Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nanny State

Now my county is joining the ranks of those considering smoking bans. I am so over it. First of all, I am not a smoker. I grew up with asthma and my kids have respiratory issues a couple of times a year, so I am not a fan of smoking. However, I do not believe this is something that should be legislated.

I am a big supporter of letting the free market decide these things. If a restaurant chooses to allow smoking and the place is, therefore, overly smoky, then perhaps non smoking patrons will decide to eat elsewhere. If business suffers the restaurant owner then has two choices, either close up shop or ban smoking in his establishment. The free market will have spoken. However, if a bar is dictated it must ban smoking then many times folks just decide to stay home and these establishments suffer through no fault of their own.

Proponents of smoking bans quite often site poor working conditions as a reason to ban smoking. Dianne Wilson, with the S.C. Chapter of African American Tobacco Control stated at a meeting in my county last night, “All workers have the right to work in a smoke-free environment. My heart goes out (to those who work in a smoking atmosphere); what they are breathing in, is toxic.”

Ok, two thoughts in regards to Wilson's statement: first of all, no one made these folks take jobs in a smoke filled environment. Harsh? Maybe. However it is true. Second: have you met most food and beverage employees? According to a study of full-time foodservice workers between 18 and 64 years old, 46.9 percent of males smoked cigarettes during the past month versus 42.7 percent of females. The study also found that cigarette use in the workplace declined by age. In the foodservice industry, 50.2 percent of full-time workers aged 18 to 25 smoked, compared with 48.6 percent of workers aged 26 to 34; 40.6 percent of employees aged 35 to 49; and 35.0 percent of workers aged 50 to 64. (Read more:

So really that argument is pretty weak. Seriously? When did we become such a nanny state. This is just another one of those things that I strongly feel just does not need to be legislated. It is a slippery slope. The more laws we have governing our individual freedoms the more freedoms we lose, the more control over our daily lives we are giving up. This is not what this country is supposed to be about. 

Smoking is bad for you, we all know that. There is debate about second hand smoke. It is probably something you want to limit your exposure to, understandable. However, do we really need to tell restaurant and bar owners how to run their businesses?  Bottom line, smoking is not illegal and be careful how much power you give over to your government. Where will it end?


Darkwulfe said...

Great post and I couldn't agree more. I know I am a bleeding heart hippy tree hugging liberal (as my brother repeatedly tells me) but this is one of those things that I do not feel the government has any control of. You are absolutely correct in saying that the free market would decide this. I think this falls right along into the whole "liquor on Sunday" fight. One group of people pushing their values on other people and trying to use the system to do it. Great Post!

Jay said...

I totally agree. One of the few things that both parties can truly be bipartisan on is they both love these smoking bans. I hate them. I agree that the market should decide. If I own a restaurant or a bar and I allow smoking and nobody comes to my place, then I'll have to change or close up.

Jetsa said...

Preach it cousin!

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the few that seems to support these bans. I don't feel that we should all have to breathe shitty smelling air just to appease someone else's habit. Yeah, those who dislike smoke can go somewhere else to eat, but why should WE have to? WE aren't the ones making others uncomfortable. I am all for letting people smoke if they choose, but they should do it in a place where it isn't infringing on others' right to clean air. Also, I have had to work in a smoking environment that I didn't care for... it sucks and there isn't always somewhere else to work. The free market will always wuss out due to the fear of losing a dollar, but smokers will still eat and still drink if there are bans. There aren't that many non-smoking places to go, to be honest. And few businesses want to venture out being the first non-smoking places so... it doesn't happen often without a ban. Why does everyone kiss their asses? Let's just have smoking in hospitals,schools, grocery stores and everywhere else again if it's not that big of a deal.... Did people throw anti-government hissy fits then?

Okay, I'm sure my view is unpopular, but it's mine.

Matt-Man said...

Amen and Praise Jeebus!! I am with ya on the elimination of the Nanny State dictates. You may say that I am a proponent of banning all bans. What? Cheers Mandy!!

Evil Twin's Wife said...

The Evil Twin smoked for *years* before and after I met him. I don't like to breathe it, but I totally agree with you. Next up: banning smoking in your own home. said...

Yes! And gummit should not inspect kitchens and require workers to wash their hands after peeing either.

This is a workers health issue, not a customer health issue.

Get government out of business.

Coal mine owners will do the right thing to protect workers. Car makers will tell us when a defect needs to be fixed. Oil companies will be careful with the environment. Banks will act responsibly with money invested with them!

Businesses will contribute to Soc. Security and provide health insurance and not work people more than 40 hours a week without extra compensation.

If you think gummit is all over businesses with regs already you are sadly misinformed.

You don't really want the free market... with NO gummit intervention, trust me. said...

*isn't* all over... said...

Oh yeah, one more point: Tobacco is the ONLY product that when used AS DIRECTED will kill you

Tobacco use should be banned.

Opinionated Gifts said...

I live in New York City and we've had this ban for several years now.

(Every mayor of NYC has at least one thing they are a fascist about, this is Bloomberg's)

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. Like Darkwulfe I am a bleeding heart liberal on a lot of issues, but with a strong libertarian streak. (the two are not mutually exclusive).

The health issue makes me uncomfortable for similar reasons that it bothers you, except sometimes there aren't a lot of choices regarding employment. Having worked both as a waiter and as a cook/chef though I can also say that a good number of restaurant employees are smokers themselves, though I find the numbers you site somewhat suspect. A LOT of restaurant employees are very much not smokers.

I myself hate eating in a place where I have to inhale the wretched stink of cigarettes and for years I stopped going to bars and many restaurants because I got tired of wanting to do the laundry immediately after.

We've found that the ban hasn't so much affected the market. But this is New York, land of eating out. And frankly you do have the right to smoke, but you don't have to right to make me smoke. There really isn't a debate about second hand. The evidence is in. Inhaling smoke is bad for you. Period.

However, it seems to me to be more reasonable to have establishments apply for smoking licenses the same way you have to get a liquor license. This allows the owners to attract the kind of patrons they want.

Time has shown that this ban really doesn't affect revenue in the long run for restaurants, so at least in NYC, that argument doesn't really hold.

But I too am uncomfortable with the "nanny state" on this particular issue, despite enjoying being able to go to bars again without wanting to vomit the moment I walk through the door.

Jenny Meredith said...

I'm with Mrs. D. I'm all for people doing dumb stuff that only hurts/kills themselves, but government should step in when it endangers the health of others.

duvetdiva said...

In the UK we have a smoking ban, it sucks.
basically you cant smoke anywhere indoors unless its your own home. and even then its tricky.
if you live in a local authority house, you may not smoke on veranda's, communal walkways or inside your property if council workers are present.
info about the UK smoking ban can be found here.
I noticed when i was in the states that california is very anti smoking unless of course its weed..
whilst out walking by a river 2 guys on bikes decided to hurl insults at me for smoking in the open air because my son was in his stroller. he was asleep and under a rain cover 5ft away from me for that very reason.
i also remember reading something about not allowing you to smoke in your own car if you have a child, whether it be in or out of the car.

Darkwulfe said...

So in summary. When has the government gone to far in ursurping the rights of far must the government go before we will stand up against them and defend the simple right to choose for ourselves? At what point do we stop allowing the rationale that if something has any ill effects on other people then it has to be regulated, controlled and outlawed? Well the answer is long as MY rights aren't being infringed upon it really doesn't matter. Because in today's "Me society" I am the only one that matters and my rights are the only ones that count.

Mike said...

Next thing you know they'll want to regulate how fast I drive on the highway! Bastards!!