I was very excited about that went into effect on the first of this year. Personally, I am highly sensitive to cigarette and cigar smoke — my eyes water, my throat is scratchy, and my nose burns — but it is a proven fact that that smoke causes more than just physical annoyances.
Anyone in my generation already knows how dangerous cigarette smoking is. We all grew up with the commercial of the lady smoking through the hole left in her throat from sugery to remove throat cancer — but, I saw it first hand. I grew up working in my parents' pulmonology practice where I saw the effects of cigarette smoking: heart disease, cancer, emphysema...just to name a few.
But, it wasn't always the cigarette smoker who ended up coming in for treatment. Second-hand smoke is just as dangerous. We even saw the effects in our own family — my mother who grew up in a smoking household was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor that has been stongly linked to secondhand smoke (she's healthy now).
That's why when I became pregnant I became even more anti-smoking than I had been before. Now, not only am I forced to inhale someone else's smoke, my child is too. I have never been passive about secondhand smoke. If I'm around smokers I might cough, cover my nose, or I might educate you about just what it is doing to both of our lungs, hearts and other organs. When the new smoking ordinance passed I was looking forward to not having to do any of that when I walked down Park Street. Unfortunately, not much has changed.
I am still passing by smokers on the sidewalk or during street festivals regularly. In order for laws like this to be effective, the public needs to know about them, and unfortunately not everyone in town reads the Patch. When the smoking ban in restaurants passed in California there was a public education campaign with billboards and commercials. The City of Alameda doesn't have that kind of money (and I'm not sure if there are even any billboards in town), but there are some simple ways already in effect that educate the public about other ordinances that would be easy to piggy back on.
The "revitalization" of Park Street recently included stenciling the sidewalk "NO BIKES OR SKATES." Not allowing skates or bicycles on the sidewalk is also an ordinance that we have educated the public about. How hard would it be to add "OR SMOKING" to the stencil?