Resident of California town wants to make it illegal to smoke in your own backyard


A California man wants to make it illegal for residents to smoke while they are outside their homes but still on their own property. Brian McDermott/NYDN

Controversial proposal lights a controversy in Rocklin

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | Feb 28, 2012

By David Boroff

Smokers in a small California town will be barred from lighting up in their backyards if one resident gets his way.

James Baker has asked the Rocklin City Council to ban outdoor smoking, even making it illegal for residents to smoke while they are outside their homes but still on their own property.

Baker wants the city to consider the health risk to his children, who have asthma. He has asked his neighbors to refrain from smoking outdoors while his kids are playing on his property.

Some neighbors have complied; others have not. Now he wants the city council to take his side.

“We’re just saying: ‘Please don’t poison us,’” Baker told the Placer Herald newspaper.

“Can you smoke inside your home? The reason they don’t want to do that is because they don’t want their family breathing it in. But it’s okay for your neighbor?”

The proposal has, not surprisingly, met with resistance.

“As a smoker, I think that smokers should be considerate,” Rocklin resident Ryan Malonson, who is a smoker, told CBS 13 in Sacramento. “But on your own property? That’s unacceptable. It’s not going to pass.”

Tara Dadrill, a contributor on Yahoo.com, went even further on Monday, ridiculing the proposal as “hypersensitive” and an “infringement on liberty.”

“Perhaps a nonsmoking neighborhood should be established in California, right next to the no pets and no scent-inducing foliage regions of the town,” she wrote.

Baker is more than likely fighting an uphill battle to get the legislation passed.

“How do you regulate and enforce smoking on private property that may drift with the wind into a neighbor’s yard,” Rocklin City Manager Rick Horst told the Placer Herald.

Baker also told the Placer Herald that he is considering moving out of the home.

“It’s not a property issue. It’s an issue of poison,” he told the newspaper. “Ten percent of all Californians smoke. In a town of our size, are we protecting the rights of the minority?”

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