Smoking Bans

I have little hope of reviving the off-case forum, but Summer is spent reloading Facebook and Reddit between book-reading sessions as it is… so this can’t hurt.

I am curious what the community has to say about public smoking bans. My hometown of Springfield, MO is about to vote on whether to overturn a public smoking ban. Most of the people in favor of the repeal are the angry-libertarian types who struggle to justify public education, let alone government imposed public health habits. The opposite side is some soccer moms and such, but also a lot of reasonable people who hate being around cigarette smoke. The local radio arguments [almost] always boil down to second-hand smoke bad vs. right to smoke.

I’m not sure as sure about this one as I would like to be. My initial reaction is to reject smoking bans. The second-hand smoke argument seems to be mostly a red-herring, because many of the studies I have read talk about the health effects over a long and sustained period of time. Cancer concerns and the like seem to be fairly minimal with second-hand smoke interaction at restaurants and clubs [places that people want it limited/would be most changed by a ban]. I do worry about people with asthma and allergies being exposed, but that seems to be a concern that is dealt with by a business posting that smoking is allowed on their premises.

On the other hand, I really hate cigarette smoke. It makes my clothes smell bad, makes my eyes hurt, and is generally unpleasant to be around in a closed environment. The effect of smoking bans is that the places I like to go to are more inviting and I have a better time. The right to smoke is almost a silly notion. Yes… you should be able to smoke, but does that mean your actions should get to negatively effect the people around you? It seems like some reasonable line needs to be drawn.

In the end,I think I am not down with smoking bans. If I want to open a seedy bar and cater to my lowly tabacco-obsessed debate friends, I would like to think I could. I’m not into preserving business autonomy that much, but on an individual level it seems like there should be control of your own place.

Sorry if this is terribly uninteresting. We can be more profound when this summer malaise passes.