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Smoking sections: Now we're dividing towns, too

March 20. 2014 11:09PM

In Monday’s business section, we had a story about Manchester native Shawn Bradley’s new startup company: A website that allows smokers to find hotel rooms where they are welcome. Pretty soon smokers might need a similar site to help them find public parks from which they are not banned.

Claremont is the latest New Hampshire municipality to consider banning smoking in public parks. Some towns and cities ban or have considered banning smoking on playgrounds or on all municipal property. There are varying degrees of severity, but outdoor smoking bans are cropping up around the “Live free or die” state.

Derry had considered banning smoking on town property after a parent complained about smokers near playground equipment. In January the town settled on posting “no smoking” signs at playgrounds and some parks, but did not pass an ordinance.

We get that parents don’t want their kids breathing smoke while playing on a public playground. But these bans are not always about the kids. Often they are about making everyone behave how our self-proclaimed betters think we should. Keeping kids away from cigarette smoke is one thing. Using government power to forcibly modify people’s behavior is another.

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