24 hours a day, including outside bars and restaurants. Smokeless tobacco (“chew”) and e-cigarettes would be exempt from the proposed ordinance. A similar proposal was snuffed out by the city’s previous mayor, who cited enforcement difficulties, and what he called “bad public policy.”
The mayor was correct. This type of harassment will only drive paying customers away from the downtown area, in search of other smoker-friendly venues. In this type of scenario, regulation (designated smoking areas) remains a viable option, but demonizing people exercising their still legal right to smoke is simply reprehensible and downright un-American.