Smithtown Town officials' decision to ban smoking in town-owned parks and beaches has re-ignited a hot debate.
In the past week since Smithtown Town Board voted unanimously to approve a law that makes it illegal to light up at town parks and beaches, we've received a steady flow of comments with reactions from local residents.
Non-smokers were quick to chime in, stating they were grateful for the ban so they would no longer have to deal with breathing in second-hand smoke or picking up cigarette butts carelessly thrown on the ground.
Some residents scoffed at the new law, calling it "unenforcable" and wondering how public officials could force people to stop smoking outdoors.
Others were outright enraged at what they called elected officials taking away "rights" or a "freedom" they felt is theirs.
And here are a few of the comments we received on the site. Got an opinion of your own? Weigh in below:
" As a Commack resident, a parent of 2 young kids and the Vice President of Public Policy & Communications for the American Lung Association of the Northeast, I am very excited that Smithtown has decided to make its parks and beaches -. I look forward to bringing my kids to Hoyt Farm and other town parks without the fear of exposing them to secondhand smoke. For residents with asthma and other lung disease, simply walking through a cloud of secondhand smoke could be enough to trigger an asthma attack and a trip to the emergency room. Thanks to Supervisor Vecchio and the Town Council for giving us healthier parks to play in."
"Yet another unenforceable law."
"Agreed ... next comes the tax increase to pay for more public safety officers to enforce the ban. Just another example of our freedoms being taken away one by one. While we're at it, let's ban drinking soda and eating bags of chips on the beach. I see more empty cans of Coke and bags of Doritos on the beach every weekend than cigarette butts."
"I'm not going to play the 'rights' card. We weren't granted the right to smoke cigarettes wherever we want. FREEDOMS is the correct word, not rights. I really wish we were capable of balancing personal freedoms with good manners and common courtesy. Full disclosure - I am a smoker, and I never felt comfortable lighting up around people that weren't. Having said that, unavoidable instances do happen. Of course I would stop if someone asked me, but I think smokers and non-smokers need to quit being so ignorant with each other and just have some common courtesy - both ways! Why can't someone ask me to stop or move when I want to have a smoke if they are bothered by it? And why does a smoker feel the need to be obnoxious enough to light up 5 feet away from others? The fact that it has come to this is just an example of how impersonal we've become."
"Glad I don't live in this Bloombergy nanny state out in the sticks! Smoke em if you got em, I'll travel around, not through Smithtown."
"Fine law if it's enforceable. Don't know how many police you would need to walk the beaches and parks."
"I agree that rights should not be taken away. Noone took the right to smoke away. One can do it at home , in their car and such environments. By the same taken the rights of others should not be infringed upon. I gave up smoking over 40 years ago and am a victim of the benefits for stopping. I am 81 and feel goog. Clear lungs are a blessing. My advice to all smokers, stop! I lost a brotherin law to lung cancer and he had lost his sister, brothers and niece who all smoked. I can no long be in the presence of smokers due to the noxious fumes of the habit. My father passed away at the age of 77 due to heart failure and was told to stop smoking but he did not. A few more years of life is a blessing anyone would pray for especially those who were not smokers but sucomed to lung cancer due to second hand smoke. I ask any smoker, what would you rather have, that butt or more life?"
"Really sorry to hear that it passed. I'm a former smoker and can't stand the smell of smoke anymore. But I truly believe that all our rights are slowly being taken away. What's next. We can't eat trans fats in NYC. We can't eat salt and we have to breast feed our children. What kind of country are we turning into. All I can say is I'm so glad that Obama didn't pick Bloomberg as his running VP. We are turning into a gestapo state and God help us all."