Proposed Beach Smoking Ban Canned

Nothing says “summer” like spending a sunny day at the beach—catching some rays, hitting the water, maybe a nice picnic lunch, smoke a few butts. Wait, what about butts? Gross—why would you want to smoke at the beach? You got me, but apparently people do want to do that. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department recently considered banning smoking on all 362 miles of Oregon beach, which would have been great. For now, though, the measure has been tabled and all you chimneys can keep on smoking in the sand.

Public Health & Safety Concerns

Public opposition (seriously, who are you weirdos?), as well as the fact that enforcing such a ban would be really, really hard, led the Parks and Rec Department to abandon the plan, setting it aside for two years. Instead, a focus on educational efforts to reduce trash on beaches will be enacted. Because, for some reason, you savages need to be educated about not throwing garbage all over the place.

The proposed smoking ban was first proposed in February, as a way to reduce second hand smoke and litter that can harm the ecosystem of our fine state’s beaches. The idea was sparked by a 2012 executive order from the governor’s office to reduce public exposure to second hand smoke, even outdoors. To that end, the seven-member Parks and Recreation Department Commission banned smoking in all outdoor areas within state parks. The rule goes into effect on 1 January 2015.

A couple of these should do the trick.

A couple of these bad boys should do the trick.

Not “A Slam Dunk”

Oregon Parks and Recreation spokesman Chris Havel says that similar objectives can potentially be met without an outright ban on lighting up.

“If we can accomplish those goals without a rule that would be difficult to enforce, we should try that first,” said Havel, who is clearly content to take a path-of-least-resistance approach to his public service. “This doesn’t mean we’ll never consider making it a rule, but we’re going to see how much headway we can make with education first, and hopefully, that will be enough.” I’ll bet you a dollar it won’t be, because people are dummies.

The state park smoking ban was roundly supported by the good people of Oregon. However, there was considerably more rabble roused about the beach ban, said Havel. Roughly 178 comments in favor of the smoking ban were received via email, snail mail, and at a series of four public hearings throughout the summer; 165 comments against the ban were received. Pretty sure 178 is more than 165, but it must be too difficult to go with a simple majority these days, eh?

“It wasn’t a [pro smoking ban] slam dunk by any means,” Havel stated. “The message we got from the public was to be more careful and consider alternatives before putting a new rule on the books.”

Instead, signs that emphasize picking up trash and more “cigarette friendly” trash receptacles will be added to beach areas, and literature will be added to agency websites and publication. Because if there’s anything that people respect, it’s signs, garbage cans, and unsolicited literature.

“We’re looking to produce the greatest benefit with the [least] amount of resources,” said Havel the slacker. “There’s no guarantee education will work, but it’s better to try and maybe get 90 percent of what we’re looking for than [to] put something in writing that ends up being unnecessary.”

If these lesser measures accomplish 90 percent of what the Parks and Rec department were hoping to, I’ll eat my hat. My delicious beef jerky-flavored hat.

Photo credit: guitarfish / Foter / CC BY-NC