I know, cigarettes and second-hand smoke are dangerous. If you breathe even the smallest microgram of tobacco smoke, you are instantly infected with tiny microbes that cause all seventeen thousand known varieties of cancer, and your risk of developing emphysema increases by six hundred percent.
But I’m not here to argue about whether smoke is dangerous, dirty, icky, smelly and gross, because all of those things are demonstrably true. I started smoking in college to impress a girl, and I’ve regretted it ever since. I’m going to quit Real Soon, hopefully before it kills me.
The smoking ban due to take effect at midnight tonight is a bad thing. I know it comes from good intentions and I know that those who support it have their hearts in the right places. Cigarettes are bad. People shouldn’t smoke.
But businesses should have the right to decide whether people can smoke on their premises. Prospective employees can choose not to work at such locations. Patrons who prefer clean air can choose to eat or drink elsewhere. We the people can vote with our wallets.
But that’s simply not good enough for hands-on governments and the people behind them. Governments should trust that its citizens can decide for themselves what they should and shouldn’t do, and trust that business owners and their employees can decide whether they want to work under clouds of smoke.
The answer to almost every question of government policy is this: more freedom, more choice, more individual liberty. The smoking ban, and the injustice it represents, is no different.