The bill’s sponsor, Karen Yarbrough, is quoted as saying, “Smokers have a right to smoke, but… they should not have a right to force others to breathe their smoke.” This is an argument often made; allowing smoking in privately owned bars constitutes “forcing” nonsmoking patrons to suffer smoke exposure. When someone wants to claim the right to control smoking on someone else’s private property, this argument is almost always deployed.
I hear this so much, you’d think there were press gangs roaming the streets of
This fits in well with a common liberal worldview, I suppose, where normal people are helpless and devoid of all volition, and thus need their liberal betters save them. On this view, people can’t be trusted to make their own choices, and expecting people who dislike smoke to seek out alternative forms of entertainment on their own is too much to ask. Instead, the state has to save them by stopping the people who are “forcing” them to be around smoke.
On a less theoretical and more purely self-interested level, of course, are the people who like going out for food or drinks, but dislike the odor of smoke, and so want to use the government to force bars and restaurants to be more to their liking. This is quite common; I’ve heard people admit to it without any sense of shame or embarrassment, and I’m sure there are many more who think it but want to sound more high-minded. They're about as public-spirited as I would be if I lobbied the legislature to force my local bar to play only music that I like.