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New Signs Discourage Smoking in County Parks

by ARLnow.com — November 8, 2011 at 11:16 am 3,229 195 Comments

As part of its new “Smoke-Free Parks Initiative,” Arlington County has placed ‘no smoking’ signs in more than a dozen county parks.

But while many government signs convey a law — a ‘no littering’ sign, for instance — the new signs have the word “Please” above “No [Smoking],” since Arlington doesn’t actually have the authority to outlaw smoking in parks. Rather than a ban, Arlington is simply asking smokers to voluntarily refrain from smoking within 50 feet of playgrounds, courts, ball fields, pavilions, recreation areas and other “areas of congregation.”

“To the extent possible, it is important for the County to take action to prevent park patrons’ exposure to this dangerous health hazard,” Arlington County explains on its website. “Children may be especially vulnerable, which is why the Smoke-Free Parks Initiative is specifically targeting areas where children congregate.”

To help spur public awareness of the new initiative, the Arlington parks and recreation department is encouraging Facebook fans to post photos of themselves giving a thumbs up in front of the signs. County Board members Mary Hynes, Walter Tejada and Chris Zimmerman are leading by example by being the first to flash a big thumbs up next to the signs (above).

The parks department will also be holding a “Smoke-Free Parks Kickoff” event at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 in Bon Air Park (850 N. Lexington Street). The event is being held in conjunction with the Great American Smokeout.

Currently, the ‘no smoking’ signs are in place at the following parks: Bluemont, Bon Air, Quincy, Barcroft, Virginia Highlands, Long Bridge and Big Walnut, Chestnut Hills, Ft. C.F. Smith, Tuckahoe, Westover, Fields and Lubber Run. More signs are on the way, we’re told.

  • JimPB

    OK — a low cost way to engage the community in fostering a “no smoking” norm.

    —–

    Proposal for action: more jiffy johns would be most welcome for when the urge requires expression.

  • novasteve

    Trying to claim that smoking outdoors poses a health risk, shows how dishonest the anti smoking zealots are. The risks of car exhaust are vastly worse. If it merely smelling bad, being annoying is enough to want ot ban something, do we all get to ban things that annoy us?

    • Zoning Victim

      I’ve never understood this line of reasoning: smoking isn’t bad for you… the risks of huffing car exhaust are much worse. Right, so is radon, nerve and mustard gas, asbestos, nuclear fallout, and etcetera; none of that can mitigate the fact that if you can smell the secondhand smoke, it’s damaging your lungs. I, too, am against banning smoking outdoors or in all bars and public places, but claiming that striking up a stogie in a crowded park can’t possibly be a health risk to anyone runs counter to common sense.

      • novasteve

        The risks from breathing in someone’s smoke outdoors are so negligable that anyone with a reputation that they care of would never claim it’s a substantial risk. There’s no other way than to point out how miniscule it is. You have more to fear from the sunlight that’s illuminating your playing field, a lot more to fear.

    • drax

      You can’t drive your car onto a ball field either, steve.

      • novasteve

        YOu can breath in exhaust from the street while on the field, which is far worse than you from breathing in smoke outdoors from soemone 1 foot away from you.

        • drax

          No, I don’t think that’s worse.

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    I want to photograph someone smoking a hugh cigar next to this sign and then send it in to Jay Leno.

    • NorthArlingTim

      I’ll get my mom. Unless it’s a big red circle crossing out a lit cigarette, she just tells me in German “I don’t read English”.

      • NorthArlingTim

        I’m sure she’d be happy to stand next to it with a cigarette in one hand and a big glass of vodka in the other. I’ll join her. Anyone?

  • Westover Leftover

    Let me know when the Smoke In starts!

  • novasteve

    I normally smoke only when I drinkbut I’ll take a picture of my self smoking in front of the sign. You control freaks.

  • CrystalMikey

    Paging NovaSteve. LOL

  • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

    Approve.

  • Jeff

    Ridiculous. Being trapped in a building is one thing but there is plenty of space and air for both smokers and non-smokers in a park. This county is going over the bend on this one. (And I don’t smoke.)

    • novasteve

      They are liberal nanny state control freaks. What do you expect? What happens when people like me get to ban everything that annoys us?

      • drax

        Whereas there are no conservative control freaks whatsoever.

        • novasteve

          I never said that. I just said they are fewer and don’t ban or mandate remotely as many things as liberals do. Liberals are far worse at this. If conservatives do it, it impacts a small minority. If liberals do it, it impacts much larger groups of people and more of their lives.

          • Henry

            Approximately 11.7 million Americans openly identify as LGBT, just sayin’.

            [http://wiwp.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Gates-How-Many-People-LGBT-Apr-2011.pdf]

          • porkchop_milkshake

            That’s not a very good line of argument for you to embrace. 43.4 million Americans smoke.

            http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5745a2.htm

            Just sayin’.

          • Henry

            I never said that a ban on smoking would be at all good–and we need to remember that this is NOT a ban on smoking. This was merely a response to his assertion that “If conservatives do it, it impacts a small minority”.

            Nobody should have their life decisions made by the government, but we need to remember that pointing fingers and saying that “group A is worse than group B” does no good, especially in the context in which Steve did so.

          • porkchop_milkshake

            I think you misunderstand me. I don’t give a s— about a ban on smoking, and I think the signs in the parks are good.

            You responded to his assertion that “If conservatives do it, it impacts a small minority” by mentioning that there are 11.7M LGBT americans. So, by your own count, conservatives are harming 11.7M people by discriminating against them. I was just pointing out that his complaint is that liberals are discriminating against smokers. Which are, according to the CDC, 43.4M americans. So you’re actually supporting his notion that liberals impose on more people than conservatives.

            I personally feel that the wingnuts are attempting to control more important aspects of our lives than the pinkos, as I pointed out in my post below. But your comment does not refute steve’s notion that liberals want to control more people than conservatives. He’s wrong; there’s no doubt about that. But your comment does more to prove his point than to disprove it, since his point was given in terms of the number of people impacted and yours replied on the same terms.

            I’m saying that the terms of that argument are specious and you would be better served by not embracing them.

          • S

            This will also not get much sympathy from novasteve. He has several posts peppered throughout the site that seem like thinly veiled jabs at homosexuals.

          • porkchop_milkshake

            Conservatives have banned oral sex in Virginia.

            They’ve restricted the ability of medical clinics to provide legal procedures to adult women. They’ve altered the law to facilitate zealots who want to restrict access to hormonal birth control based on instructions they’ve received from their invisible sky friends.

            Being told what I can do in my bedroom or how I can plan my family restricts more of my life than:
            - being banned from smoking in places of business
            - being limited to 20 rounds in my magazine
            - being forced to wear my seatbelt as a condition of operating a motor vehicle
            to pick a few favorites.

            And, really, to get all worked up into a lather over a few signs that request, without force of law, that I step away from a playground or ballfield while I smoke would just be absurd.

          • drax

            Great post.

      • Just the Facts

        If asking folks to please not smoke in areas populated by kids = “liberal nanny state control freaks” then what in God’s name do you label officials who want to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies?!?

        I love how conservatives/Republicans/libertarians/whatever are so ready to label government efforts they hate as infringements on their rights while at the very same time supporting much more intrusive government regulations they agree with.

        F’ing hypocrites!!!

        • ARLwow

          Actually, if you looked into what libertarians stand for, they would also agree that women can do what they want with their bodies. They favor limited government, including in such personal matters. Before you call an entire group of people “f’ing hypocrites,” it would serve you well to do some research.

          • Just the Facts

            Except that most “libertarians” in America today are only for hands-off government when it’s something they agree with. Which is why I threw the “whatever” in my first post. I knew if I wasn’t as broad as possible someone would nitpick that aspect of the post….oh well!

  • Michelle

    I go running through the park in Pentagon City every day and have never seen anyone smoking either before the sign up or since it’s presence.

    Who cares. It doesn’t bother me but as a former smoker, I can say I am in much better shape since I dropped the habit.

    • novasteve

      I would never have even considered smoking while out exercising, in fact I don’t smoke unless I am drinking, but now just to get back at these control freaks, I might just start doing that.

      • Relax

        I don’t think Michelle is saying she (or anyone else) would smoke while exercising. As a runner, it is a pretty unpleasant experience to have someone else’s cigarette smoke in your face while you’re trying to do something good for your body. If you want to smoke, that is your right to do so. But if you’re in a public area where it’s affecting innocent bystanders, I don’t think it’s terrible for a sign to make a simple request.

        The sign isn’t banning you from smoking, it’s just asking that you reconsider smoking in areas where non-smokers have to inhale the byproduct of someone else’s habit. I’m okay with the request. I feel like most parents would probably agree that they’d like to avoid exposing their children to secondhand smoke while they’re playing in a park, no?

        While you might not think that secondhand smoke has negative health implications, there are also studies that indicate the opposite. And from personal experience, as a non-smoker, if I’ve been exposed to cigarette smoke, my lungs and throat definitely feel it the next day.

        • novasteve

          What about the cars driving by the parks? That actually does pollute the air, unlike smoke. Should they have signs up asking drivers to be considerate and not drive near parks?

          If you bothered to look at the recent statistics, even factoring out “second hand smoke”, 20% of lung cancers are in people who have never been smokers, and aren’t exposed to smoke, and the cause besides genetics is environmental pollutants, like the ones you breath indoors and outdoors.

          http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/28/us-air-pollution-idUSTRE79R5NM20111028

          I’d be a LOT more worried about things OTHER than smoke. But if you think persecuting smokers will make you live forever, free to live your lie.

      • Michelle

        Yes, please do so, Steve. I encourage you to keep smoking!! Smoke away, dude. Because by killing yourself with cigarettes is the way to “stick it to man.” You rock.

        • Zoning Victim

          Haha, best post of the day!

        • novasteve

          Are you going to live forever Michelle now that you quit smoking? If so, I hope you don’t plan on retiring becaues that would be very unfair to the taxpayer to pay for maintaining you doing your immortal life. If you think the finances of this country are bad now, wait in the future when people routinely live into their 90s…

  • hedges benson

    i think i’ll post pic to facebook using alternate metacarpal ;-)

  • frustrate the addiction

    New York’s anti-smoking campaign has resulted in a 35% decrease in the number of people who smoke

    http://theuptowner.org/2011/10/24/bloomberg-smoking-ban-uptown-locals-skeptical-about-new-statistics/

    • novasteve

      So when do we start banning things that fatties enjoy given they are the biggest health concern and cost?

      • frustrate the addiction

        nicotine is an addictive drug with no benefits, so it’s easy to ban

      • drax

        New York banned trans fats too!

      • chipotle_addict

        I’m okay with this as long as they don’t ban burritos.

  • RightWingWhacki

    This is stupid.
    So is smoking but this is even dumber.

  • SomeGuy

    ArlNow,
    Any word on the cost of installing these signs? County labor + materials would be good, as I’m sure the incidentals aren’t explicitly accounted for.

    • Elle Kasey

      Where did the funding come from to make and post signs for a non-law? I’m just curious because I’ve read articles here and tons of comments on the difficulty and expense of getting signs placed or replaced once stolen.

      It’s also kind of weird to me that the county could presumably ban children from dog parks (as a discussion went this summer) but can’t ban smoking in parks. Do I live in Bizzaroworld?

  • JamesE

    I am going to drive by these signs at 27 mph while smoking a cigar.

    • Tre

      and updating your facebook status while texting and talking on the phone

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        …and putting on makeup.

        • Lou

          and playing the rod hockey game I’m going to install on my dashboard.

          • Aaron

            There might even be a plastic bag somewhere in the car.

    • Zoning Victim

      I hope some idiot doesn’t jump out in front of you for speeding, haha.

  • novasteve

    You guys who think this is funny, what will you do when the nanny staters come after you?

    • drax

      The rightwing nannystaters are already after us, steve. They want to control our sex lives.

      • novasteve

        And what % of your life is your sex life? Is it fine that so long as your sex life isn’t controlled, which is 1% of your lifetime that you get to control the other 99%?

        • Henry

          It’s not a law, it’s a suggestion. Still goofy, but they’re not “controlling our lives”.

          Also, you’d find plenty who think that banning marriage to others of your own sex is a lot more “controlling” than not being able to smoke in parks. Neither should be done, but saying that controlling one’s “sex life” is fine because it’s a small percentage of their life is pretty nonsensical.

        • Elle Kasey

          It’s 77% of my life. Should I not have control over that 77%? What a peculiar argument! You don’t spend a lot of time having sex so you shouldn’t have control over it? We probably spend a smaller percentage of our lives voting, shall we cede control over that as well?

        • we are the 99%

          Ok, my sex life isn’t 99% of my life. But it is a substantial part, far greater than 1%. I’m sorry yours isn’t, Steve.

          • drax

            LOL!

        • drax

          Wow, if that’s not the lamest excuse. You’ve topped yourself.

          What % of your life is smoking, steve?

          Jeez, you’re pathetic.

  • Gizmo

    Stop trying to control every aspect of Arlington Life..UUGGHH

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    What an appropriate article for election day. Regardless of political party, vote out the people trying to overly control your life. They think they are immune. I don’t smoke and hate smoke and I think this is insane.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Amen, OB! Respecting others is one thing, but these neo-Puritans of both parties trying to control the lives of others (Pubs just as guilty as Dems, but in different areas) is out of control. One bunch over obsesses in trying to control what we eat and drink, where we smoke, when and where certain signs can and cannot be displayed; the other bunch obsesses in trying to control who believes what in their hearts of hearts, what they do or do not do with their genitalia behind closed doors, etc., etc. One bunch is just as bad as the other.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        Dead on, BM.

      • novasteve

        Liberals ban a lot more than conservatives do.

        • drax

          We should make two lists, Steve. You might not like what you learn.

          • Jack

            The only difference between the two parties is which of your civil liberties they want to take away.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            +10

          • drax

            Again, we should make some lists and see.

          • Zoning Victim

            I proposed that one time when a similar conversation was going, but it never made it on the board. I’d actually like to see the list.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Both liberals and conservatives are equally guilty when it comes to butinski neo-Purtian banning. One wants to overly interfere in what people can eat, drink, smoke or not smoke if, when, or where. The other wants to overly interfere in what people personally believe or do not believe in their heart of hearts religiously/non-religiously/whatever and what people do or not do behind closed doors with their genitalia as consenting adults. In my humble opinion, both need to stop butting into everyone else’s life.

    • Burger

      of course,

      Notice how RE assessments haven’t come out yet. those go out the week after the election…pretty convenient.

      • Whitney Wilson

        They come out in January. I don’t think it has anything to do with the election. The timing is set in order to give the County Board enough time to look at the assessed values so that it can set the real estate tax rate as part of the annual budgeting process in April ( I think).

        • Lou

          Kind of one in the same though, isn’t it? The budgeting process is scheduled as far away from election time as they can because no politician wants to be making tough budget calls around the time they are up for reelection.

    • Westover Leftover

      vote them all out.

    • Just the Facts

      Please, OB, gather your friends and like-minded Arlingtonians and vote them out! Oh wait, people of your ilk have tried that and get whupped on a regular basis.

      Regular wins of 70+% coupled with many candidates running unopposed = overwhelming community support.

      You may not like them, but the current County regime represents what the massive majority of the County wants.

      If you don’t like efforts like this soft anti-smoking campaign, you’re going to have to find another place to live. Arlington wants this and supports this. Sorry dude.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        Not the facts. The signs are stupid. Arlington doesn’t want it. The Arlington politicians do. If the politicians really wanted to see if Arlington wanted to ban smoking in parks it woud have been on today’s ballot.

        You are blinded by your political extremism. My comment was directed toward politicians who control, regardless of D or R by their name. Yet, your extremism naturally went on the defensive.

  • Matt

    I could’ve done without seeing Jose Tejada’s legs on my lunch break…

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Good one, Matt!

  • Pentagonian

    Seems like these signs could provide some nominal value if repositioned outside of popular bars or restaurants. I understand smokers need their fix, but is it really so hard to walk an extra 15 feet away from the entrance to a building? Sheesh.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I happen to smoke. I don’t smoke in parks and I have no problem making sure I’m plenty far away from building entrances. If I’m not sure I’ll be far enough away, I wait until I get home to light up. At least for now, Arlington does permit me to smoke on my house porch.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        BM, Arlington is working on a fire code ordnance to change that. You’ll now need an open-burn permit.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Burn, baby, burn!

        • NorthArlingTim

          My condo place keeps tossing around the idea of prohibiting us from smoking in our OWN condos. We have one cigar smoker that is definitely very stinky. So, because of one stinker, the board of directors wants to impose a smoking ban on 72 other units?

      • Pentagonian

        Bluemont, I appreciate your courtesy. All I’m saying is that, as a non-smoker, it’s frustrating running the Nicotine gauntlet in and out of buildings/restaurants/bars, etc. Wish other smokers would share your opinions and courtesy.

        As for the non-smoking in parks – that’s just ludicrous. Makes more sense for the signs to focus where people actually congregate, not in a wide-open area.

        • novasteve

          So why do you guys celebrate banning smoking indoors, then complain that you smell it outdoors? You would throw fits allowing bars for smokers only, yet you wouldn’t ever go in. Instead you complain about smelling smoke outdoors of it while you walk by.

          • Pentagonian

            Novasteve – I promote bars for smokers only (especially cigar bars). And I wouldn’t go in, because there are plenty of smoke-free bars/restaurants to choose from.
            Secondly, your rights end where my nose (and lungs) begin.

            If more smokers had the self-awareness and common decency to move a few feet farther away from building entrances, we wouldn’t need signs to remind them.

          • Zoning Victim

            Don’t blame the smokers; they congregate around the ashtrays, which is logical. Most establishments have ashtrays right at the entrance, so the smokers end up there. A little better planning on the part of bar managers to setup obvious smoking sections that are reasonably well accommodated for someone who will be outside for 10 minutes or so would work. Most smokers I know are polite and will go wherever the smoking section is setup if it’s obvious.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            I can agree, Zoning Victim. And moving ashtrays further outside entrances doesn’t bother me as a smoker. I try to make sure I know where the smoking section is or ask if it isn’t clear. I usually try to move a bit further away from any smoking area just to make sure I’m far enough away to avoid bothering someone.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            I don’t like banning smoking indoors, but I’ve accepted it. Most smokers I know don’t like walking through a cloud of smoke right at the entrance to a bar or restaurant, including me. I’m willing to respect non-smokers as long as I receive the same respect in turn.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          I fully understand, Pentagonian, and I also dislike running the gauntlet in and out of buildings, restaurants, bars, etc. I may be a cranky middle aged curmudgeon, but I try to treat others the way I’d want to be treated. Most of my friends are non-smokers, so when I’m around them I refrain or excuse myself and go outside. Never a problem between me and my friends. And I can have them over to my house because I smoke outside on the porch (my dad had asthma so I’ve always smoked on the porch and kept on doing so ever after he passed two years ago). You are right, the signs would make more sense in areas where people actually congregate, such as the tables and shelter areas in Bluemont, Bon Air, and other parks.

        • CrystalMikey

          I make a point of coughing every time I go through a “gauntlet”

      • drax

        Why don’t you smoke in parks?

        Is it inconsiderate?

        • Bluemontsince1961

          I don’t as a gesture of being considerate of others, if that is OK.

    • novasteve

      So they can get rained on becaues you don’t approve of smoking? Why not better have indoor smoking areas for them so you don’t have to smell their smoke at all? Oh wait, that wouldn’t be humiliating for them.

  • Chris M.

    Great, another opportunity for smug do-gooders to pass judgment on others just minding their business. What other campaigns can we come up with to make people feel like criminals?

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      They should post some pro-deodorant signs near athletic fields. The stench of some of these athletes who don’t wear deodorant is overwhelming and impacting the quality of my life. If I can’t smoke, they can’t stink.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Two years from now, posted in all ARL parks “Please be sure you apply deodorant to your nasty armpits before starting your athletic event. Your human sweat offends our sensitive olfactory sense.” I understand requests to keep at least a certain distance from entrances, etc., but this obsession with BOTH Dems and Pubs to control various aspects of people’s lives is out of control in this country.

      • Zoning Victim

        And post “Please Don’t Over-Perfume” signs anywhere fat old women work. Some of the women where I work are far more difficult to be around than smokers.

        • drax

          Now that’s a sign I could support.

          • TGEoA

            No fat chicks. I’m on board

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          LOL. They are probably flammable too. They should post no smoking signs on them!

        • Bluemontsince1961

          That’s the truth, Zoning Victim. A bit of perfume is attractive, sloshing it on like water is a whole other matter.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Ain’t that the truth, Chris!

  • Patty or Selma

    Can we enforce the law against off-leash pooches first, before we go trying to get people to stop doing things that are legal?

    I HATE cigarette smoke and support most smoking bans–but this is a bit much. OK, within 50 feet of a playground might make sense, but again–stop the loose-running, wantonly defecating canines first.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I agree, Patty or Selma.

    • John K.

      +100 for Patty or Selma!

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      Look, I don’t want your smoke to be inhaled by my dog when he’s taking a dump in the park.

  • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

    Oh, look, someone *asks* nicely that we be considerate of other people, and the ARLnow commenting population throws a fit. Gosh, I can’t imagine the kind of people that might have inspired those signs . . .

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Now I’m a feller with a heart of gold
      And the ways of a gentleman I’ve been told
      The kind of guy that wouldn’t even harm a flea
      But if me and a certain character met
      The guy that invented the cigarette
      I’d murder that son-of-a-gun in the first degree

      It ain’t cuz I don’t smoke myself
      And I don’t reckon that it’ll harm your health
      Smoked all my life and I ain’t dead yet

      But nicotine slaves are all the same
      At a pettin’ party or a poker game
      Everything gotta stop while they have a cigarette

      Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette
      Puff, puff, puff and if you smoke yourself to death
      Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate
      That you hate to make him wait
      But you just gotta have another cigarette

      Now in a game of chance the other night
      Old Dame Fortune was a-doin’ me right
      The kings and the queens just kept on comin’ round

      And I got a full and I bet ‘em high
      But my bluff didn’t work on a certain guy
      He just kept on raisin’ and layin’ that money down

      Now he’d raise me and I’d raise him
      I sweated blood, gotta sink or swim
      He finally called and didn’t even raise the bet

      So I said “aces full Pops how ’bout you?”
      He said “I’ll tell you in a minute or two
      But right now, I gotta have me a cigarette”

      Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette
      Puff, puff, puff and if you smoke yourself to death
      Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate
      That you hates to make him wait
      But you just gotta have another cigarette

      (Ah, smoke it! Hah! Yes! Yes! Yes!)

      The other night I had a date
      With the cutest little girl in the United States
      A high-bred, uptown, fancy little dame

      She loved me and it seemed to me
      That things were ’bout like they oughta be
      So hand in hand we strolled down lover’s lane

      She was oh so far from a cake of ice
      And our smoochin’ party was goin’ nice
      So help me cats I believe I’d be there yet

      But I give her a kiss and a little squeeze
      And she said, “ah, Marty, excuse me please
      I just gotta have me another, cigarette”

      And she said, smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette
      Puff, puff, puff and if you smoke yourself to death
      Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate
      That you hate to make him wait
      But you just gotta have another cigarette.

      Copyright 1947 by Tex Williams

    • novasteve

      Do I have a right to a silent journey on the Metro? Do I have a right to not hear loud people outdoors? Do I have the right to expect volume to not be too high in restaurants or bars?

      Like typical liberals, you think you have the right too go through life without being offended or whatever bothers you. You do not. In if you did, what happens with everyone gets to ban what they consider inconsiderate that you like?

      • How is Secondhand Smoke Not Bad For You?

        While noise might be annoying to you, I’m pretty sure you can’t catch cancer or heart disease from being annoyed.

        Some stats from WebMD on the effects of secondhand smoke exposure:

        - An estimated 46,000 nonsmokers who live with smokers die each year from heart disease.
        - Between 150,000 and 300,000 children under the age of 18 months get respiratory infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) from secondhand smoke; 7,500 to 15,000 of them must be hospitalized.
        - More than 40% of children who visit the emergency room for severe asthma attacks live with smokers.
        Secondhand smoke can have a number of serious health effects on nonsmokers, particularly cancer and heart disease.

        If you want to inhale hydrogen cyanide and formaldehyde into your body, that is definitely your choice to make. It’s not a matter of “not liking” or “being offended” by your choice of habits. I would like to avoid paying the health consequences of the decisions you’re making.

        • Chris M.

          Look, I’m not a fan of smoking, but none of those things apply to outdoor smoking. If you are going to disagree with folks, at least use honest facts.

          • How is Secondhand Smoke Not Bad For You?

            I’m disagreeing with Novasteve’s opinion that secondhand smoke does not negatively impact the health of people around the smoker. It doesn’t matter if you are outside or inside, if you are exposed to secondhand smoke, you’re at risk of suffering the consequences for someone else’s actions.

          • novasteve

            The studies on second hand smoke are bogus. People with an agenda are behind them. Even if they were valid, there’s ZERO risk from it outdoors. That’s why liberals started coming up with “third hand smoke” arguments. Lots of people suffer the consequences of someone else’s actions. if you TRULY believed your argument, you would be in favor of a zelo tolerance drinking and driving policy. No alcohol. Otherwise you put others at risk by slowing your reflexes when you chose to drink and drive, even if you are under .08BAC. That’s a far greater threat to society than second hand smoke is. What about Wifi and cell phone radiation? I have to risk cancer so you can check your email?

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            True.

            You also live in an urban area where automobile exhaust, coupled with heat-island effects, makes air quality poor more often than you breath in second hand smoke.

          • drax

            So we shouldn’t have any limits on harmful substances simply because we can’t eliminate them all?

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            What’s the limit on second hand smoke outdoors, drax? What ppm is harmful?

          • drax

            You didn’t answer my question.

        • novasteve

          There are multiple studies on second hand smoke that show it doesn’t cause what you claim it does. Even OSHA never found that smoke indoors was at dangerous levels. The risks you list would favor a home smoking ban. How many people live at bars? Even the people who work at them don’t live there. How many children are at bars?

        • kaeth

          Seriously, there’s a pretty dramatic difference in the exposure you get living with someone who smokes indoors and walking by someone on the street occasionally who is smoking.

          Also, I think you COULD make arguments like, “I have the right to walk to the metro and not smell exhaust fumes.” Or “I have the right to walk to the metro under an awning so as not to expose myself to cancerous sunrays.” Or, “I have a right to walk to the metro and not encounter someone with a communicable disease like the flu.” And all of those things are equally ridiculous and stupid.

          • How is Secondhand Smoke Not Bad For You?

            The signs aren’t on the sidewalks or streets. They’re in parks where children are playing for prolonged periods of time.

            Again, these signs are just asking, not telling. I don’t think it’s awful for people to think twice about the implications of their actions.

            And I’m not sure about you, but I’ll take the flu over cancer.

          • kaeth

            Two of the three things I mentioned were directly related to cancer and not the flu. Convenient to ignore them…

            And they are apparently not JUST in areas where children play. But regardless, its parent’s responsibility to educate their children. In a park you can certainly relocate yourself out of the line of a smoker, and its a personal responsibility to avoid things you don’t like. Its not reasonable to start dictating whether or not someone wants to partake in something you think is dangerous. Should we outlaw eating McDonalds in a park? That puts just as much of a bad influence on the kid and weight on the medical system.

            Its not that people shouldn’t think twice about the implications of their actions, its that people shouldn’t feel the need to FORCE others to think about the implications of your actions. You’re responsible for yourself and your kids (if you have them). You’re not responsible for how I feel if I’m not really hurting anyone. And seriously, you cannot convince me that secondhand smoke from occasional exposure in public parks with open air is any statistically significant number of lung cancer victims.

          • novasteve

            Dont’ worry, the Mcdonalds in a park ban will be next. Smoking is just where the nanny staters start. And i will LAUGH at these liberals here in arlington when they lose their rights to the nanny staters.

          • How is Secondhand Smoke Not Bad For You?

            Re: exhaust fumes, I can accept that vehicles at least serve the purpose of getting people to their intended destinations. I’d like to minimize the number of substances I’m exposed to and don’t think I’m in the wrong for wishing people would be more considerate about how close they are to others when smoking.

            Re: sun exposure, I can minimize the risk of skin cancer by wearing sunscreen and accept that it is my responsibility to do so.

            I have chosen to minimize the risk to myself and my family of lung or heart disease by endorsing a healthy, active, smoke-free lifestyle. The person who chooses to blow smoke in my face or puff away when children are playing nearby puts his decision not to do the same on us.

            You eating McDonalds in the park only directly impacts your own health, it does not give the clogged arteries to my family.

            And I’m sorry, but I really don’t buy the argument that you smoking around others isn’t hurting them.

          • kaeth

            You can minimize the risk of this perceived lung cancer by not walking near people who smoke. I mean really, I have to say the times when I have inadvertantly stumbled into a cloud of smoke are few and far between. Its usually pretty obvious that someone is smoking and when the entire outdoors is there for both mine and the smoker’s use, there is generally plenty of room for me to avoid walking so close that I’m forced to breathe in huge quantities of smoke.

            There isn’t anything wrong with living a healthy active smoke-free lifestyle, but you life in a free country, so you can’t force everyone else to. Even if its in their best interest.

            The reality is that passing by a smoker is not upping your daily exposure to carcinogens by a significant amount. If you really believe that I’d be fascinated to hear where your scientific evidence is. The simple rules of dissipation really are working against you. I’m not saying its not having a zero effect, I’m just saying the effect is negligible when compared to everything else you and your family is exposed to on a daily basis.

            In my opinion the greatest danger to your family a smoker provides, and to the community, is a small fight against the complete social ostracization towards smokers that has occurred and that it sets a bad example for the people around them. That social ostracization is an appropriate way for a community to express displeasure with something that they don’t like but is legal. And steering your kids away from it and making a nasty face or whatever, thats counteracting it. So in my mind, eating McDonalds is about as dangerous as smoking in public in terms of the real threat that such activities present.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            So it is ok to breath in exhaust fumes because the vehicle is being used for transportation and a smoker is just enjoying the product? You have got to be kidding me.

            When a stinky car blows exhaust at you, I guess you turn away and don’t breath it in. You should do the same when someone walking through a park is smoking and the smoke drifts your way.

            Or maybe you can just move to Mississippi where there are less cars, less smokers, and more conservatives.

      • drax

        Stop it Steve.

        It isn’t just liberals who think this way.

        And this isn’t about banning or not banning things either. Plenty of rude behavior is banned, and YOU support and benefit from that too. This is about which behaviors should be considered rude or banned and which shouldn’t. You can disagree about that, but stop pretending like there is absolute freedom out there because there isn’t.

      • we are the 99%

        You need more sex, Steve.

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      .

      • novasteve

        BRAVO!!!! +100000000 x10 (92nd power!)

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Overgrown Bush, you just posted the picture of the day! Kudos, my friend!

        • madisonmanor

          Can this one at least be a close second? Kudos to OB for doing the hard work. . .

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Love it!

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Madisonmanor, that is definitely a close second!

      • charlie

        perfect.
        and what a goober look.

  • Quoth the Raven

    It could be that the intent behind these signs is not so much to control the behavior of the smokers, but to protect the kids using the park from seeing people smoke. In other words, sort of a “no bad role-model” kind of argument. I have no idea whether or not that’s the case, of course. Just putting it out there as a possibility.

    • novasteve

      Is that the role of the government? What about all the kids at home with bad role models? Should kids walking by the street have blinders on see they can’t see bad drivers or people driving gas guzzlers? Should kids not be allowed to see teen single mothers walking down the street?

      • Quoth the Raven

        Personally, I don’t think that’s the role of the gov’t at all. But it’s a possibility that this was the intent behind the signage.

  • novasteve

    Should that punter who was signed by the steelers be banned from punting in arlington parks? I mean it could land a child! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

  • Burger

    I wonder if the sign guy that takes down signs will take these down, too?

    • Westover Leftover

      Can’t do it. Even if these signs are stupid, they are not illegal.

  • Clarendon

    I much prefer using education, social norms, even stigma in order to en(dis)courage behaviors RATHER THAN passing laws to mandate them. However, the problem is the people who do this would, if they could, pass the law (I think).

    • novasteve

      And which groups? There are a lot of behaviors that are bad that you could be called a bigot if you tried to stigmatize. Smokers are the most persecuted group in this country, and if the persecution they faced were on other groups, there would civil rights suits on a daily basis. Since when has persecuting people been politically correct?

      • drax

        Oh, give it a rest.

      • Clarendon

        Stigmatizing is am extreme social norm enforcement mechanism, and I would only reserve that for behaviors that really on the edge of ‘should be illegal’. But social norms are just that, the society determines what should be frowned upon and how strongly. I just have a bigger problem when my government tries to legislate behaviors like what we smoke, or eat etc.

  • novasteve

    Why is it “tolerant” and “progressive” for the hate groups that oppose smoking to be doing these things?

    • drax

      It’s not, Steve. Nobody said it was either.

  • novasteve

    Since when have smokers been the only people been required to be “polite”? I see far ruder things on a daily basis that the nanny staters aren’t taking care of. Why are smokers singled out here?

    • Quoth the Raven

      I feel like novasteve is “fired up” about this issue!

      • novasteve

        Because I despise nanny staters. that’s why. I would never have considered smoking in a park before, but just to get back at these freaks, I WILL START.

        • Chris

          Steve we’ve been over this, it’s not a nanny state issue, it’s a nuisance issue. You are a public nuisance. And don’t start with that “what if we ban everything that anyone finds a annoying”, that’s lazy arguing, you should be able to do better.

          • novasteve

            There are all sorts of nuisances that don’t get banned. Why do I have to walk by that funeral home on Fairfax drive? It’s a public nuisance. I have to hear loud music, nuisance. Loud conversation, nuisance.

      • Zoning Victim

        Haha, that reminded me of Team America World Police. “I sense you are confused.”

  • JimPB

    Good point about a solution in such of a problem (apparently doesn’t exist in ArlCo parks).

    Reasonable underlying concern about government “over reach.” Best to focus on protecting health and safety, with minimal ventures into matters of taste.

    Tobacco use is a major public health problem. Second-hand smoke is meaningful hazard, too. So there is a legitimate basis in public health for action to

    1) minimize the initiation of tobacco use, especially among youth (if not initiated then, it probably won’t be),

    2) helping tobacco users stop using, and

    3) protecting others from second- and, yes, third-hand smoke (“hot” sites for such exposure include homes and cars; other “hot” sites have been identified in comments above).

    It would be refreshing for County Board members to seek input about and thoughtfully consider how to address one of more of the focuses above, garner community support for proposed action(s), and then provide for evaluation of effectiveness and cost-efficiency.

  • novasteve

    So what’s next on the anti smoking hate group’s list of things? What bigotry is in store next?

    • Chris

      Anti-homosexual regulations if you had your way, I imagine.

      Also, automatic transmissions.

      • Zoning Victim

        Those already exist in Virginia.

  • frustrate the addiction

    smokers should be grateful for every roadblock, indignity and hurdle erected to them being able to smoke because every frustration chips away at the rewards of their addiction, increasing the incentives to quit (with the help of some powerful drugs)

    • novasteve

      Meanwhile people can go to a bar, drink as much as they want, and get into a car, and drive, and nothing can stop them unless it’s too late. Even if they were within the “legal limit” they are still impaired, which is distracted driving, by lowering their reflex times. That’s a far greater risk than smelling smoke is.

      Your views are pure BIGOTRY.

    • Theakston

      And NovaSteve isn’t even a true smoker if he “only smokes when he drinks and that isn’t very often” but perhaps his pants are smoking for him :)

    • Michelle

      I agree. I never was able to quit until the indoor smoking ban due to the social aspect of smoking. I went from a pack (sometimes more) per day and have never looked back. I’m 28 and have been smoking since I was 16. It’s a bad, nasty habit and there is nothing glamorous about it.

      • novasteve

        Is it the role of government to be doing that? If they know what’s best for you, do you have no other objections to them banning things since it’s for your own good? ANd what about the rights of the property owners? Screw them? it was what you needed? What’s next?

  • charlie

    and people thought the new sign ordinance was going to involve nuisance signs from developers and businesses….

  • Alex

    Would also love to see more effort to discourage littering. Our parks are constantly trashed by people who don’t take the time to take their waste with them to the nearest bin. Perhaps more waste bins and more signage? *Shrug*

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Alex, I agree with you. When I go out walking in Bluemont or Bon Air park near my home or out on the W&OD or Custis trails, I see litter even where it is clearly marked (like on the Bon Air foot bridge over four mile run. I try to pick up what I can but jeeze louise, there are trash recepticles along the trails and in the parks.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        When I walk my dog I not only bring poop bags with me, I also bring a plastic garbage bag. I usually use it, especially on the weekend.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          OB, you are like most dog owners I see when I’m out walking. Thank you. I do the same thing when I walk my neighbor’s dog when they’re out of town. Sadly, I’ve seen a small number of irresponsible owners that don’t bring anything and let their “little precious” poop wherever. Even with signs up asking people to be responsible and clean up after their dogs. One sign in a homeowners yard I saw is great: “Good dogs poop, good owners scoop”.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Ha ha! Great sign!

  • Tre

    I would also prefer all signs to be on $5000 slabs of granite

  • novasteve

    I’m sure you all read the report in the Wapo recently about the toxins in dry cleaned clothes that is emitted into the air that is carcinogenic. Some high shcool student lead the research and scientists were amazed by her findings. I guess we need a ban, eh?

  • novasteve

    How about some “please don’t overturn your car” signs?

  • John Fontain

    Anyone up for a stogie smoking party at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17 in Bon Air Park (850 N. Lexington Street)?

    • novasteve

      Sure, I’ll be there, but I’ll smoke a cigarette, not a fan of cigars. maybe I can bring my hookah? Wait, will michigan be playing at that time? Keep in consideration college football.

  • John Fontain

    Next year…

    As part of its new “FART-Free Parks Initiative,” Arlington County has placed ‘no farting’ signs in more than a dozen county parks.

    But while many government signs convey a law — a ‘no littering’ sign, for instance — the new signs have the word “Please” above “No [FARTING],” since Arlington doesn’t actually have the authority to outlaw farting in parks. Rather than a ban, Arlington is simply asking farters to voluntarily refrain from farting within 50 feet of playgrounds, courts, ball fields, pavilions, recreation areas and other “areas of congregation.”

    “To the extent possible, it is important for the County to take action to prevent park patrons’ exposure to this dangerous health hazard,” Arlington County explains on its website. “Children may be especially vulnerable, which is why the FART-Free Parks Initiative is specifically targeting areas where children congregate.”

    • novasteve

      It’s hard to deny that breathing in methane is bad for you. It’s flammable too!

    • novasteve

      MAybe they can restrict farting to the Fartisphere?

    • Bluemontsince1961

      ROFL!

    • charlie

      will there be HOV-farting or not? because, well…

      • Bluemontsince1961

        No farting except in the HOV farting lane. All farting outside the HOV farting lane will be prosecuted by forcing said offending HOV fart lane breakers to stand outside a typical Arlington park to inhale second hand smoke and car exhaust.

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      Now you’ve gone and done it.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        I stand corrected. This is the picture of the day! OB, you are on a roll today, brother!

  • Tre

    Other ARL signs in our future:

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Too much….excellent, Tre!

    • novasteve

      Yeah, they’ll show that to the kids in schools when they teach boys to pee sitting down.

  • novasteve

    If it’s sign of things to come, remmeber when Cain was interviewed on some news show and the host (no doubt a liberal) was all outraged that they showed someone smoke on TV. It’s merely depicting it now that has the nanny staters going insane. MY GOD A CHILD COULD HAVE WATCHED IT!

  • Sara

    Why are so many people so angry about this? No actual ban has been passed or put into place right?

    “Rather than a ban, Arlington is simply asking smokers to voluntarily refrain from smoking within 50 feet of playgrounds, courts, ball fields, pavilions, recreation areas and other ‘areas of congregation.’ ”

    So, there’s just a sign posted so people don’t have to awkwardly ask someone if they’d mind backing up a bit if they’re playing a ball game or having a picnic and don’t feel like being around smoking. And smokers aren’t being fined or penalized if they say no or choose to ignore the signs, right?

    Who cares? If you don’t like smoking, walk away from the smoking. If you don’t like the sign, walk away from the sign.

    This discussion thread is kind of ridiculous.

    • novasteve

      The point is Sara, if they had the power to actually ban it with the force of law, they would have. This is the best they can do to get their nanny state ways UNLESS they get enough nanny staters into Richmond to change the rules.

  • Smokey the Bear

    Only YOU can prevent wildfires, motherf*ckers!!!

  • soarlslacker

    These signs are a waste of time and money for county tax payers. This makes as much sense as putting “Please don’t yell and scream” signs next to the playgrounds. If it is not the law, stop wasting tax dollars on this junk! You can’t teach adults courtesy. If parents failed, why would a sign with no legal backing be effective?

  • trawik

    PUT THESE SIGNS UP AT BUS STOPS!!!

  • novasteve

    So because I think people’s screaming kids are annoying and it’s rude, can screaming kids be banned from parks?

  • DavArl

    I’ve been at many playgrounds and basketball courts where people smoke at all times of the day, even with small children present. You can claim that there are no health effects, but there is a strong correlation with asthma triggers from cigarette smoke (so would car exhaust, but this will generally stay close to the ground as it exits the tailpipe on the street, rather than next to the playground).

    Furthermore, at all this locations, most smokers leave their butts all over, making a slip hazard on the courts and trash for young children to find. I think if most smokers were more considerate, and were not in fact also unrepentant litters, such signs would not be necessary.

  • non-smoking taxpayer

    really? this is what Arlington chooses to spend their money on? something that isn’t even harmful or illegal? get a life people!

  • Jeffery Magnus

    Ridiculous waste of money. Stupid politicians.

  • Maria

    Is anyone willing to count how many times Steve commented on this story?

    • Grateful

      Not me-do not have enough time. But it appears to me that of the 193 comments so far, at least 50% seem to be from novasteve!

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