28 August 2009

Meatless Friday Friday, Part II

I don't smoke. I have never smoked. Not even once. I find it utterly disgusting. I state this up front to give you my bias.

But the rush to ban smoking in public establishments like restaurants strikes me as unconstitutional and just another step on the road to soft totalitarianism. If a restaurant or bar wants to allow smoking, guess what-- I can choose not to go there. There is nothing in the constitution that requires me to go to the casino, nor has the Leader yet made it mandatory.

And this is not the equivalent of banning persons of a particular race or gender (discrimination on these grounds is prohibited by the constitution), nor is it the same as allowing drug use (this, unlike smoking tobacco, is illegal activity).

In the end, the viability of the business will be affected by its decision. If enough people refuse to patronize a diner because of the smoke, the business will either ban it, provide effective separate seating or go out of business. Likewise, if smokers keep a place in business because it allows smoking, then it benefits them and the business.

Do we really need to run everybody else's lives this minutely?


Anonymous said...

I think it was George Carlin who said "Having a non-smoking section in a restaurant is like having a non-peeing section in a pool."

These cases are being decided on NOT on the federal level, and usually not at the state level (CA is the exception), but at the local level.

Turning the question back - is it okay that parts of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and others have 'dry counties?" I don't know the answer, it just seems it'd be the same set of principles.

Finally - where DO you come up with these pictures??? They're awesome!

thetimman said...

Awesome Carlin quote!

The pictures are out in the ether.

TGL said...

You make some valid points. I was never one to totally avoid a restaurant because it allowed smoking, but I must admit that now that Kansas City has totally banned smoking from bars and restaurants (but not casinos), the dining experience is much more pleasant than before. One consideration you omitted was the workers in the restaurant. Shouldn't they have a right to work in a smoke-free environment? You might say, well, if they don't like it, they don't have to work there. Unfortunately, as a practical matter (especially these days), a lot of restaurant workers aren't in a position to up and quit, and hold out for a job in a non-smoking establishment. The previous commentor made a very valid point. These non-smoking initiatives are, for the most part, taking place at the localest of levels. Wouldn't you agree that's where this type of legislaton should be debated and made? You can't pin this one on President Obama.

KP said...

I'm with you Timman, I've never smoked even once and also find it completely disgusting. However, I also agree that people have the right to smoke if they so choose. Not all vices can be outlawed or mankind would go crazy. Thus, I also am completely against the banning of smoking in all eating establishments. While I don't like to be the guy sitting next to the smoking section, I also know to avoid places like bars and bowling alleys due to their smoky atmosphere and am rarely, if ever, inconvenienced by other people's smoking habits. It's no more fair (or right) to prohibit all people from smoking in any eating establishment than it is to allow smoking in all parts of every restaurant. A smoking section might not make an entire restaurant smoke free, but it does limit the smokey-ness of the restaurant and is a good comprimise. And, like you pointed out, if the patrons of a particular restaurant really hate its smoking policy, they should talk with their feet. Smokers are not second-class citizens!

Anonymous said...

They let people walk around with tuberculous and AIDS freely.

The next time you go into a restaurant and drink from that glass, coffee cup, or pick up that fork, knife, or spoon, ask yourself how well they were washed. Don't forget the person eating at the next table who sneezes and coughs all over the place. Germ city.

Point being - smoking is the least of our problems.

Anonymous said...

One more thing: Consider the very air you breathe. FILLED with pollutants galore.

Cigarettes and their smoke really are the least of our problems.

Anonymous said...

I really must learn how to spell...that should be tuberculosis.

Athelstane said...

There are not many traddy bloggers who would think to use a shot from THE YOUNG ONES. And that's one of the reasons you stand out from the crowd, Timman.

And your point on smoking is well taken.

Non-smoker said...

I am in Russia now, and have NEVER seen so many smokers in my life!!!!! It stinks everywhere. I think that Kentucky is the only state that can come anywhere near the smoking here.

So why ban it? Americans are not smoking as much as they used to because of education. As much as I hate the smell of smoking I do not think the government needs to ban it anywhere. What will they ban next? Candy? Fattening foods?

Anonymous said...

Americans are not smoking as much as they used to because of TAXES.


Latinmassgirl said...

You are incorrect, Anonymous. The people that smoke the most are the lower middle class and the poor. If they were concerned about the heavy taxes, then they wouldn't smoke and it would be a habit for mainly the rich. It is because most people realize the harm of smoking to one's body that there aren't as many lighting up.

Raising taxes on smoking was never about lessoning the amount of smokers. That was only what liberal politicians wanted us to believe. They will raise taxes on "bad for you foods next." Another sneaky way to do one thing - have more government control by procuring more money for payoffs and hand-outs.

Anonymous said...

LMG, both factors are at play, certainly, taxes and general knowledge about the harm that cigarettes play have tended to lower smoking.

My point was not meant to be that it was taxes instead of education.

Instead, my point was meant to make the point that you mase more clearly, which is that government can and tax behaviors that it wants to limit, like cigarette smoking, eating fatty foods, and being a productive (economically speaking) member of society.

I would say that the main purpose behind all of those things is to control more and more of our lives, but at least the first two can be passed off as "good for you" with a reasonably straight face.

(And just so I am making myself clear, I am not in favor of taxing cigarettes or fatty foods or alcohol or raising taxes just to spread the wealth.)

Anonymous said...

This isn't about the government controlling people. The fundamentals of the constitution and common law are that no one should be allowed to do something that encroaches on someone's individual rights. One of those rights i think people would agree on is to be able to breath clean air and remain healthy. As studies show second hand smoke can be very harmful. So people that have to work in a smoking environment and people that want to attend these facilities should not have to have their personal health jeopardized. People are still allowed to smoke outside, god forbid they cant have their cigarette while eating a steak...