The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Smoking Bans Represent Creeping Threat Against Personal Liberty

with 3 comments

bogart3The State paper last week continued its push for comprehensive smoking bans, arguing that cities and towns throughout Lexington and Richland counties should enact smoking prohibitions.  

The State, of course, would like to see the General Assembly institute a statewide ban on workplace smoking.

The paper contends that in addition to protecting workers from secondhand smoke, such a move “would create a level playing field for businesses by addressing concerns that patrons might leave an establishment in a jurisdiction that bans smoking to spend money at bars, restaurants and other establishments where smoking is allowed.”

So much for the free market and letting patrons decide where they want to spend their hard-earned dollars.

As the Policy Council wrote in The S.C. General Assembly: Best & Worst of 2009, smoking is universally accepted as unhealthy, but what is even more unhealthy is ceding power to the government over such personal matters.  

Using the force of law to restrict a proprietor’s rights to run their business as they see fit violates that individual’s right to decide how their property is to be used.

What the busybodies who push for smoking bans refuse to accept is that the market can decide the issue. 

If a non-smoker doesn’t want to work in an environment where smoking is permitted, an employer’s private property rights shouldn’t be violated to accommodate that worker. While not always the easiest course of action, there are other jobs available for those unhappy with their workplace environment.

If a business owner who allows smoking loses enough talented employees because they don’t want to put up with cigarette smoke, he can either suffer the consequences, install appropriate ventilation equipment to remedy the situation or change his policy.

But the choice should be his, not rammed down his throat by government mandate.

Rather than something as draconian as a smoking ban, why not require businesses to determine their own smoking policies. Establishments can choose whether to be all-smoking, have separate smoking and non-smoking sections, or prohibit smoking.

By requiring a place of business to indicate near its entrance whether it’s a smoking establishment, customers and potential employees would be aware of the environment they’re walking into.

The other difficulty presented by the concept of a smoking ban is that it represents a creeping tyranny.

As the American Spectator pointed out, “Smoking bans have gone from California oddity to standard practice, creeping to ever more absurd extremes. Outdoor bans are increasingly common, extending to wide open beaches, parks, and golf courses. Dedicated cigar bars and tobacco shops are under fire. Even the home, the last refuge for many smokers, is no longer free from the government’s encroachment in some cities.”

Reasonable people may or may not like smoking at a restaurant, bar or place of work, but most probably feel competent to make their own choices without having the government micromanage their lives.


Written by Cotton Boll Conspiracy

October 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Capitalism, Liberty

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. Well written.

    Kenneth Cosgrove

    October 22, 2009 at 11:33 am

  2. Although I have never smoked a cigarette in my life and can’t stand being around cigarettes, I hate the thought of telling a private business how to operate. If you don’t want to be around smoke, stay away from areas that allow it.


    October 22, 2009 at 8:03 pm

  3. […] blogged earlier this week on how smoking bans represent a violation of civil liberties. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Blowing SmokeBlind TaxesNo […]

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