This time its the state bearing the namesake of a most important tobacco variety.
Virginia has banned “most smoking in restaurants and bars.”
USAToday: Virginia Governor Tim Kaine signed a bill today that generally restricts smoking to separate rooms that have their own ventilation. It takes effect Dec. 1.
Virginians aren’t hit as hard as smokers in other states. The Virginia ban throws inididual property owners a few crumbs of freedom. They can allow smoking in outside areas, they can shuffle us off to special rooms with separate ventillation, and private clubs can do as they please.
First, what’s the difference between a private club and any other private property such as a bar or restaurant? No one who doesn’t want to breath the smoke (or listen to the music, bump elbows with the inhabitants, etc) is obligated to enter under any circumstances. The only rights being violated are those of the individual.
I didn’t intend to ever talk about politics, even tobacco legislation on this site. But it really gets to me. One of the most frightening things is the lack of perspective I see on both sides. Folks, this is not about convenience! It isn’t about a smoker’s convenience and it surely isn’t about a non-smoker’s convenience. It is not about which group wants trump the other. If it were, that would be mob rule, and that isn’t how we decide things in this country.
At issue is individual property rights and individual rights in general. When someone purchases the rights to a piece of property, takes a risk, makes and investment, and opens the doors to the public, they are still opening their doors, not the public’s doors. What I’m saying is only the obvious: They own the place. They get to decide what happens on their property provided they aren’t commiting fraud or willfully harming anyone.
Well isn’t forcing people to breath smoke in their bar willfully harming people?
No. First, there is no force involved. When you approach an establishment you can determine whether smoking is permitted or not and make the decision to enter or move on. Second, the food and alcohol most restaurants serve is arguably more harmful over time than second hand smoke. Don’t slop up eight beers, an order of chili cheese fries, and a gut bomb burger and try to convince me you’re worried about long-term health risks. Employees make the same decisions as customers. No one can be forced to work or do business where there is smoke.
I don’t want to take away anyone’s right to designate their property a smoke-free area. In fact, when I eat in restaurants, I prefer smoke free and would always ask for non-smoking back when I had the choice. What these ridiculous laws that serve to pander to the mob do is take away the minority choice.