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Smoking Bans Hurt our Economy!

Updated on November 13, 2011

Freedom of Choice!

an American enjoys the liberty and privacy of a self-made decision.
an American enjoys the liberty and privacy of a self-made decision.

Business Owners and Consumers Can't Afford Smoking Bans

It is perplexing to me, that in this time of crippling debts at both the federal and state levels, our legislators would insist upon penalizing one of their most generous sources of income; smokers. I find it equally baffling that those whom we’ve elected to serve our greater economic good would put in place a mandate that would cause such damage to small business owners who provide services to the public. All across this country (a nation that presumes itself to be the chief representative for the highest human ideals of civil liberty and personal freedoms) thousands of privately owned bars and restaurants have been forced to shut their doors for good, all for the sake of accommodating those who perceive smoking as a nuisance when they go out on the town. Supporters of such nationally trending legislative measures to ban smoking seem eager to criminalize the practice of smoking (entirely for their own personal convenience) without so much as a second thought as to the rights of privacy that such measures infringe upon. If we were discussing this topic in the context of the public arena, I would have no interest in writing on it. Sadly, however, it is private business that is the victim - and the liberty of our citizens that is being wagered. Also, I shall address the flimsy argument posed by those who whimper and drone incessantly to the tune of how smoking (and second-hand smoking) causes people ill (as if tobacco is some foreign substance from the Andromeda Galaxy which suddenly appeared in society, rather than a product who’s commerce greatly contributed to the founding of that very society).

To this very day, American citizens are welcome to take a pilgrimage to the holy Mecca of Democracy; the U.S. Capitol building. What do you suppose they would see if they were to cast their gaze upon the majestic columns contained within this building? If you guessed tobacco leaves, then you were indeed correct. Tobacco farming played an intrinsic role in the upbringing of Democracy, and it stands to reason that the incrimination of tobacco would reflect a sickness spreading from within this system. The power that man has to choose for himself is something symbolically represented through smoking tobacco, whether you approve of the practice or not. Having the freedom to make personal decisions that distinguish us individually and shape our lives is the belief of human empowerment that America has historically stood for and should always stand for. Citizens no longer value, nor comprehend the sanctity of the privileges granted unto them by our rule of law. They have lost their sense of taste and recognition for laws and legislation that inhibit freedom. In South Dakota, a state that champions the freedoms of gun-owners, the ban on smoking went into effect on November 10, 2010 at 12:01 A.M. For the greater good of our country, and by our duty as Americans, it ought to be repealed or amended as soon as possible.

Maybe I am alone in recognizing the blatant absurdity in the fact that many who label smoking as “dangerous,” have absolutely no qualms with allowing the practice of abortion to continue in a perfectly legal form. In fact, many would see the outlawing of abortion as a gross misuse of our government; stomping upon the rights of a woman to choose. For these, it is perfectly valid to label smoking as “dangerous,” although they evidently view abortion as a less hazardous, more socially acceptable practice. This is a single example of a very prevalent pattern of foundational philosophical contradictions, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy found from either side of the political spectrum. The philosophical justification for outlawing the practice of smoking in private establishments is simple; it doesn’t exist! At the least, it has absolutely no place in a country that calls itself the United States.

Some will choose to say that smoking is dangerous, and may affect the well-being of other citizens. If this is the problem, and the solution is to outlaw such a practice, then we had better not stop at smoking. Driving is a danger that kills an appalling amount of people annually, and could easily be considered as dangerous as smoking. If a bad driver is allowed on the road, isn’t it putting the well-being of other drivers at risk? Absolutely - and much more so than the risks of second-hand smoke. However, we never speak of second-hand driving risks. We also do not discuss, nor seriously consider outlawing the practice of driving as a solution, because we recognize driving as a legitimate liberty that should not be touched by the hands of politicians. My question then, is what constitutes smoking as a more acceptable problem to legislate away? What is the specific criterion for making such an important public decision, and where exactly do we as Americans choose to draw the line? I would hope the public would recognize this question as worth asking, and necessary for providing a legitimate answer to.

In fairness to those who simply cannot stand having to inhale a cloud of smoke during their dinner outing, there is a solution available for them that neither subtracts from any American taxpayer’s freedoms, nor necessitates a strenuous legislative process. It is a very simple and brilliant solution; eat somewhere else!! Hard to imagine, but in a country filled with a wealth of diversity in commerce and choices, can we find no other solution then to grossly misuse the law to pick winners and losers? Supply and demand dictates the variety of selection available to consumers. If there is a demand for seafood, more seafood restaurants will appear. The smoking bans have majority support, largely because the majority of people do not smoke. If most people don’t smoke, then it stands to reason that most restaraunts would be non-smoking, and this is so. In Ames, Iowa for example, according to the Ames Tribune, 65% of restaurants did not allow smoking (before their ban of smoking took affect) while 35% did. Is this not a wide enough advantage that non-smokers have over smokers when it comes to eating out? Apparently, most fail to recognize this point. Where is the outrage? Ah yes; it is directed toward people trying to make an honest living, rather than the authorities who seek to stomp on our flag behind a tie and suit.

For a subject that has such a clear contrast between what is right, and what the wrong decision is, I find it quite unbelievable to be sitting here and writing from the standpoint of having to make people aware of this topic. Does this show that people are becoming less enthusiastic about participating in democracy, or standing up for it? I believe so, and that is very troubling. One needs only to peruse briefly through the mountain of quotes to arrive at a solid conclusion about this topic. Therefore, don’t take my word for it; take the word from the founders of democracy instead. Thomas Jefferson said that, “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” (The Painful Truth Quote Corner, 1997) Lastly, I will leave you with a quote from British political writer and statesman, Edmund Burke. “The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” (The Painful Truth Quote Corner, 1997)

Works Cited

The Painful Truth Quote Corner. (1997). Retrieved October 28, 2011, from


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    • Chris Burnette profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Burnette 

      6 years ago

      Alecia Murphy - How can you logically claim to "respect peoples right to smoke," while maintaing that a government mandate that takes away the very right is an acceptable way to go about dealing with smoking? If you want to go to a smoke free restaurant - by all means, go to one. And let the people who wish to smoke go to theirs. That is called a free-market, and a government that makes the descicion for people is more dangerous than second-hand smoke, this I can say with confidence.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      As someone who is allergic to cigarette smoke, it is important that I feel I can go to places without breathing in secondhand or thirdhand smoke. While I respect people's right to smoke, it is one of those freedoms that ends where my well being begins. And it's not just me, there are alot of people sensitive to smoking and with all the information about smoking, it would be careless for the government to ignore the collective good rather than the freedoms of an ever decreasing minority.

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Driving may be a 'right', but it is still heavily legislated, e.g. traffic signals, one way systems, speed limits, car maintenance standards, etc. I tend to agree that private establishments, bars, restaurants, should be run according to management's discretion. However, what swung the argument in UK (and Europe generally) were the Health and Safety regulations which say, very reasonably, that employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Spending entire shifts in a smoke filled bar is not safe.


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