Smoking out the differences

Backers of the pro-smoking ballot Question 4 are under attack for hiding behind children.

Supporters of the measure have angered critics by claiming their ballot measure would protect children.

In fact, Question 4—sponsored by the casino lobby, tavern owners, and other businesses that want to continue to have smoking—has little to do with children specifically. Generally, it seeks to put into the law provisions that are already in the law. Smoking is already banned from most of the sites where Question 4 proposes to prohibit smoking.

And Question 4 would prevent state legislators from adding any more sites to no-smoking zones until at least 2011. In that sense, it harms efforts against second-hand smoke. Question 4, which seeks to perpetuate smoking in public places, is an attempt to undercut Question 5, which actually would curb smoking beyond what is already in the law. Question 4 is pro-smoking, Question 5 is anti-smoking.

As noted here previously, the best way to tell which ballot measure is the anti-smoking one is to look at their backers: Question 4 is supported by the casinos, Question 5 is supported by cancer societies.