When Edward F. Heitz learned that Fairfax County had adopted an ordinance restricting smoking in public, he didn't just bite into his pipe and grumble.
What he did was send out letters of resignation to all the county organizations to which he belonged and where his pipe, which he has smoked for 25 years, would now be banned.
He quit as chairman of the administering board of the Community Action Agency, as member of the Citizens Metro Alternatives Analysis Committee, as member of the Falls Church-McLean Council, and as member of the County Council of Parent-Teacher's Association's executive committee.
"I'm not going to donate my time to the county government and then be told by it how to behave," said Heitz, a traffic manager for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "This is behavior modification by legislation."
As for the Board of Supervisors, which passed the ordinance by a 6-to-3 vote last week, Heitz said, "I thought they would have more sense than to adopt this."
Especially galling to Heitz was that as chairman of the board of the Community Action Agency, which administers funds given to the Head Start and antipoverty outreach programs, he would have to enforce the antismoking law.
The ordinance, which is similar to one passed in Montgomery County, was opposed by three of the nine supervisors, including Heitz's, John P. Shacochis (R-Dranesville), a cigarette smoker himself.
Commenting on his constituent's reaction, Shacochis said, "He has his principles, and I have to respect him. I'm sorry to lose his good advice."
Board chairman John F. Herrity, also a smoker, complained during the debate on the ordinance that smoking restrictions were beyond the legitimate scope of local government, and would be uneforceable.
Violations of the ordinance could result in a $25 fine, but Fairfax police aren't organizing any dragnets to capture offenders. The county attorney's office expects the law to be "self-enforced."
In addition to prohibiting smoking at meetings attended by eight or more people where county business is discussed, the ordinance also bars smoking in food and retail stores employing more than eight people, elevators, most health-care facilities and cultural facilities supported by public funds.
Heitz says he has no misgivings about his decision to drop out of governmental affairs rather than have to obey the ordinance.
"Those who want that kind of structure, I don't want to be in their company," he said. "My position is not a radical one. Maybe I'm the only one who has the courage to stand up and say that it's outrageous."