Smokescreen solution

By By Andy Thompson

By Andy Thompson

Thank you, Jesus–Salt Lake City has saved its citizens from the venomous wrath of smokers who dare light up in this town.

The ever-wise City Council banned smoking in public places earlier this month, including parks, TRAX stops and golf courses. Thank you, Big Brother, for ensuring that the city maintains a healthy environment for the public.

If Salt Lake City is so concerned with the public’s health, why doesn’t the council make a real difference and put restrictions in place for the mass amount of toxins produced by cars and trucks?

The emissions from other people’s vehicles will kill a lot more people than some guy smoking in the park.

To start, the city could pressure UTA to convert all its buses to cleaner fuel. Park City uses biodiesel for its transportation fleet, so why can’t UTA? The stink from the back of one of UTA’s finest is far worse than the stink of someone’s cigarette at the bus stop.

A conversion to clean fuel would be expensive, so the council could make those who pollute the most bear the greatest responsibility for the cleanup.

The city should tax every vehicle that guzzles gas at fewer than 15 miles per gallon when it is bought–much like the additional tax charged to smokers when they buy cigarettes. There should also be a tax according to a vehicle’s weight–say a dollar for every pound more than three tons.

Or, the city could just flat-out restrict people from buying F-250s and Dodge Rams (especially those with oversized tires) unless they can show evidence that the vehicle is necessary for their occupation. That would prevent a large chunk of pollutants from poisoning the air.

As for luxury SUVs–they should be pulled from the market, period, and sold only to government agencies. And anyone buying a Suburban needs to bring in his or her five kids, the proposed minimum requirement to purchase such a vehicle, with birth certificates to prove custody.

For those who would argue that “this is America and we should be free to drive anything we damn please,” they should open up the hood of this country’s government–there are many liberties that we, the people, have waved goodbye to. This ban on smoking is just another instance.

Usually, we are stripped of our freedoms for the greater good of society. Our right to privacy is sacrificed in order to protect us from terrorists. The right for gay people to marry is not granted in order to save our families from immorality. And one’s right to bear arms is restricted in the classroom in order to save the student body’s comfort to express itself freely–wait, scratch that (at least we’re still hanging on to something).

So, if the ban on smoking in public places is intended to save our lungs from toxins, why don’t we take it a step further? Put measures in place to prevent unnecessary poisons from being spewed into the air by the greatest perpetrators–automobiles.

If the government is going to impose further rules and regulations and ask its citizens to sacrifice even more freedoms, the reward should be worth the price.