Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Kingfishery & Kingcakery: Ban on Smoking in Indoor Public Spaces in Louisiana - To listen to conservative talk radio, one would think that individual rights are being trampled on by the looming state legislation to ban completely smoking in public, indoor spaces like bars and restaurants. As a non-smoker, I'm all for the ban for a whole bunch of the typical reasons. Now, those conservative/libertarian types who complain about the prospects of such a ban and argue that it would infringe on the rights of bar and restaurant owners to run their own businesses as they see fit (not to mention the rights of patrons who don't mind killing themselves by inhaling smoke) have a very short-sighted take on the subject. Remember that the airlines went smoke free not because of passenger complaints, but rather because of employee lawsuits -- and the airlines determined that it would be better for business to go smoke-free. I think a general ban on smoking in public, indoor spaces would ultimately serve all constituencies. It would work towards protecting the public health of citizens (both smokers and non-smokers alike) AND it would protect businesses from the debilitating costs of future lawsuits from affected employees. If I were a bar owner who smoked, I would still have a ban on smoking in my place of business in order to protect myself from potentially litigous bartenders and barmaids. From my perspective, this is a good, conservative reason to support the ban.