Smoking Bans -- Property Rights
A new Georgia law recently went into effect. It banned smoking in all but the most restrictive of business environments. It bans smoking in all public resturants and businesses unless they restrict customers to ages 18 and over. Of course, this proposal was sold in part as being for the children.
I don't smoke. I have a daughter who has had some breathing issues that she seems to be outgrowing, but for that reason I have never taken her into restuarants with smoking.
I think this law is wrong.
The problem with laws like this is not that they violate smoker's rights. Nor that they favor one group like me -- people who prefer non-smoking environments (except for about 12 times a year I want a cigar in a public place). I admit that I benefit by having more places to take my whole family.
No, I don't really care about the smoker/non-smoker war of exchangeable rudeness. I do care about the true liberty denied by these unnecessary and unjust laws. These laws unfairly regulate the property/business owner. As such, they should be vetoed by any property and freedom respecting governor.
Gov. Perdue in Georgia played with the idea of vetoing this legislation. Georgia gets one of the highest percentage of libertarian party votes of all the states, in large part due to radio personality Neal Boortz. Purdue let the business owners down.
Now, many people take the position that smoking causes (1) inconvience or (2) health problems for other customers or employees. But in businesses that allow smoking, like bars and restuarnts, the owners don't hide from their customers or employees the smoking rules. There is victim in an environment that openly allows smokers to light up. No one is subject to unknown harmful air.
The patrons and employees have full knowledge of the smoking conditions immediately upon entering the premises. The right to cater to the business clientelle of one's choice should not be impacted by people who think that every business must cater to their every preference, and that every vice must be eliminated in their presence.
Society has moved towards non-smoking since I was a child. Many businesses went non-smoking on their own well before any government regulations forced them to. McDonalds comes to mind. Many more businesses believe, rightly or wrongly, that the profit maximizing choice is to allow smoking.
We all have the right to vote with our wallet. Vote for the smoking or non-smoking business of your choice. But let the business owner decide whether he or she wants your annoying smoking, or to listen to your annoying complaining about smokers. It isn't your right to tell the business owner to whom to cater. It is your right only to give him your business. Or not.