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Eye Opener: No smoking near federal buildings?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Friday! A New York lawmaker is trying -- yet again -- to ban smoking within 25 feet of federal buildings.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill this week that bans the practice, even though the General Services Administration last year banned puffing within 25 feet of federal building doorways and intake ducts.

The policy closed interior smoking rooms, but does not apply to federal buildings in which people are "voluntarily or involuntarily residing," such as prisons. It also allows for "instances where an agency head establishes limited and narrow exceptions that are necessary to accomplish agency missions."

Federal employees have fought the existence of interior smoking rooms, outdoor smoking areas other loopholes in the GSA policy that might allow some colleagues to carve out indoor and outdoor smoking areas.

Engel's bill appears to help those efforts, if it ever passes.

"This is common sense legislation," Engel said in a statement, noting that he introduced the Healthy Air for Federal Workers Act to coincide with the Great American Smoke Out and Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Engel introduced a similar measure in July 2008 to no avail.

But how will the law be enforced? Is it really that necessary? Or is it long overdue?

And how might this impact President Obama -- who lives in a federal building and has never said that he's completely kicked the habit?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | November 20, 2009; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Next: Orszag on health care reform


The attack on smokers has had NOTHING TO DO WITH SMOKING and EVERYTHING TO DO WITH CONTROL OVER PEOPLE. "Find out what people will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong that can be imposed upon them; the limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." ~ Frederick Douglass (1857)

Posted by: nunna123 | November 20, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Whoever wrote this article must either be totally disconnected from the world or purposfully playing stupid.


If you dont already know that and decide to write an article about it because you refuse to do research, you should quit your job and move somewhere else. We dont need more empty headed, lazy bigoted reporters at WaPo or MSM in general

Posted by: ProveMeWrong | November 20, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to the anti-terrorism laws already on the books, I have no doubt that you could arrest and execute anyone *thinking* of smoking near a Federal building, on charges of "conspiring to poison Federal employees".

Terrifying, actually. The average American can't get through the day without committing several Federal felonies. We have *all* earned several hundred years in Club Fed. It's only prosecutorial discretion that keeps us "free".

God Bless America.

Posted by: DupontJay | November 20, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

It is pretty ridiculous that you have to go through a crowd of smoke to get in and out of your building. I think the the victimhood thing adopted by smokers is annoying. Sure, smoke, just don't expect everyone else to breath in the smoke with you.

Posted by: bperk420 | November 20, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm a former smoker but still I chafe at what the smokers have to go through for a few puffs. Leave 'em alone! Soon enough all the taxes on their smokes will have them quitting or smoking fewer and fewer!

Posted by: MILWI | November 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

have a solution for all the whiners.ban the manufacture and sales of tobbaco products in the will than eliminate the problem,along with jobs created by this legal product,and the reulting billion of $$$$ in tax revenue.of course this was tried with prohibition.hypocritical fools

Posted by: pofinpa | November 20, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

MILWI, the jacket I wore to work this morning has a cigarette burn on the sleeve.

None of the smokers congregating outside buildings or swinging lit cigarettes around on crowded sidewalks has ever even offered to compensate me for burns they have inflicted on my clothing or stuff over the years. Yet if I sauntered around with an open can of paint, recklessly splattering it on other people's clothing and stuff, I'm pretty sure there would be consequences.

Why should smokers alone be allowed to damage other people's health and property with such impunity?

Posted by: Itzajob | November 20, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

It's not about second hand smoke, it's about exerting power over people. I will never forget watching a guy jogging along the road next to a bus spewing black smoke for a block while 3 of us were smoking in a designated spot. When he got to us, he began waving his hands and giving us a diatribe on polluting his air. He then complained at the front desk we were too close to the doors...the guard came out and asked us to please move so the guy would leave him alone. We did because the poor guard was being browbeaten by the holier than thou jogger.

Posted by: datdamwuf2 | November 20, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

as a federal employee, we have mnore important things to do then complain about someone elses smoking. shut up and get back to work.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | November 20, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

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