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I recently listened to arguments on Doc Thompson's show about a law being backed by Governor Cain regarding limiting smoking at all eating and drinking establishments. I come from a state (Massachusetts) that has already eliminated smoking in all public businesses with few exceptions. Doc Thompson was adamant in his defense of smokers rights as defending individual liberty. I take exception to that and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I believe that people should have a right to do as they please up to the point where it begins to affect other people. I agree that there is a fine line that can be drawn as to where ones behavior begins to affect others and it is indeed a treacherous road. I do however believe in the right of states to decide as a people where that line needs to be drawn. I do not believe there is any argument as to wether I have the right to eat in restaurants as you all do. I also believe that I should be able to do so without you imposing on my space in that restaurant. As such I have no problem with restrictions on smoking in public spaces.

I understand the free market argument I just don't buy it here. In Massachusetts for years people would say that if restaurants were not allowed to have smoking people would just goto New Hampshire to eat. It was also said that if there was a market for smoke free restaurants then there would be smoke free restaurants. Of course there weren't any smoke free restaurants and to goto a restaurant one would have to suck up everyones smoke and deal with their clothes smelling like smoke as well. This is where smoker's "rights" were impeding on everyone else's rights. So Massachusetts finally passed a law eliminating smoking in restaurants and bars. It was particularly worded to protect the workers at these establishments. I find it ridiculouse to say that if you don't want to deal with the cigarette smoke you should get a different job.

When the law was passed in Massachusetts a funny thing happened. More people started going to restaurants and lounges. Public health has also made strides with reduced heart and lung disease in every state that has limited smoking in the work place and restaurants.

I believe there are possible compromises that could be made like allowing smoking at primarily drinking establishments but not in restaurants. Or in one state there was a cut off time where no smoking was allowed before 8pm. This allowed families to go out to eat without exposing there children to smoke.

To be honest I don't much care if this law passes or not as I don't eat out much and if I do I find the no-smoking sections just fine. My problem here is that I see the point of restricting smoking and it has a lot of merit. Doc Thompson framed his opinion as though defending smoking were some sort of conservative principle and while I believe conservatives should fight for individual liberty, that liberty ends when your smoke crosses my table.

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Smoke aggravates my allergies and asthma. Non-smoking sections are just not effective. As much as I dislike to agree with Gov. Kaine on anything, I think it is a public health issue as much as anything.
I am a very light smoker, 3 or 4 cigs a day and an extremly smoky environment does make me somewhat uncomfortable but nowhere near as much as some perfumes do. I cannot remain in a store like Pier One Imports, the World Market and many craft stores for more than a few minutes without allergy induced asthma because of all the scents. I also cannot sit in the vicinity of people who wear heavy perfumes. Those deodorizing plug-ins also do a number on me. (Cigarette smoke does not do that to me but some cigars do). Should they ban all those items? Should I be able to sue if I go into somebody's home and end up with a strong allergic reaction to the scents? Should they ban those items to save money that would be spent on allergy treatments? Should they close down the perfume counters in department stores? After all don't we all the right to shop without being made ill?
My choice is to leave the offending environment rather than have the government protect me because soon enough they will find an excuse to regulate all our actions, There should simply have some smoking and some non-smoking establishments, they could maybe have smoking licenses like they do liquor licenses.
Health Risks of Perfumes:
http://www.carefair.com/Beauty/Fragrance/Health_Risks_of_Perfumes_6...
I firmly believe, like most libertarian Republicans, that banning smoking in restaurants should be left to the total discretion of the owners of such establishments and not the government.

When are people going to get tired of the government making decisions for them.
Again I must reiterate that I do not believe this is not a personal liberty issue. Your liberties end where they affect the liberties of others. Comparing smoking to perfumes is apples to oranges as smoking is damaging to ALL who inhale it not just those with allergies. The argument should be whether smoking is enough of a hazard to justify protecting people from it. Since most people argue it as a liberty issue I believe it is because they know they would lose that argument on the public health basis.

Consider this. People argue against banning abortion saying that abortion is an issue of personal liberty. They do not want the liberty of the unborn child considered because in this case their liberty would infringe on the liberty of that child and would damage their argument. By successfully arguing this as a personal liberty issue they effectively used the courts to end the argument.

If you use Suzanne's perfume argument as a personal liberty issue I could go into a resaurant and put an incense stick on the table. Suzanne at the table next to me could find this extremely offensive and complain to restaurant management. Not the restaurant manager has to choose whose personal liberty he wants to respect. If you look at is a a public health issue you could say that burning the incense at my table is having a negative health impact on people at other tables. Since I clearly do not need the incese the public health decision would favor not allowing the incense at all.

I guess if you look at is as not personal liberty but the business owners liberty you would make more sense. The business owner makes the decision what he wants his establishment to smell like. A candle shop owner certainly would want people to smell the candles upon walking in the door. Someone allergic to those scents would know not to frequent that establishment. But then candle scents are not a public health hazard except to a select group of people with allergies.

Where do you draw the public health line. We inspect the kitchen for contaminents, we inspect the food at restaurants for contaminants yet you are suggesting that we cannot expect them to keep the air clean. It could be that all is necessary is for restaurants to isolate smoking areas or it could be that that still offers a health risk to other people in the room. It may be just a question of proper ventallation. I find this most likely as I have been in restaurants that allowed smoking where I could not smell the smoke at all and I've been in others where it wreaked of smoke.

I still contend though that this is NOT a personal liberty issue and that that is an argument used by smokers who know they lose the argument on a public health basis.
Mark- You seem to all over the map with your arguments. The fact of the matter is the Constitution protects life from conception to natural death. The Constitution does not address smoking or perfume or candles, but I do have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That includes the government not telling people what they can or cannot do. You have said you have no problems with non-smoking sections in restaurants, just let it there while your ahead. Or, allow business owners to choose what type of atmosphere they will have in their establichments, just don't go to ones who allow smoking in an form, and that also applies to any others who don't smoke, and believe it is the governments job to please them with their objections. You have choices in the matter, stop trying to take away the choices of others.

Mark Collins said:
Again I must reiterate that I do not believe this is not a personal liberty issue. Your liberties end where they affect the liberties of others. Comparing smoking to perfumes is apples to oranges as smoking is damaging to ALL who inhale it not just those with allergies. The argument should be whether smoking is enough of a hazard to justify protecting people from it. Since most people argue it as a liberty issue I believe it is because they know they would lose that argument on the public health basis.

Consider this. People argue against banning abortion saying that abortion is an issue of personal liberty. They do not want the liberty of the unborn child considered because in this case their liberty would infringe on the liberty of that child and would damage their argument. By successfully arguing this as a personal liberty issue they effectively used the courts to end the argument.

If you use Suzanne's perfume argument as a personal liberty issue I could go into a resaurant and put an incense stick on the table. Suzanne at the table next to me could find this extremely offensive and complain to restaurant management. Not the restaurant manager has to choose whose personal liberty he wants to respect. If you look at is a a public health issue you could say that burning the incense at my table is having a negative health impact on people at other tables. Since I clearly do not need the incese the public health decision would favor not allowing the incense at all.

I guess if you look at is as not personal liberty but the business owners liberty you would make more sense. The business owner makes the decision what he wants his establishment to smell like. A candle shop owner certainly would want people to smell the candles upon walking in the door. Someone allergic to those scents would know not to frequent that establishment. But then candle scents are not a public health hazard except to a select group of people with allergies.

Where do you draw the public health line. We inspect the kitchen for contaminents, we inspect the food at restaurants for contaminants yet you are suggesting that we cannot expect them to keep the air clean. It could be that all is necessary is for restaurants to isolate smoking areas or it could be that that still offers a health risk to other people in the room. It may be just a question of proper ventallation. I find this most likely as I have been in restaurants that allowed smoking where I could not smell the smoke at all and I've been in others where it wreaked of smoke.

I still contend though that this is NOT a personal liberty issue and that that is an argument used by smokers who know they lose the argument on a public health basis.
Mark- You want the government, local or otherwise to ban smoking, and you want the government, local or otherwise to require school uniforms. I am starting to get the feeling that you are a social liberal. Is that so? Because the liberals thrive on what citizens can and cannot do thru mandates.
I suggest that Virginia follow the City of Louisville plan for smoking in restaurants. It is a plan that WORKS!! The plan calls for smokers to retire to an outside area where smoking is allowed (and encouraged) and where some restaurants, such as TGI Fridays, actually have an outdoor veranda for smokers to use. Initially, the city ordinance was shot down by the Kentucky Supreme Court because they had an exception for Churchill Downs. The City Council negotiated with Churchill Downs officials, rewrote the ordinance without exceptions and it is NOW law !! It has withstood constitutional muster! And, surprise, surprise - business IMPROVED, revenue INCREASED, more FAMILIES went out to eat at restaurants and smokers did not have a problem with ANY of it. So, before anyone starts to condemn "smoking bans", I suggest you look at what Louisville, Ky has done. The PLAN works!!
Patrick N. Washington said:
I firmly believe, like most libertarian Republicans, that banning smoking in restaurants should be left to the total discretion of the owners of such establishments and not the government.
When are people going to get tired of the government making decisions for them.

Agree. I don't smoke, and second hand smoke bothers me. If there's an excess of smoke in a bar etc. I don't patronize that business, I go somewhere else. I can avoid second hand smoke myself, I don't need a government law to protect me, and I'd rather my Chief Executive and Legislative Representatives focus their time and energy in other directions.


Brad Smith said:
Patrick N. Washington said:
I firmly believe, like most libertarian Republicans, that banning smoking in restaurants should be left to the total discretion of the owners of such establishments and not the government.
When are people going to get tired of the government making decisions for them.

Agree. I don't smoke, and second hand smoke bothers me. If there's an excess of smoke in a bar etc. I don't patronize that business, I go somewhere else. I can avoid second hand smoke myself, I don't need a government law to protect me, and I'd rather my Chief Executive and Legislative Representatives focus their time and energy in other directions.
And in passing that law, all of the people lost a "personal liberty." Wonder what will be next?

William M. "Bill" James said:
I suggest that Virginia follow the City of Louisville plan for smoking in restaurants. It is a plan that WORKS!! The plan calls for smokers to retire to an outside area where smoking is allowed (and encouraged) and where some restaurants, such as TGI Fridays, actually have an outdoor veranda for smokers to use. Initially, the city ordinance was shot down by the Kentucky Supreme Court because they had an exception for Churchill Downs. The City Council negotiated with Churchill Downs officials, rewrote the ordinance without exceptions and it is NOW law !! It has withstood constitutional muster! And, surprise, surprise - business IMPROVED, revenue INCREASED, more FAMILIES went out to eat at restaurants and smokers did not have a problem with ANY of it. So, before anyone starts to condemn "smoking bans", I suggest you look at what Louisville, Ky has done. The PLAN works!!
Requiring other people to leave an establishment so that you can smoke is NOT YOUR PERSONAL LIBERTY. Your personal liberty ends where it endangers the health and well being of others. Why is that so tough to understand. YOU SMOKE. You cannot see past that. I GET IT. I don't smoke and if my children and I decide to go out to eat we shouldn't have to bounce around to find one with clean air. If a restaurant is known to have frequent salmonella outbreaks would you just say people should go somewhere else. NO. THe health department would rightly shut the place down.

School uniforms ARE conservative. Current school dress is liberal. Which side are you on Sandy. You don't have liberty to dress however you like at work why should it be a liberty at school? When my child is at school she has the right to a solid learning environment and if that means a strict dress code or uniforms than my child has the right to that. Don't suggest that I'm a social liberal. I'm about as conservative at they come as far as I'm concerned. This was why I wanted to see what people thought about the smoking debate. Its a problem for me when people try to make an issue like smoking about liberty when it is not. Libertarians also believe Marijuana should be legalized. They believe that it is a matter of personal liberty. A society has the right to draw the line on such things. I do not believe it should be in the hands of the federal government and thats where I am a federalist.

If we lose the argument on cigarette bans, and they happen or they don't I'm fine with that as long as the argument is held on the state level. If we decide to have school uniforms, a strict dress code, none at all, or eliminate public schools I'm cool with it as long as the people make the decision on a local level. When you use liberty to make your defense it is YOU who believe that the federal government should end the argument. The constitution guarantees a very select few rights and the rest are left up to the states. States can then leave things like cigarette smoking to municipalities so the people have the greatest say in the matter. But the people should have a say and not have the federal courts quell the argument altogether.

That's why I'm all over the map Sandy. I believe in having the discussion not silencing it.
I'm afraid you probably shouldn't have left Mass if you liked to limit rights and jack taxes.
We here in Virginia (and I am a Virginian...with roots here back to 1800) don't take kindly to any invasion of our rights and common senses.
I do support restaurants using vacuum systems, partitions and such, but outright reject any politician who's pushing an outright ban.
Years ago in Montgomery County, in the Republik of Maryland, they pushed for the partitions and vacuums (which I supported), but then suddenly turned back on those businesses to eliminate smoking outright, when they had just spent a very large amount of money converting their businesses with the equipment to isolate the smoke from their non-smoking customers.

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