Latest city move to limit smoking is bridge much too far

Some years ago, the city of Marquette joined an ever-increasing number of local municipalities in the state of Michigan and indeed, across the country, in limiting where people can and cannot light up tobacco products.

With the realization that smoking is bad thing, it’s become harder and harder for smokers to find places to puff (that aren’t on their personal property).

Over the years, we’ve supported these initiatives, even when bar and restaurant owners were screaming that smoking bans would tank their businesses. Our support was grounded in the secure knowledge that there is no upside to tobacco use. It’s pretty well settled science that if you use tobacco, it will adversely impact your health, at some point.

It may even kill you.

So now, with all of that and more as a backdrop, the Marquette City Commission has punched up its ordinance structure even more, prohibiting smoking within city-owned parks, beaches and playgrounds.

The panel unanimously approved the ordinance tweak last week.

While we once again join commissioners and others in opposing smoking, this latest move has us scratching our collective heads a bit.

In terms of enforcement, who’s going to do it? How will it happen?

Of course, all eyes will move to the Marquette Police Department but we have a hard time imagining that this agency, which is already run ragged, is going to have resources to cite people for lighting up a Marlboro at Shiras Park.

City Police Chief Blake Rieboldt noted publicly that MPD officers are not going to hide out in the bushes, looking for smokers.

“We’ll work with staff to formulate ways in which we think enforcement will be good. Obviously education, and kind of an easy, soft opening so to speak would be our main goal right now,” he said. “Should violations occur and the individuals aren’t listening to reason, then enforcement would be an option, but we don’t have that right now.”

Again, we support the city commission’s effort’s as far as smoking is concerned. They’ve hauled a lot of water on this issue over the years,

But we think that this particular move borders on overreach. It’s not enforceable by any means we can see.


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