The smoker-friendly world is getting a little smaller, with a recommendation to ban smoking in a Woodbury city park and within 100 feet of all playgrounds and beaches.
Not everyone in Woodbury is happy with the proposed ban.
"Smoking outdoors is not going to hurt anyone, for God's sake," snapped Bob Halfpenny, a Woodbury resident and vice-president of Minnesotans Against Smoking Bans. "What a stupid thing this is."
The new city rules would match those of Washington County: no smoking within 100 feet of playgrounds, athletic fields or swimming areas.
The fine for smoking in affected areas would be $25.
Halfpenny said the rule would be a headache for police, who would have to determine such things as a smoker's distance from a playground and the precise boundaries of a swimming area.
"Don't they have other things to worry about other than smoking in a park?" he said. "It's a step in the wrong direction."
A report to the council said Woodbury joins 119 other Minnesota cities in banning smoking in some outdoor areas. Many — including Hastings, Eden Prairie, Maplewood and North St. Paul — ban smoking in all city parks. Gridley said they are not going that far.
Still, it's another step in an anti-smoking movement that annoys Kenn Rockler, director of the Tavern League of Minnesota, who argues that bars and restaurants are hurt by smoking bans.
"This has nothing to do with secondhand smoke," said Rockler. "They should just come out and say this is a war on smoking. It is the deception that drives me crazy.
"Do they actually think they can legislate to keep kids from smoking? Have they heard of the forbidden fruit
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I think the only reason smoking has not already been outlawed is because government is so addicted to the revenue it receives from tobacco.