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Stogie Commentary: Senseless Fascism

30 May 2006

In an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, Calabasas, California city officials are lauding their draconian law which prohibits all smoking outdoors, except in city-approved designated “smoking areas.” In effect, the city government has laid claim to and commandeered the air, preventing adults from exercising their individual rights to free choice.

Most reasonable people observing the Calabasas calamity from the outside agree that outdoor smoking bans go way too far. No scientific or medical data have ever even suggested that banning smoking outdoors reduces exposure to second-hand smoke.

Which brings us to the unfortunate heart of this controversial issue: If Calabasas officials aren’t trying to “protect” nonsmokers, they must be trying to “protect” smokers, the very people who are consciously choosing to smoke. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the aim of every smoking ban – whether outdoors or inside private buildings – is for the government to control the actions of consenting adults.

But what about the waitresses and bartenders who work in smoking facilities? What about all the nonsmokers who frequent these businesses? Aren’t smoking bans intended to protect these people from second-hand smoke?

First of all, the notion of second-hand smoke as an epidemic is totally overblown. While the AFL-CIO claims in a press release that “second-hand smoke is estimated to cause 65,000 deaths per year in the U.S.,” that number is just plain wrong. It’s 20 times the estimate of the Center for Disease Control, and even the CDC estimate was roundly rejected by a federal court.

Second, since public health isn’t really a factor, most nonsmokers who support smoking bans in private businesses do so because they don’t like the smell – not because they’re concerned for their health. “It gets in my hair,” they whine. Well, guess what? This is America. No one – I mean no one – has the right to ban the actions of others simply because they’re annoyed. That’s certainly not a principle America’s founding generation fought and died for.

What these aggravating gripers do have is the right to take their business elsewhere. As in any case in public policy, free markets – not government bans and regulations on private businesses – work perfectly. If there is a demand for smoke-free facilities, smart entrepreneurs will rise to the occasion. In fact, here’s a list of literally hundreds of nonsmoking facilities in my hometown provided by Smoke Free DC, the idiot group that squelched individual free choice in – of all places – our nation’s capital.

Finally, any waitress, bartender, or busboy who works in a smoking facility knew well in advance of his or her first day that customers’ smoke would come with the territory. If they’re so bothered by second-hand smoke, there’s plenty of other jobs out there to consider.

The bottom line is that consenting adults have rights to do with their bodies what they so please, and private business owners have rights to offer the accommodations they so choose. Whatever the perceived social ill, government regulation and intervention is almost certainly a “cure” worse than the disease.

-Patrick A


44 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: Senseless Fascism”

  1. Anonymous Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 4:52 pm #

    I think you guys need to rethink the "purpose" of your sight. As an average joe smoker I'm having a hard time identifying with your blog. Maybe its not meant for the "average joe smoker" but more for your crowd. Have either of you guys ever worked in the service industry or are you two just use to being served?

  2. Proud Smoker Tuesday, October 3, 2006 at 7:40 am #

    Nice ad hominem attack anonymous!

    Why deal with the substance of an argument when you can attack the messenger.

  3. Randy Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at 12:38 pm #

    I think the first guy needs to rethink the purpose of his face.

  4. dizionario Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 11:06 am #

    Nice site you have!

  5. uomo Monday, February 26, 2007 at 2:48 am #

    The information I found here was rather helpful. Thank you for this.

  6. napoli Tuesday, March 13, 2007 at 2:05 am #

    E evidente che il luogo e stato fatto dalla persona che realmente conosce il mestiere!

  7. Unknown Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at 10:14 am #

    I totally agree with you. People are just complainers and they need to deal with everyone else. So, what is next to take away, water? I wouldn't be shocked if farting in public was illegal next because people didn't want to smell like human waste. What about farms? Animals stink…? I'm confused by the people that want this ban! Busninesses are losing money and having to close…why did they bring cigarettes to the U.S. if you are not allowed to smoke? Let alone anywhere?

  8. Jerry Sunday, May 6, 2007 at 6:59 pm #

    Hey guys nice website! I don't agree with this article, but thats America isn't it? Keep up the good work.

  9. Valeria Peck Friday, June 20, 2008 at 2:03 am #

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  10. Ярослав Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    Круто. Подпишусь-ка я на РСС пожалуй. 🙂

  11. Anonymous Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    Прикольно и полезно, а будет еще что-нибудь из этой же серии?

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