The notorious Berkeley City Council has been busy. Last night, it moved forward a ban on smoking outside! People caught lighting up on commercially zoned sidewalks will face a $100 fine.
One Berkeley smoker told a local news station:
Out on the sidewalk, you're sucking up more exhaust walking on this street than cigarette smoke. So do we want to go to all electric cars? It's like how invasive is the city of Berkeley going to get into my life?
Really Berkeley, banning smoking outside? I wouldn't be surprised if Berkeley soon outlaws cigarettes all together. Is this law taking the rights of nonsmokers too far? Will more people quit? I wonder how the fine will be imposed on all the homeless people in Berkeley, many of whom smoke on the downtown sidewalks.
On the other side of the country, New York City's crackdown on smoking may have had an unexpected result. The city has gained 10 million pounds since it cut back the right to smoke.
Some call Berkeley's sidewalk ban a free way to improve air quality and lung health, but is there a price to freedom?