Butt Out

I am not nor ever have I been a smoker, nor do I particularly enjoy coming home reeking of cigarette smoke after a night on the town, but I’ve never presumed that I should force my preferences on bar and restaurant owners because I don’t like it.  I avoid heavily smoky establishments, as a general rule, and that worked for me just fine.  That’s why I’m dissapointed that Philadelphia’s smoking ban went into effect yesterday.  There is one saving grace for bar owners in the city:

Private clubs and restaurants whose food sales are less than 20 percent may apply for an exemption.

But I’ve never bought the studies that second hand smoke is really that dangerous, or that public health is anything other than a cover for enforcing the majority’s preference onto business owners.  Smoking bans are passing because most people find cigarette smoke objectionable, and for me, that’s never been a good enough reason to allow the government to interfere with a proprietor’s right to control what goes on in his or her establishment.

I know many will argue that there’s a serious public health concern here, but I just don’t trust statistical epidemiological studies that have reason to be politically motivated.  I think showing a little tolerance, and accepting a little risk, is worth it for us to continue living in a society where people can still exercise property rights, and enjoy habits that the majority finds objectionable.

One thought on “Butt Out”

  1. Hi Sebastian,
    Glad to see the blog’s up and running.
    As an occasional smoker (27 years in the music business, you name it, I’ve probably tried to ignite it and inhale at some time or other – much less so in my 40’s however) I’m in two minds.
    I will not smoke in front of children, because I hate to set a bad example. I will always ask if someone objects to my smoking, and in many houses I prefer to step outside, rather than force others to inhale my smoke. But I do like a cigarette with a pint, and cigars with Port or Brandy.
    However, most public places in England are pending a smoking ban, and many are anticipating such, leading to absurdities like characters in plays, in public theatres, being unable to follow set directions.
    We could hope that everyone had manners enough for this not to have become an issue, but the rules are there for the ill-mannered and stupid – they are always our anchor, dragging us into prohibitive legislation that affects all – but that’s why we have rules: because some people are stupid. Most of us aren’t, but the legislators know that we’ll accept their rulings because we all know of the sort of idiot who’d blow second hand smoke carelessly at a baby whether it affected them or not.
    Compulsory remedial education until 65 – I might vote for that if it gave the rest of us fewer rules, but I reckon it would cost too much.

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