Cigar Hunter: Yes, grown-ups write these laws

The next Cigar Hunter prize giveaway will conclude on Monday, Oct. 22. Make sure you’re at least 18 years old and registered for the Cigar Hunter email list, and you could win a box of House Resolution by JC Newman cigars and a Thunderbird torch lighter from Corona Cigar Co.

Today’s photographic guest smoker: Cuban emigre and Academy Award-nominated actor Andy García, of “Godfather Part III” and “The Untouchables” fame. Odd trivia: García had parts in the first episodes of both “Hill Street Blues” and “Murder, She Wrote.” Talk about range. He was photographed Friday at the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am golf event in China.

Am I the only one left who thinks it’s appalling to criminalize adults who want to smoke cigars?

The city of Berkeley, California was the first municipality in the world to restrict tobacco smoking inside restaurants. That was in 1972. At the time, slippery-slope Cassandras warned that eventually the lifestyle police would come for the pipes in our dens and drawing rooms. Cue the guffaws.

But on Monday, just 18 miles away, the fine people of San Rafael upped the ante. The city council there voted unanimously to ban smoking in condos, duplexes, multi-family buildings — basically any private dwelling where you have to share a wall with another homeowner.

Reuters reports that eight other California towns have already taken this step, but San Rafael’s law is the first to cover all multi-family structures — including new construction and old buildings, whether they’re rented or owned.

I’m at once both resigned to the slope becoming more slippery, and surprised that no enterprising California lawmaker has yet argued for bans on tuna salad sandwiches whose offensive odor — to some, anyway — wafts unwelcome from living room to living room. And dill pickles? They’re a menace.

Yes, I know. It’s California, where no bad idea is rendered inert until it’s consumed a hundred times its weight in common sense.

But North Dakota? You don’t normally think of the Peace Garden State — yes, I Googled it — as a haven for nuttiness. Those folks are sandwiched in between Mount Rushmore and the Canadian tundra. It’s not exactly yoga country.

Yet the state has a ballot measure up for a vote on Nov. 6 that would “prohibit smoking, including the use of electronic smoking devices, in public places and most places of employment in the state, including certain outdoor areas.”

Of course, this is about public places, not apartments. But did you catch the bit about “electronic smoking devices”? It’s hard to imagine a rationale for banning e-cigarettes, other than their general Jarvik-heart weirdness or a desire to wipe out the tiniest visual suggestion that someone might enjoy drawing air through something vaguely tubular.

It’s the mentality that has museum curators airbrushing cigars from photos of Winston Churchill, now applied, “Truman Show”-like, to live-action people.

Yes, grown-ups actually write these laws.

In Binghamton, N.Y., a county-wide ban on smoking in public parks has just been extended to cover the parking lots.

Lawmakers in Boulder, Colo. are working on a smoking ban to cover an outdoor pedestrian mall. The only sticking point is whether jail time — yes, a maximum of 90 days in the slammer — is justified for a first offense.