Scoot: Louisiana's newest smoking ban is meaningless!
Have the state of Louisiana and Gov. Bobby Jindal really done anything to curb smoking, or are they just making us think they’re making a difference?
Gov. Jindal signed into law a legislation that bans smoking within 200 feet of any elementary or secondary school in the state. That ban goes into effect immediately.
To anti-smoking activists, this new law will be declared a victory in the war against smoking, but will it even make a difference?
I am not a smoker and I’m not promoting smoking, but I am also not going to promote “feel good” laws that only give the impression of solving a problem. The danger in passing new laws that only give the impression of solving a problem is that these “feel good” laws leave politicians patting themselves on the back when the new laws will do nothing to actually solve the problem. And feelings of satisfaction lead to complacency.
It may sound good on paper, but is banning smoking within 200 feet of elementary and secondary schools going to convince smokers to quit? Will anyone say, “Well, if I can’t smoke within 200 feet of an elementary or secondary school – I’ll just quit!” Or, is the new ban on smoking near these schools motivated by a desire to prevent kids from seeing anyone smoking near their schools?
Who will enforce a law banning smoking within 200 feet of schools? Who will have the tape measure, and does the average person have any concept of 200 feet? Will a smoker within 175 feet be arrested? These are legitimate questions and illustrate that this new law cannot be expected to change anything.
If politicians get away with passing “feel good” legislation – then the voters are to blame for allowing it. Politicians are willing to do superficial things that give voters the impression of manifesting change because voters do not seem to hold them accountable – and part of the reason may be that voters don’t really pay attention to the meaningless nature of so much legislation.
Criticism of the lack of effectiveness on the part of politicians amounts to self-criticism of the voters who vote them into office and keep them there. It’s easier for voters to blame politicians than accept responsibility for not being more aware of what elected officials are actually doing.
Too many voters become victims of the media and social media – believing mass emails filled with political rhetoric sent by those with agendas. It is easier and less time consuming to let others think for you.
Rather than apply common sense when analyzing legislation, voters too often use their instinctive response. In the case of the new law banning smoking within 200 feet of schools, voters only see that there is a new law banning smoking near young school children, and that registers as a noble effort. But practical thinking doesn’t accept such a law influencing any real changes.
I wonder how many of the young school children in our state will be exposed to parents smoking at home, or older teens and young adults smoking near convenience stores and sno-ball stands. Smoking is legal and no matter how much citizens support smoking bans, it is impossible to shelter children from witnessing people smoking. The only way to fight that battle is with strong parental involvement.
If we expect to make our society better – then we need to pay attention to bills, laws, court rulings and the ideas presented by politicians and think beyond the words and the predicted effect the law will have on society and use real-world common sense to decide if a proposed law will really make a difference or will simply make a politicians looked like he or she did a positive thing.
Voters are as much to blame as the politicians for ineffective government because we put them in power and to often – leave them there.
I talk a lot about worthless “feel good” legislation on “The Scoot Show” on WWL 8:00 pm – Midnight or anytime I fill in during the day. We should ultimately blame ourselves for the fact that politicians give us the impression of making positive change when no change should be the expected result.
Tags : Locations : LouisianaPeople : Bobby Jindal