Where there's smoke, there's ire - and these days, it's not uncommon for smoking-related topics to stir up hefty debates.
But a Lower Mainland family is taking the smokers' rights issue to a whole new level, elevating the debate beyond any grey area and totally into the realm of "non-smokers' rights." The only surprise is that their concerns haven't been raised on a much broader level long ago.
Wendell and Rena Krossa have neighbours who smoke tobacco, and they are bothered by the smell of their neighbours' activities.
Their concern goes beyond mild annoyance or irritation. They reason that if they can smell the smoke, then they - and especially their children - may be subject to the hazards of second-hand smoke.
The neighbours aren't doing anything wrong - at least not legally. They do their smoking in their own private space, in accordance with local bylaws and any applicable legislation.
But the smoke itself has no respect for laws - or for non-smokers. It floats merrily where the breezes carry it and enters the noses and airways and lungs of anyone who happens to be in its path.
Many smokers have objected to being confined to ever-shrinking spaces since the dangers of their habit have become common knowledge.
But the issue is not whether or not smokers have a right to smoke, despite overwhelming medical evidence of the damage that their habit does to them. At issue is whether or not they have the right to engage in their habit in any way that may cause risk to other people.
If you throw a party and it gets too loud, it doesn't matter that the noise is created in the privacy of your own home, you can be ordered to shut it down.
And, let's face it, noise from a party is not likely to be as damaging to your neighbour's health as the second-hand smoke from your cigarette wafting across the fence.
We know that it's easier to say than to do, but the real solution to this dilemma - one that would be healthy for everyone - is to quit smoking.