A few days ago, Gov. Doyle signed a smoking ban into law, prohibiting smoking in all but a very few grandfathered businesses, and in all new ones. One of the local talk shows had a segment where they asked a group of people about it, and a surprising number were like me.
See, the smoking ban is good for me. I don’t smoke, and can’t stand the smell. In fact, there is at least one pretty good restaurant that I won’t go to, because I end up smelling like a chimney for the rest of the work day. After the ban takes effect next summer, I will be able to eat there without that concern.
Yet I oppose the ban. To me, a business should be free to choose that the business that they get from smokers is more valuable than the business they lose from people like me that don’t want to smell it. Likewise, a growing number of businesses realize that there are a lot more people that don’t smoke, and make their establishments smoke free to try to draw them in. It may cost some dollars from smokers, but they made a business decision that they were better off without it. I don’t have an inherent right to a smoke free environment in any restaurant I want to go to, and smokers don’t have a right to light up wherever they want. Restaurants can, and have, set rules on smoking, and that has worked pretty well.
I believe we should let the market decide this one, and it was good to hear a lot of people agreed with that. Let’s hope that more people start looking at things that way, and start holding poiticians to that standard.