- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bans against smoking in public venues that are outdoors are on the rise.

In the past five years, local ordinances prohibiting lighting up in parks, beaches and college campuses have doubled to 2,600, The Associated Press reported.

More are on the way — leading some health officials and researchers to ask: Why?

“The evidence of a risk to people in open-air settings is flimsy,” said Ronald Bayer, a Columbia University professor, AP reported.

Meanwhile, even Stanford University researcher Neil Klepeis, whose work is frequently cited by those who push for outdoor bans, says long-term health impacts from breathing outdoor smoke “is still up in the air,” AP said.

Second-hand smoke that’s confined within walls has been proven to have negative health impacts for some, medical experts say. But outdoor whiffs are completely different — and some suggest that it’s an anti-smoking campaign run amok, with cigarette haters leading the charge more for their personal comfort than for any concern about long-term health risks.

“I don’t really like the smell, and I don’t like it blowing in my face,” said Roger Montiel, of Atlanta, who said in the AP report that he just doesn’t like smoking. “If I’m enjoying a day at the park, I’d rather it not be part of that experience.”

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