Monday, September 15

Breathe-Right - It happened in California. It's happening in New York City. Can it happen here? I'm talking about a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars, and there's already a well-organized movement in DC. On the eve of a similar ban in Montgomery County, the WaPo listened in on the arguments pro and con.

As a life-long non-smoker, I'm in favor of the ban despite my libertarian leanings. It really isn't that hard to discern the truly noxious effects a bar-full of smoke, so the whining of "oppressed" cigarette addicts doesn't impress me much. Can they really not tell how disgusting the air polution in those places is? If you really need a nicotine fix that bad, buy some gum, and let the rest of us breathe.

The news today is that Monty Co. restaurant owners are suing to prevent their ban from going into effect. Sounds like a dubious legal argument to me. Has that tactic ever succeeded anywhere? Maybe on a technicality if legislative procedures weren't properly followed, but the idea of governments having the power to police indoor air quality seems pretty well established to me. I'm also skeptical of the economic arguments of restaurant owners -- which don't constitute a valid legal case anyway. Have you heard of lots of taverns going out of business in California or NYC?