On Smoking

Filed in Social IssuesTags: Indiana

Chris Phillips comments on the proposed smoking ban in Greenwood, IN.

I don't know who I need to tell this to, but this is a start. Smokers, I believe you should be allowed to smoke in bars and areas of restaurants. But please, do us all a favor, please don't throw your butts on OUR streets and roads.

Agree, disagree? Link to this post, get people to think about this!

I'm a non-smoker, but I'm all for the right of people to smoke. I'm also all for the right of private establishments to set their own rules regarding smoking. The government has no business telling bars, restaurants, or any other private establishment what those rules must be. If I don't like the experience in an establishment that allows smoking, then I will exercise my right to express myself with both my feet and my pocketbook, and take my patronage elsewhere.

However, non-smokers have equal right to expect clean air in *public* places. I can't stand the "smokers' gauntlet" getting into or out of a building on a cold day. Y'all know what I'm talking about. Thus, I have no problem with - and even support - laws prohibiting smoking within a reasonable distance from building entrances.

Finally, as much as I support smokers' right to light up, it disturbs me to no end how often I observe smokers to be among some of the most inconsiderate people anywhere. If you want to smoke, it is your responsibility to clean up after yourself, and to dispose properly of your cigarette butts. And your right to smoke does not supercede MY right to breathe air free of smoke. Try standing farther away from the door that smokers and non-smokers alike must use. Keep your ash to yourself, don't let your smoke waft directly in my face, and don't exhale your smoke in my direction when at all possible. I'd prefer not to have either the first- or second-hand experience, thanks.

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4 Responses to “On Smoking”
  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for the link Chip. This has bugged me for awhile. I have seen a few bumper stickers recently regarding people’s tendency to dispose of butts on the side of the road, so I know I am not alone.

  2. Robert says:

    I’m a resident of Greenwood, and generally a libertarian on stuff like this. But I think you can actually make a pretty good argument that the government *does* have the right to tell businesses what they can and cannot do with respect to smoking. Cigarette smoke is proven to be toxic — and for some people like me, it causes immediate and severe allergic reactions — and so a ban in publicly-accessible restaurants (even if privately owned) will guarantee my right to a healthy environment. Yeah, there’s a lot of holes in that argument, but I think you can still make the case that a ban doesn’t constitute excessive govt. infringement into business.

    (Maybe with this ban in place I can finally have a meal again at Casa Miguel over on Madison Ave. in Old Town. The last time my wife and I ate there, the owners sat a party of 10 right next to us, in the nonsmoking section, and all 10 people immediately lit up cigarettes. When I complained. the owner told me that the 10 were regulars and they didn’t want to lose their business. I’ll give you three guesses how I responded to that. Sad.)

  3. cb says:

    Hi Robert, and thanks for stopping by!

    The problem I have is that a privately owned restaurant is *not* “publicly accessible.” The owner has the right to open or close his doors as he chooses, and all patrons are there at the assent of the owner.

    I do not have the unlimited right to be in any privately owned establishment. The owner has the right to require me to leave his premises for whatever reason he wants.

    (Now, good business sense would say that such an owner would want as many patrons as possible, and so would be as open as possible. But the choice remains his.)

    As far as I’m concerned, a private business owner can permit or deny access to whomever he chooses, for whatever reason.

    Does that mean that store owners have a right to discrimination based on bigotry in all its various forms? Yes. But the community also has the right to speak out vehemently against that bigotry, and to boycott such an establishment.

    Back to the point at hand:

    Eating in a restaurant is not a right. It is a service provided for profit by a business owner who has taken on a significant financial risk.

    Don’t like restaurants that allow smoking? Go to a restaurant that doesn’t. If none exist, start one.

    The free market will decide.

  4. John says:

    Actually, and I’m no lawyer, but a privately owned restuarant does not have unlimited rights. You may recall segregated diners. Notice how a privately owned restuarant cannot discriminate against those of another color? How about handicapped accessibility? One other thing – I hear people object to smoking bans with this argument: next thing you know I can’t eat a Big Mac. If you eat a Big Mac, or, 1000 Big Macs, I don’t get fat. But if YOU smoke around me, your exhalations can cause me to have health problems. A smoke free area in a restuarant is like a pee free area in a swimming pool. (I don’t agree with much of what George Carlin says, but….