How long until the smoker's plight becomes yours? - Metro US

How long until the smoker’s plight becomes yours?

Once the Vancouver park board’s ban on smoking in its 200 parks and 18 beaches goes into effect Sept. 1, the only place left to smoke will be the back alley. How long before those are declared off limits to protect dumpster divers from the toxic effects of second-hand smoke?

Smokers already look haunted and furtive. After Sept.1, they become outdoor public enemy No. 1, rivalled only by those sociopaths who fail to clean up after their dogs.

We know who you are — and we’re coming to get you.

Maybe it’s time to set up safe smoking sites so nicotine addicts can get their fix without fear of being apprehended by the long arm of the law, which grows longer by the day.

Meanwhile, they should be careful to smoke only on the lawn of the art gallery, where apparently anything goes, if Tuesday’s 4-20 pot smoke-in is any indication.

Of course, it’s difficult to feel sorry for you last gaspers. For years, you have treated the beaches as if they were merely larger versions of those big sand-filled ashtrays that used to be common fixtures around elevator and theatre lobbies. And you’re right up there with pyromaniacs and lightning when it comes to starting urban brush fires.

However, we are very conflicted when it comes to our addicts. For decades, children were indoctrinated by the tobacco and advertising industries to see smoking as cool. Now it’s cool to turn your mother in to the authorities if she dares to smoke in the car while she’s driving you to school.

If you’re a heroin addict, the authorities are concerned but sympathetic; if you’re a tobacco addict, tough. Stop whining and go cold turkey. We’re too busy promoting the latest trendy addiction — gambling.

You have to wonder if the police have enough personnel to enforce all these bans. At this minute, hardened criminals across Canada are heading to Vancouver where the cops are too busy busting hardcore cellphone violators or posing as undercover nicotine narcs to bother with burglars, murderers and extortionists.

It’s difficult to identify the lesser of two evils: The current mélange of second-hand smoke and cigarette butts; or the current mania to ban anything remotely annoying. I’m tempted to cast my lot with Joe Camel and the boys, but fresh air and clean beaches sound pretty nice, too.

Still, it’s just a matter of time before they come for me. If they ever ban pizza all dressed to go because of its contribution to obesity, that’s when I’ll take a stand.

Some things are just sacred.

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