I've been to OWS several days but Thursday was the first time I stayed overnight. Afterwards, I felt like I had smoked 2 packs of cigarettes, probably because I had. My throat was sore, my sinuses throbbed, my head ached and I was coughing. One of the Grannies for Peace, who has asthma, had to leave the Park to get away from all the smoke.
As a former smoker I make no moral judgment about the habit. However, it is a medical fact that secondhand smoke causes the same life-threatening conditions as directly inhaling - cancer, heart disease, emphysema etc, as well as increasing risk for shorter term respiratory illnesses.
It's difficult for me to reconcile the calls for justice and freedom - not to mention the emphasis on vegan food! - with the widespread disrespect for other occupiers' ability to breathe. There is simply no excuse for it.
So I would suggest, if not an outright ban on smoking in the park, that there be a designated area for it, so at least it would be possible for supporters, especially older people and children who are more at risk and who DON'T want to inhale tar, nicotine, and a soup of other secret addictive chemicals, to occupy the space.
Lest this be trampling on freedom, let's remember that a number of other health-threatening activities, and even rude behaviors, are likewise restricted.
Thank you for your consideration of this topic.