Monday, May 01, 2006

Smoking Ban - Cat’s Paw (University of Kentucky)

If individuals do not want to be exposed to cigarette smoke, then they have the choice not to patronize places that allow smoking. This is no different than avoiding hard rock concerts if you don't want to expose yourself to the potential threat of wild fans, possible fights, bottle throwing etc.

If workers don't want to be exposed to cigarette smoke, then they can choose other work. This is no different than avoiding other hazardous jobs in agriculture, mining, or high rise construction.

If consumers and workers are willing to bear these costs at first and if the choices of FREE individuals (the market) dictate then smoke free facilities will arise to meet their needs. We have already seen this with restaurants like McDonalds and many other family restaurants.

With each choice there is a cost that must be borne by the consumer or worker. They may have to choose a different restaurant or job. . The effort to ban smoking is a pusillanimous attempt by such interested parties to force others to bear these costs, and to get quick results overnight. Also if you assume that the air in the restaurant that you own is part of the bundle of property rights associated with owning the establishment, then such a ban on smoking should be considered a "taking" of this property. The owners of these establishments should be compensated for the loss of property rights and financial damages that result.

If our own well being and safety in such small matters are reason enough for such an intrusion on our liberty, then such government policies will not stop with cigarettes. They are only the most obvious starting place. Fast foods, buffets, baking goods, and genetically modified foods could be next.

As Thomas Jefferson said long ago: “The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.”

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