Long-Winded Debate

I will be interested to see how this approach works for this park system. As the old saying goes, “You can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.” I wonder if anyone has ever attempted a study to see if that’s accurate. At any rate, nice methods are usually better than unkind methods to encourage people to do things.

Will this kinder, gentler way be effective? I think it has at least as good a chance of working as the opposite end of the spectrum, which is to establish a law that then has to be enforced.

I think enforcement has always been the fly in the ointment in creating this type of law. It’s difficult for signage to legislate common sense, and it’s more difficult for law enforcement to catch someone in the act. I would like to believe that people who smoke in crowds and especially around children are in a minority and that most people would not do it. If there is a lapse of attention, a “Young Lungs At Play” sign may jar smokers back to a safe distance from a play area.

The type of person who habitually smokes around people who don’t appreciate it probably won’t pay attention to a sign — whether it’s suggestive or directive. Normally, people around the smoker will apply peer pressure and “ask” him or her to stop. If this doesn’t work, the problem can become really ugly, really fast. By the time police arrive, the charges may go beyond just smoking in a no-smoking zone to possible assault and battery.

So I’ll stay in touch with Woodhead and ask him to update me periodically on how the “Young Lungs” approach is working. If it seems to have positive results, I’d like to try it here. I hope there’s no franchise fee.

In the meantime, if anyone has any other thoughts or ideas on this subject, feel free to get in touch with me or the PRB staff.

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine, is Director of Leisure Services (parks, recreation, library) in Peachtree City, Ga. Contact him at (770) 631-2542 or e-mail dls@peachtree-city.org.

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Related posts:

  1. Smoke-Free Parks: Part Two
  2. Building A Case For Smoke-Free Parks
  3. A Healthy Debate
  4. Snuffing Out Smoking
  5. Get A Leg Up

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