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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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Mark- Obviously you are not a smoker, so you have your take on things with that in mind. I am a smoker, so I will speak from my views. First, Kaine has tried to pass the smoking ban laws before, I believe more than once, and it didn't pass. I heard this morning on the local news, Kaine is giving it one more shot to pass his smoking bans.

I absolutely understand your position that you should not be subjected to what some other dummy chooses to do, especially with health reports that second hand smoke is in fact harmful. From my perspective, you have options such as sitting in the non-smoking areas provided that they are well seperated, like seperate rooms. You can also patronize restaurants that ban smoking in full, and there are many. It is my opinion that there should be both. If you choose to go to one that allows smoking, then you have no room for bitch. The workers would have the same option, if you don't want to subject yourself to smoke, work in an establichment that bans it.

Banning smoking in ALL restaurants and All public places, which mostly is the way it is now, you are taking away my rights to choose. That is a slippery slope, as there is already talk about banning overweight people or limiting what they can order. And, as ridiculous as it may sound, wouldn't someone with terribly offensive body odor sitting at a table next to you invade on your space? I know that would take my appetite away. I can see it now, no shirt, no shoes, no shower, no entrance. Even if I were not a smoker, I would still have a big problem with this ban, just as Mr. Thompson, because you are taking away Individual Liberties. If this ban succeeds, then what will be banned next, and then next and on down the line.
I agree and have seen limited smoking bans turn so ridiculous that now in Massachusetts they are trying to ban cigar smoking in cigar parlors. They also tried to ban smoking in private clubs (American Legion Halls for example). I also believe that as soon as they pass national health care they can come up with the excuse the you eating fattening food costs the general public money and thus can be regulated.

Still I do not believe that you have the right to go into a work place and light up a cigarette. An employee shouldn't have to hope there's a job available at a non smoking restaurant since most allow smoking. I don't think this issue should be at the top of the thing's to do list either. I just don't think eliminating smoking in public restaurants is restricting anyones rights as it is defending everyone's right to breath smoke free air.
Mark- I am not sure what restaurants you are talking about, but, here in my area (Charlottesville) there are few restaurants that allow smoking. With that in mind, I would think that workers have more ample opportunities finding non-smoking establishments to work at. I still hold to my position that there should be smoking and non-smoking establishments. If the food at a smoking restaurant is better than the sprouts or gruel at a non-smoking restaurant, order take out, and eat it in your choosen smoke free environment.


Mark Collins said:
I agree and have seen limited smoking bans turn so ridiculous that now in Massachusetts they are trying to ban cigar smoking in cigar parlors. They also tried to ban smoking in private clubs (American Legion Halls for example). I also believe that as soon as they pass national health care they can come up with the excuse the you eating fattening food costs the general public money and thus can be regulated.

Still I do not believe that you have the right to go into a work place and light up a cigarette. An employee shouldn't have to hope there's a job available at a non smoking restaurant since most allow smoking. I don't think this issue should be at the top of the thing's to do list either. I just don't think eliminating smoking in public restaurants is restricting anyones rights as it is defending everyone's right to breath smoke free air.
5555555



It's all about Individual Liberties, and the Government staying out of my private life and choices.

David Howard said:
This topic is a slippery slope in regards to personal rights. On the one hand we could draw the line on smoking in public to apease the non smoker, but this would only open the door to other pet peves that would require lines to be drawn.

If we are going to draw lines perhaps we could look at it from the point of "personal rights" leaving the line to be drawn by the property owner (the business owner) and let them draw the line, rather than making it a divisive issue in favor of one over the other. And letting the individual make the decision as to rather or not to patronize that business.

By imposing restrictions on the smoker we in turn put limitations on the Business forcing them to isolate their custome base, when it should be the "right" and responsibility of the business owner to make that decision not the government.

We as patrons/customers also have the right to do business whith whom we choose, if a business decides not to restrict smokers then we have to right not to patronize that business. If we start "Drawing lines" or "Regulating" then all rights are in jeapordy including yours a mine.

Most resturants accomodate very effectively the rights of smokers and non smokers, they do this because it is the right of the business owner as much as it is the right of either the smoker or non smoker, to regulate either is a regulation on us all, and I simply do not support it.
Niether of your arguments hold any water at all. If you want to smoke take it outside. THAT is your right. But you don't let restaurants serve poison and say that you are putting limitations on business if you restrict what you can serve. I see no reason why people cant just go work at restaurants that don't serve poison if they are afraid of being contaminated. Again you believe in your own personal rights even if they are infringing on the rights of others.

My problem is that people make smoking an issue of personal liberty at all. Your liberty ends where it infringes upon the liberty of others, yet you are, by allowing smoking, infringing upon the liberties of non smokers.

It is a slippery slope but it shouldn't be. What I eat does not directly affect your health. Only mine. If you smoke outside or in private it does not affect my health only yours. If you smoke in a crowded restaurant it affects the health of everyone in there, employees and customers alike.

I've got an idea. Lets trade. We should eliminate taxes on cigarettes but you can only smoke them around other people if you have their consent.
Mark- I really like reading your comments as I see you as a thinking educated rationale person, but, you are starting to confuse me. In your original post you say "I find the non-smoking sections just fine." Then in your last post you say "If you smoke in a crowded restaurant it affects the health of everyone in there, employees and customers alike." It seems you started out having an open mind, but are now just digging your heels in. You have every right to your opinions, and to change your mind if that's what you choose.

How about the Government banning handguns, or concealed permits to carry weapons. That has health issues to argue as well. Look at Virginia Tech and the many other places where mass murder happened because of "no gun zones." My gun, in my pocket, in a crowded restaurant has a real health issue if you cross my space, the employees space, or the customers space and start a shoot out, just as it would have affected the health of the Virgina Tech shooter, and protected the lives of 32, if there was not a BAN on guns on campus. I believe that a bullet is a lot more immediately fatal than a cigarrette. The point is- catering to one groups liberties over those of another groups liberties is a dangerous place for the Government to interfere.

Again, if you are willing to agree to take my liberties away, and support a Government mandate to do so, you will very soon find yourself having liberties taken away that you cherish. Please don't argue that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right's of citizens to own guns, as the Constitution never addressed or supported "no gun zones." Our founding fathers believed that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I don't recall any wording that states
smoking is bad for your health and should be banned. I would like the liberty to pursue my happiness in any way I choose.


Mark Collins said:
Niether of your arguments hold any water at all. If you want to smoke take it outside. THAT is your right. But you don't let restaurants serve poison and say that you are putting limitations on business if you restrict what you can serve. I see no reason why people cant just go work at restaurants that don't serve poison if they are afraid of being contaminated. Again you believe in your own personal rights even if they are infringing on the rights of others.

My problem is that people make smoking an issue of personal liberty at all. Your liberty ends where it infringes upon the liberty of others, yet you are, by allowing smoking, infringing upon the liberties of non smokers.

It is a slippery slope but it shouldn't be. What I eat does not directly affect your health. Only mine. If you smoke outside or in private it does not affect my health only yours. If you smoke in a crowded restaurant it affects the health of everyone in there, employees and customers alike.

I've got an idea. Lets trade. We should eliminate taxes on cigarettes but you can only smoke them around other people if you have their consent.
I just like to get you going Sandy. As I said earlier I really think the state should be more worried about budget issues. When I was in Vermont someone tried to make lowering the drinking age an election issue. At the time Vermont was having budget problems. All I could think was "dont we have more important fish to fry?".

I only like the smoking issue because I do not see it as a democrat/republican issue. I think its a smoker/non smoker issue. The smokers therefore try to make it about liberty when its not. If they were talking about banning it entirely I would agree its a liberty issue. I do agree unfortunately that one smoking ban leads to another. Next they'll ban it outside of public buildings (which they've done in some states) and then in public parks. Then they'll say you can't smoke in your car if you have kids (which you shouldn't but hey they're your kids). Then they'll say you can only smoke in your house all the while wondering where all of their tax dollars from cigarettes went.

How do you make the smiley faces????
Every action by government, no matter how well intentioned or even needed, has an impact on personal freedom. For example, at one time the cost of food, clothing and shelter was the highest cost we had to look forward to paying. Now taxes and the cost of regulation are more than 50% of the average wage earners take home pay.

This anti-smoking intrusion into personal freedom by government is probably not necessary as smart restaurant owners can use smoking or non-smoking as part of their business approach. However, Democrats can claim that they are just looking out for you and me while they pick our pockets.
Mark- I remember hearing something about banning smoking in some Condo complex because they share common walls. When you go there at all, it doesn't end there.

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Mark Collins said:
I just like to get you going Sandy. As I said earlier I really think the state should be more worried about budget issues. When I was in Vermont someone tried to make lowering the drinking age an election issue. At the time Vermont was having budget problems. All I could think was "dont we have more important fish to fry?".

I only like the smoking issue because I do not see it as a democrat/republican issue. I think its a smoker/non smoker issue. The smokers therefore try to make it about liberty when its not. If they were talking about banning it entirely I would agree its a liberty issue. I do agree unfortunately that one smoking ban leads to another. Next they'll ban it outside of public buildings (which they've done in some states) and then in public parks. Then they'll say you can't smoke in your car if you have kids (which you shouldn't but hey they're your kids). Then they'll say you can only smoke in your house all the while wondering where all of their tax dollars from cigarettes went.

How do you make the smiley faces????
Mark- You make me think so much you make my brain hurt! LOL
I would love to see smoking banned!
See. I knew there were republicans for smoking bans.

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