Thursday, May 03, 2007

Public smoking ban in Illinois

The Illinois legislature has passed a bill, which governor Blagojevich is expected to sign, that will ban smoking in all bars and restaurants in Illinois. I was struck by a quote from the Chicago Tribune article about the bill, because it seems to capture so much of the statist approach to the subject.

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 Illinois, kidnapping nonsmokers and dragging them in chains to smoky bars. Apparently, in the worldview (or at least the propaganda) of the smoking ban proponents, entering a bar or restaurant where smoking takes place is not a voluntary act- it is forced on you, or just sort of happens at random.

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.

The ban takes effect on January 1st. It is, I'm sure, only a matter of time before some public health crusader proposes extending this to private homes. Why not? It follows logically from Yarbrough's argument. Can't have me "forcing" my cigar smoke on my guests, after all.


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18 comments:

Bill Williams said...

When they ban smoking, the gov't is effectively saying to private business owners that we can legislate how you run your private business.

How is this capitalism in a free market, in a free society? Censorships and bans sound like Fascism to me.

Fight for smokers rights!
http://www.smokinglobby.com

Anonymous said...

You can bemoan the Tobacco War all you want, but the matter is decided by politicians who do whatever they're bribed to do.
What can smokers do? BOYCOTT! That'll teach 'em.

Anonymous said...

I imagine that suggesting that bar owners simply post "Smoking Allowed - Enter at Your Own Risk" signs wouldn't have nearly enough totalitarian flavor to it to be seriously considered by Illinois legislators. Besides, the "threat" posed second hand smoke is so minimal that this prohibition is absurd. This is really about control and the insane notion that "everyone should be free from odors they find personally offensive wherever they choose to park their fannies".

Custom Blends said...

A common theme in the pro-ban forums is that any exposure is harmful, and that gives them the right to ban smoking.

When I provide links to sites/studies that counter their opinion, I'm honestly surprised at the wild-eyed howling responses.

Many of these pro-ban people have absolutely no understanding of the authority they blindly cede to an institution that does not have personal liberty at the heart of their policy-making. customblends.com

Anonymous said...

I think most of you are too selfish to see the real picture. YOU can choose to smoke and deteriorate your health at a faster pace than whats natural, but please don't force it on me. Thousands in Illinois alone die from second hand smoke... but no that's their fault for wanting to go out to a bar or restuarant, right? Everyone should have the right to eat where they please, with healthy air to breathe. If a smoker can't sit there for a couple hours without a cigarette, then it sucks for them... maybe they should find something better to base their life around.

Anonymous said...

Sooo.... when will the govenor ban bars and shut them down??!! How dare I smoke in a bar and jeapordize the health of some loser who's gonna drive home drunk and maybe kill some innocent family on the way??!!
Drinking in publ9ic is illegal, so is drinking and driving...., Yet, there are such things as bars???!!!! HMMMMM<<<< and by the way, when was the last time the taxes on alcohol were raised as frequently and as much as tobacco????!!!!
Idiots running the country / states
The price for cigarrettes should be lowered considerablly now, why dont we lobby to ban state government from taxing our cigarettes????!!!!

Anonymous said...

By the way, to the person above my last comment, "If you can't go a few hours without of esting in a restauraunt without having an alcoholic drink (as drinking in public is illegal) than that "sucks" for you!!!!
All bars, nation wide will be banned, as well as drinking alcoholic beverages anywhere but your home....

Chicago said...

the reality is that you believe that govt is effectively telling you how to run your business is not the case. a non smoker has the right to enter an establishment and be free of any discomfort that may cause or inact mentally or bodily harm. Thier is no safe distance of a person smoking that truth. people have the right to walk and roam freely with out the fear they are sucking down obnoxious fumes or smoke. The gov't Bill also regulates your business regardless. It can be seen as a health violation. please step out beyond your limited view of reality and take a good look at the real situations going on here..... with what anonymous said is reverse discrimination. A person has the right to any establishment but it is the right to refuse service, but in the context it doenst discriminate against a people based on religion based on color based on beliefs, sexual orientation, based on whether they are smokers or non....please be real or dont come at all....

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought.......remember Prohabition.....when do you think we might hear of the first "Smoke Easy" Bust.......c.s. smith

Anonymous said...

Where do all these people who say that second hand smoke kills more people each year than any other diseas????
Deaths, directly related to alcohol, claim far more lives each year than smoking.... (usually claiming the lives of completely innocent people

Anonymous said...

So...., essentially...., you're in a bar, and light up a cigarette.... and ou don't put it out when asked, and don't leave...., what will the athorities do???? Arrest me???? Then they had better be there to arrest each and every individual as they get into their cars later that night at that bar, the moment they turn the key and begin to drive!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness the smoking ban is almost here. We all share the same air and it should be kept as clean as possible. Its time for higher conscious individuals to take over government and lead things into the right direction. This is a shift into higher realms of positivity and for that I am pleased.

Anonymous said...

I am really sick and tired of people blaming second hand smoke for the majority leading causes of cancer. Does anybody ever consider the billows of black smoke from dump trucks that are not required to adhere to the same emission testing, or the fact that there is abundant traces of radon, or finally the fact that we are so damn dependent on technology and have cell phones stuck to our heads 24x7?

No of course not. We blame the first thing that we see. I am a smoker, however I am respectful and do not push my habit on to others, nor do I do it around others. What really upsets me is the fact that this so-called body of goverment is telling us how to live. No trans-fatty foods, now no smoking. I want to be able to go in to a restaraunt, eat a fatty steak and smoke a cigarette. I should have this choice. I am tired of the whiny non-smokers or ex-smokers complaining. Stay home then, as nobody is forcing you to stay in there.

As far as you "should have the right to enter an establishment without having to deal with smoke" Well tough shit, you are already dying and exposed to much more worse things than second hand smoke.

Terry said...

Here's a thought.
What if I want to open a bar, say I call it the "Smokers Bar" I have no employees, just myself. No one would ever be in there that didn't want to expose him or herself to smoke. Smokers Only! Can I do this? Absolutely not!
Does anyone think this sounds constitutional?
Terry bFiccardi
teryfic@comcast.net

Anonymous said...

We own homes in Illinois and Arizona - all of the arguments I'm seeing at your website were put forth in Arizona - and California - and every other state that has banned public smoking. The reality comes down to two issues, health and the fact that approximately 85% of adults don't smoke. Why should the great majority sit in a room filled with unpleasant, not to mention dangerous smoke? Simply makes no logical sense.

Anonymous said...

Cars would have to be banned as well to remove harmful air pollutants that can and do harm the human respiratory system. Businesses should be free to establish themselves as smoke free or smoke friendly or neutral, post it, and let patrons decide whether to be patrons, not turn over that right to the government. Ban smoking now, next they may move onto what you consider a reasoned right and turn it against you, like your supposed right to enter a smoke free establishment. What if they told you you had to do the opposite because that's the law decided (that all establishments had to promote smoking . . . and that you and your local business could not entertain ideas other than that mandate)? Is it fair, is it constitutional, is it what you wanted but flipped?

As a former childhood asthma sufferor, I understand wanting/needing clean air, but I understand that broad and generalized laws that takes away rights and privileges when the alternatives of exercising our freedom of choice of establishments and working with businesses, telling them our positions and even creating business that cater to those concerns could have created similar effects, I can not support those laws that create a favored populus. But hey, prohibition worked well last time, speaking easily of the subject.

synjones said...

Its great to stop smoking in the public places.By this they can control the health of the people.By smoking in the public places they own not spoil they life at the same time other will suffer a lot.I feel that its right, to have ban on the smoking.

synjones

California Dui

Rogers Susan said...

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) causes disease in non-smokers. Workplace bans on smoking are interventions to reduce exposure to ETS to try to prevent harmful health effects. The Irish Government on the 29th March 2004 introduced the first national comprehensive legislation banning smoking in all workplaces including bars and restaurants. http://www.chantixhome.com/