See a Smoker? Dial 9-1-1


Well-Known Member
Jul 14, 2006
See a smoker in Omaha? Dial 9-1-1
Nebraska city imposes toughest enforcement policy in nation

Posted: October 22, 2006
8:12 p.m. Eastern

© 2006

Omaha's tough new anti-smoking ordinance banning the practice in nearly all public places comes with an even tougher enforcement policy.

The Nebraska city's elected leaders and police department are urging residents who see violations to call the 9-1-1 emergency system for an immediate response.

Omaha banned smoking in public Oct. 2. Penalties are $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for the third and subsequent infractions.


Has this gone to far?
Wow, now there's a knee-jerk reaction for you. I think this measure could very easily backfire.

Oh snap! I am so damn witty.
A bit over the top, imo. They're in for some high drama when the 911 lines are clogged up with people complaining about smokers. God forbid there should be a real crisis.
Very funny. I suspect the first lawsuit will occur within the first year of this whole idea. Must be pretty quiet out there in Omaha!
Kinda reminds me of another county law (can't remember where) about a $500 fine if a guy was spotted with a tentpole in his pants. Then there was this huge protest about "A BONER IS NOT A CRIME!!!"

Eh, can't remember it very well. Was a few years back.
As someone who is currently in the process of trying to quit, I find it pretty amusing and pretty horrifying at the same time. I can't imagine it would work very well. We have all types of fines here for people littering and yet somehow the streets keep getting filled with it. I also think there would be very few people who would actually take the trouble to ring 911 just because someone was smoking.
On a more serious note (since my previous 3 replies have all been facetious): I would imagine that most likely the people who WOULD be bothered would be those who would actually be abusing the system. It would temporarily cause a spike in crank-callers, because the measure in itself is pretty useless. I mean...what is the likelihood that a 911 call for smoking will actually result in an arrest?

Perhaps those who implemented the policy had this in mind- and hoped that it would serve the psychological role of deterrent. If they really wanted this to work in any way, they would have to offer incentives and as a result of that, also a range of safeguards to combat the inevitable abuse. Hence I think it's showboating because the likely assessment is that it's far too much bother to do all that.
I could see all the people that have nothing better to do calling and reporting when they see smoking going on in a public place. I think they are just asking for trouble with this one. It's not that I disagree with the law about smoking in public places and I am a smoker. I choose not to smoke in public places just because I know it is not good for other people to have to breathe the toxic stuff that come from my smoking. But come on this is just a little over the top.
Now, if they could just come up with a law againt the public showing of buttcrack, all would be well.
I think this is a great idea. My entire family smokes, and I must say, I'd rather drink a gallon of bleach than smoke a single cigarette. The implications of smoking are so disgustingly ignored, I can feel nothing but negativity. The very sad [and indeed depressing] fact is that smoking is totally legal, and is commonplace in the United States. Ah! Wake up and smell the coporatism!


This along with a nice steep sin tax should do the job and raise awareness.
I with George on a Sin tax. I'd like to see some money coming into the coffers to offset what medicare is going to have to pay for to keep long term smokers alive through their old age. (Maybe they can get a bulk discount on the cancer meds and iron lungs?)

I'm surprised they want to put it through 911 though, unless the system was really designed for that much load I'd hate to see a smoking citation call end up in front of someone having a heart attack or something...
It's not so much 'fundraising' off of the sins of others, rather, a way to help them realize what they're doing. As one might argue, the more impoverished, and lower-middle class are the ones most prone to such behaviors, and a sin tax would hurt them more than someone in the upper class. How long can you maintain a smoking addiction when paying $50/carton, and smoking two cartons a month, at wages of less than say $15/hour?

[Note: I live in New Jersey, where a sin tax is imposed, which is where I got the figures for the carton price. I used to live in Florida, where no sin tax was imposed, and a carton would run you $20 at most. This simple fact has discouraged my mother from smoking, and she now smokes once or twice a day, at a rate of one pack per four days.]
Seems like a good way to clog up the emergency line with non-urgent calls. In the UK, a scheme is being tested in Staffordshire whereby there are two numbers you can use to contact the police and emergency services - one for urgent situations, and one for non-urgent situations. I know they're trying to make smokers see that lighting up in public is not acceptable in any situation, but this really seems a bad way to go about it.
I'm just very much against anything that keeps people from doing something "for their own good." We all do a number of things that aren't good for us. We don't eat right, exercise enough or get enough sleep. We smoke, we drink, we take pills to help us relax, pills to help us sleep, pills to wake us up, pills to give us energy. We over use antibiotics and create resistant strains of viruses. And I bet there's a group somewhere that disapproves of every one of those things and thinks our ability to make bad choices should be legislated away "for our own good." It's scary.