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Washington State Smoking Ban Initiative

Unable to get their agenda pushed through the legislature (who finally got something right in this state), the anti-smoking lobby has decided to take a shot at the trusty ol’ Washington State Initiative process.

I am a non-smoker, and I pretty much detest the smell. However, I do not agree with the idea of banning smoking from all indoor public places. There are plenty of smoke-free venues available today, and I can choose to go to them if I want that environment. And I strongly believe we should allow the same choice to smokers. I have never been forced, save when I was little and forced by my parents, to eat in a smoky resturant, or attend a smoky event. Why do we need to legislate to take away choice when we already have the choices we want to make? Why can’t we allow that same choice to others, even if they choose differently than us?

Given my track-record at what I want versus what I get, this one seems destined to pass. Why is it that people find it so neccesary to take away other people’s liberty? Be it thourgh despotism, republicanism, or the tyranny of the majority as in this case, it seems that people just won’t live and let live.

9 Responses to “Washington State Smoking Ban Initiative”

  1. Erik Thulin Says:

    I have always firmly believed that as long as it does not hurt others you can do what you damn well please (legalization etc). But smoking where everyone is inhaling your second hand smoke and you are damaging their lungs, that is bordering on assault. No, I should not have to sit in a particular part of a restraint, or only go to certain events just because I want to keep my lungs in full working condition.

  2. nordsieck Says:

    I totally disagree. The thing that you are not considering is that these are private establishments. If this is state land you are concerned about then you might have a valid point – and a valid justification for using the power of the majority to enforce your will upon others, but to force a resturaunt owner or similar individual to ban smoking from his or her private establishment simply because of your proclivities is an unconsciousable and unjustified violation of that person’s liberties.

  3. Ryan Says:

    What he said. ^^

    Erik, walking into a place where you will breathe secondhand smoke and saying that the smokers are assaulting you is like walking behind the targets on a gun range and claiming that the shooters are trying to kill you. You are placing the blame on the wrong people. It is you who should get out from behind the targets if you don’t want to be shot. Likewise, you should get out of the restaurant if you don’t want ot breathe the smoke. Nobody forces you to eat there.

    For that reason, you should have to avoid resturants and certain events if you want to keep your lungs in full working condition. Why do you see it fit to push the blame for the consequences of your actions onto others? And what about this blatant anti-smoker discrimination? The laws and ordinances going into place against smokers are draconian in many cases. Sure, smoking is not healthy, but why ostracize smokers as well? Thye made a choice; a bad one in my view, and your don’t have to agree with it either, but treating them like second-class citizens because of that choice strikes me as unneccesary and hurtful.

  4. nordsieck Says:

    As an adendum to my comment, I think that you might be getting mixed up with the whole “yelling fire in a crowded theater” public safty issue.

    The reason why yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, lighting a camp fire in the woods, or openly carrying a fire arm in an urban area are all prohibited is that they are easily controllable behavious that tend to cause a cascade of uncontrollable events in the immediate future.

    Smoking certainly doesn’t meet this standard. Although second hand smoke is nominally dangerous (it is arguable whether or not the level of second hand smoke that you come into contact with is above the level of noise as a factor for your demise), it certainly does not create the risk of a much more dangerous and uncontrollable situation, in the immediate future, because of a cascade of events.

  5. Ryan Says:

    Thanks again Theo. Your analysis is, to me at least, clear, straightforward, and convincing. The distinction between smoking as a pulbic safety issue versus, for example, brandishing firearms in public areas is an interesting one that illustrates your point well. Although…

    …if people regularly walked around with exposed firearms in public places, it wouldn’t be such a panic-inducing phenomenom. The only reason it is panic inducing these days is because it’s so rare, and when it does happen it usually means something bad. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If we citizens took our right to carry arms half as seriously as our right to free speech (which we don’t take nearly seriosuly enough either), there would be a lot more public displays of firearms (PDFs). I digress, but oh boy was it fun.

  6. Bernie Zimmermann Says:

    Guess it’s either bowling or lung cancer…hmm.

  7. Ryan Says:

    Oh come on Bernie, you know not black and white like that. I’ve been in plenty of places with smoky atmospheres, and my lungs are still quite healthy, thank you very much.

    While I think its great that fewer and fewer places choose to cater to the smoking clientele (it means more places I can enjoy without being bugged by smoke), I also think its great that it is happening without government involvement – and it will continue to happen without government involvement as demand shifts. There are places that simply wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t allow smoking (Hurricane Cafe in Seattle, for example), and forcing this on to them would be a shame. Let them choose who they cater to, and let yourself choose which establishments you want to frequent.

    You live in America. You are an empowered consumer. The dollar speaks plenty loud. You don’t need government and the threat of force to create positive change in the world. Remember, the government that presumes to have the power to force business owners to disallow smoking (the lifeblood of some establishments) is the same government that presumes to have the power to take away your lifeblood in the name of some ethereal “public good.”

    I say government shouldn’t have the power to interfere unless your choices interfere with the rights of others (and breathing clean air when you choose to go into an establishment that allows smoking is not a right! It is a natural consequence of our choice to go into the establishment. To choose not to do that, I would say is a right).

    Only once we give up our ambitions of controlling those around us can we truly have liberty.

  8. Jay Says:

    Allowing a Class A Carcingen to remain in the workplace is not something that should be “owner’s choice”. “Property rights” at the expense of public health is Libertarianism gone too far. By the way, I’m a libertarian who realizes that not all freedoms are absolute, and rightfully so.

  9. Ryan Says:

    Come on now… If you don’t want to work at a place where people smoke, quit. Its really quite empowering. I have trouble believing that any libertarian would support this cause, especially for the reasons you give. First of all, this is not property rights versus public health. This is property rights versus the health of individuals who choose to frequent an establishment. Smoking at a restaurant doesn’t spew carcinogens into your home. There is no public health issue involved whatsoever.

    Now, you’re absolutely right – not all freedoms are absolute. In fact, I think that none are, save perhaps freedom on conscience. Your rights extend only so far as they do not infringe on the rights of others.

    But I do not consider working wherever you want and also having that place be smoke free to be a fundamental right. Certainly, the ability to leave that place of work, and to start your own place where smoking is not allowed is an extension of the fundamental personal liberties, but how on earth do you derive a right to work free from smoke from any set of fundamental rights?

    One should not be exempt from the consequences of their choices. It probably hurts my health some when I choose to eat at a resturant that allows smoking, but I enjoy that choice (which I do exercise fairly regularly) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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