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By JIM DOWNEY, Dana Point
As usual, three Dana Point city councilmen took the easy way out to address a problem by using the hammer without any consideration of the impact on many of their constituents—not just smokers, but bar, restaurant, coffee shop and other businesses that will be affected by the reduced number of customers. Had they taken the time to look around and see how other more enlightened and considerate countries and cities have addressed the issue of smoking perhaps they could have devised a better solution. Many countries have followed the example of Japan. Twenty years ago, Japan enacted and enforced very stiff fines for anyone that deposited a cigarette butt on the street. The result was that all smokers carried pocket butt containers, a practice I adopted many years ago. I wonder how many, if any, tickets have been issued for littering when a person disposes of their butt on the street? Why not attack the persons that are the problem rather than all of us considerate smokers?
Ten years ago, Japan banned smoking in any public areas including streets in busy shopping or tourist areas. But being considerate of other people and especially foreign tourists, Japan also set up many enclosed, outdoor, controlled smoking areas all around the cities and tourist areas. Japan also allowed restaurants and bars to set up enclosed ventilated areas within their premises and on their property outdoors. Why can’t Dana Point councilmen take a considerate and enlightened approach and do this? Their present approach will have an impact on businesses in Dana Point.
I for one will not visit a restaurant or bar in Dana Point again until the situation is corrected. I also have volunteered to work at the many functions in Dana Point for many years. This will end. And I will be sure to vote for anyone that challenges these three inconsiderate councilmen in the next election. I believe many other smokers and business owners will follow suit.