June 13, 2013

Maine smoking bans a drag, or a breath of fresh air?

Smokers are feeling squeezed by Portland's new law adding outdoor spots to the list of secondhand-smoke-free zones.

By JOE LAWLOR

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O’Malley said that she believes the bans could help further reduce the rate of smoking in general.   

“It’s for the greater good of the world,” O’Malley said.

The number of smokers has declined over the decades, and with it, smokers’ clout in influencing public policy. There was no organized opposition to Portland’s new restrictions.  

More than 40 percent of adults smoked in the 1960s, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. That has declined to about 20 percent in recent years. With 21 percent of its population smoking, Maine is close to the U.S. average, according to the Partnership for a Tobacco-Free Maine website.

Klepeis said he often speaks at public hearings in California to limit places where people can smoke, and while the non-smokers usually come out in force, the “smokers are nowhere to be seen.”

McFadden agrees that smokers are resigned to the fact that more restrictions on their ability to light up are inevitable.

“Nobody likes to be the one standing in front of the bandwagon, and saying, ‘Stop!’ ” McFadden said.

Joe Lawlor can be contacted at 791-6376 or at:    jlawlor@pressherald.com

Twitter: @joelawlorph

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