July 21, 2004

Here comes butt-heads

I just heard news about a proposal to ban smoking in all indoor workplaces in Pennsylvania, including bars and restaurants. It is being pushed forward by state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery County. To tell you the truth, I'm getting sick of writing about this crap.

From the Pittsburgh Channel:

A state lawmaker says the time has come to ban smoking at all workplaces in Pennsylvania, including bars and restaurants.

State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery County, says he will push for legislation simlar to that of California, New York, Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida and Massachusetts, where the law is already in place.

"It's not a question of if it will happen, it's a question of when," Greg Hartley, assistant director of Smokefree Pennsylvania, told reporter Kelly Frey in a Channel 4 Action News report from October 2003. "We think it will happen soon."

Secondhand smoke causes 53,000 deaths a year in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Rumblings surfaced early last year about a possible smoking ban at Allegheny County bars and restuarants. The noise was quieted by the state's Clean Indoor Air Act, passed in 1998, which establishes no-smoking sections in restaurants but prohibits most local governments from further restricting smokers.

Some eateries have voluntarily extinguished smoking. A Web site, NoSmokeDining.org, lists about 100 smoke-free restaurants in Allegheny and surrounding counties

I believe this to be an intrusion on our lives by an ever increasingly powerful government. I think that the free market should decide which establishments are smoke-free, or that allow smoking.

To me it is all about freedom of choice. There is the freedom of the owners of bars and restaurants to allow their customers have a smoke with thier meal or with their drink. If they want to be smoke-free, thatís their choice as well. A customer should also be able to choose a place to go when they donít want to be around smoke, or one which allows them to smoke.

The government says this is all to protect your health. They have your best interests at heart. Well, there are a lot of things which are bad for you. Eating too much, eating fattening foods, drinking alcohol, and not exercising are just a few. Are they next?

The government cites obesity as a major health problem now. Is the government going to now tell a restaurateur what food he can sell? Or tell me what I can eat? Or force me to exercise? Twenty years ago the thought of a state-wide smoking ban would have seemed crazy so who knows anymore.

I am totally against this proposed law. It has nothing to do with my personal views on smoking; it has to do with my view on the role of government in trying to protect us from every little thing they view as dangerous. From seatbelts, to cell phones while driving, to cigar and cigarette smoke.

Here comes the nanny-state.

Posted by TomCat at July 21, 2004 08:58 AM

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Posted by: wood bar stool at March 3, 2005 12:53 PM

What about the workers. Should we allow factories and employers to say it is our free will to not make sure their workplace is safe after all if you work for a chemical plant you know there are chemicals there why should they give you protective gear. I am all for personal freedom and consider myself more liberatarian than not but I think this is where the smoker is imposing on the liberty of others.

Posted by: Tony at March 4, 2005 10:28 AM
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