While people’s civil liberties would be protected better by a ban on smoking in any public place, a half measure is better than what violations of some people’s are allowed currently, undertaken by a pair of bills offered up for this year’s legislative session by state Rep. Frank Hoffman.
One, HB 307, would extend the current ban on smoking for a limited pool or areas such as health care and educational facilities to at least 25 feet outside of state-owned buildings or to those renovated in whole or in part using state money, and would ban smoking within 25 feet of ventilation systems, wheelchair ramps and other structures that help the handicapped enter or leave buildings (although exempting local government buildings, for some odd reason). The other, HB 378, is more limited in scope, just banning smoking within 25 feet of entrances, windows, wheelchair ramps and ventilation systems of private buildings, as well as "other enclosed areas" where smoking is prohibited.
Hoffman argues he wishes to curtail second-hand smoke with these and, while the case that this generally causes maladies among the population in general is circumstantial, it definitely causes distress to a growing segment of the population with reduced pulmonary functions. Even a whiff of smoke can send somebody into immediate respiratory distress who carries around portable oxygen units, uses mechanical ventilation, or takes medication to ameliorate asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or other maladies in order to breathe.