The question is no longer "to smoke or not to smoke?" Now, it's "to ban or not to ban?"
If you're one of the few fetid smoke-bombs in California who continues to light up, it's getting harder all the time to find sympathy. Almost as hard is it must be to breathe.
Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors approved an expansion on a tobacco-sales ban. Previously, pharmacies were prohibited from selling tobacco products, but now larger stores like Lucky's and Costco will be affected as well. At this rate, smokers may one day have to drive down to the duty-free shops at the airport to pick up one their smokes.
Retailers, of course, are not happy about the ban. But public health advocates are delighted.
Other initiatives take a gentler approach. Currently, the governor is considering a bill that would expand cessation programs for adults. But that bill has its critics: some say that the money would be better spend on youth prevention programs, since it's easier to stop kids from starting than to break a grown-up's addiction.
But we may eventually get to the point where it's simply not possible to smoke anywhere in the state, driving smokers away altogether. A new Contra Costa law makes it illegal to smoke anywhere in mutli-unit residences. That includes outdoor locations.