Controversial Anti-smoking Ordinance is Introduced in Wyoming

Prohibiting lighting up Conwell Park, a proposal that was introduced to the Casper City Council by the Administration of the Wyoming Medical Center, is not a rather wise move. First, it is almost impossible to enforce.

Moreover, is it indeed so necessary to make the local police department spend time in the park and checking whether people are flouting anti-smoking laws, so they are able to ticket the offenders? Or maybe it would be more wise, if the police officers focused on detaining real criminals.

The medical center banned smoking in July, what was a reasonable move for an institution that deals with treating people. Bearing in mind the health complications associated with smoking, the ban should improve the quality of life of patients and staff of the hospital.

At the same time, the ordinance obliged WMC employees who light up, cross the street and puff near Conwell Park, where cigarette butts can be found practically everywhere.

Michael Smith, spokesman for WMC declared that there are two major problems related to smoking in the Park. The first one is littering, and the second is the necessity to reduce the smoking rates among the employees of the hospital and patients. For hospital administration the second issue seems to be more important than the first one.

However, City Councilors have another opinion. Cleaning up cigarette butts from the streets is the responsibility of the city, because the park belongs to the city. When the hospital-wide ordinance was implemented, it resulted in a rise of cigarette litter level across the park and added some headache for city crews. So, council members said the hospital should rather clean the public park, instead of requesting the city to amend current legislation.

The ban on smoking in the city park was initially passed by a 5-4 vote. However, in order to be implemented into law, the ordinance should be approved in several more readings at the next council meeting. So, there is still time to turn this ridiculous measure down. It is too excessive for our democratic society.

Well, I definitely do not back smoking. It is a nasty habit that should disappear from our lives, but it is still a legal activity, and it means that we should respect the rights of smokers, the same as they respect our rights and don’t smoke in enclosed public places. It seems that those from WMC have forgotten that smoking is an addiction and it should be treated, instead of banning it and torturing people.

The city has the anti-littering regulation in place, with particular provision that prohibits discarding cigarette butts on the streets. So, instead of imposing new rules, it would be much better to enforce the existing ones.

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