I covered a story last week describing the tobacco restriction pleas of three Chickasha women at a city council work session.
For those of you who weren’t able to catch the story, the mission of the three ladies, who represented Tobacco Free Grady County, was for the city government to pass an ordinance mirroring that of the state government. This would require tobacco users to smoke or dip at least 15 to 25 feet away from public spaces — including parks, restaurants or city offices.
I was positive all would admire the efforts these ladies put forth — efforts of ensuring better air quality for our children, efforts that included the attempt to educate individuals on the harmful affects of tobacco — but I couldn’t be more wrong.
Comments, one by one, questioning the lives and time management of the women began rolling in. The restriction requests were deemed as a threat to the freedom and liberties of smokers, instead of an equalizing remedy for nonsmokers who also enjoy the atmosphere of public places.
Everyone needs to understand a restriction is merely a limitation, not a ban. No one is pulling Malboro cigarettes or Red Man snuff from the shelves. No one is dictating the time of day you are allowed to use these products.
The tobacco-free ordinance can only better the Chickasha community. Children in parks, a place where exercise and healthy lifestyle are promoted, can run and jump and play without ever developing the idea that smoking like the grown-ups is cool. Those of all ages who have made the choice not to smoke will no longer have to be subject to risky environments — as studies have proven that second-hand smoking is more harmful than first-hand smoking.
Oklahoma has long been behind in the battle against tobacco, and Grady County exceeds the state average in numbers of smokers. Restrictions on tobacco will make the city a healthier environment, attracting additional, progressive community members.
Make no mistake; passing this ordinance is a step in the right direction for everyone in Chickasha.