I have a feeling this will be one of my more unpopular articles, especially considering that I am LDS, a church that is well-known for its stance against tobacco. Regardless, I am absolutely sure that what I am writing is correct, morally and Constitutionally, even if I don’t like it myself.
Smoking. It is disgusting, addictive, wasteful, unhealthy, smelly, stupid, expensive, irrational, and yet, legal. Yes, smoking is legal, but governments all around the nation are taking un-Constitutional and illegal actions against smokers and private business owners.
I understand that smoking needs to be eradicated. It does, it is horrible for the human body. Cancer rates skyrocket among tobacco users. Tobacco, in whatever form it is used, whether it be smoked or smokeless, is one of, if not the, most addictive substances mankind can ingest. It is often said that it is harder to stop a tobacco habit than it is to kick a heroin habit. The demons that come with tobacco addiction are powerful, and they call to the ex-smoker forever. Someone that hasn’t smoked in years can, at times, get just a whiff of tobacco smoke that will set off powerful, long-dormant cravings in their body.
Hospitals are full of people who can tell horror stories about the results of tobacco use. Cemeteries are full of them, too, if they could tell their tales. Still, tobacco use is legal in the United States of America.
There isn’t a giant movement against smokeless tobacco, though it has been banned by Major League Baseball in an effort to curb use among young people, who emulate their on-the-diamond heroes. Thankfully, we have reached the point in the United States where most people have had enough of smoke and smokers. It started off years back with no smoking on airplanes, then spread to sports stadiums and government buildings, and now, in some places, you can’t smoke on the streets or in city parks.
These, by and large, are not bad things. Smoking bans keep non-smokers from being exposed to the smell and the alleged health problems due to second-hand smoke inhalation. Smokers, by blowing into the air and randomly exposing others to their exhaled smoke, infringe upon the rights of those other people to breathe clean air. That is the reason the anti-tobacco push is mainly against smokers and not as much against people who dip and chew.
So, what’s the problem?
Well, to set the stage, the first modern smoking ban was put in place in 1930′s Germany by one Adolph Hitler. Yes, the Nazi party was rabidly anti-smoking, and banned the practice in many of Germany’s public places.
To take this article back to the United States; banning smoking in public places that are owned by everyone is perfectly acceptable, moral and legal. That is “our” air, in “our” places, and smoking absolutely taints the air, whether by smell or by being unhealthy, of other citizens. We The People own those spaces, and a minority shouldn’t be allowed to pollute them.
Now, we come to the problem. Some anti-smoking government officials and zealots have gone farther than the Nazi party ever did when it comes to smoking. They are attacking the rights of private business owners in ways that not even Hitler imagined.
Some state and local governments have started the practice of banning smoking in bars and restaurants.
To many people, especially non-smokers, banning smoking in bars and restaurants seems like a perfectly reasonable, and even intelligent, action to take. However, these people haven’t thought out the issue beyond their own self-interest, and that isn’t the America we know and love. That “me” mindset is tearing this country down, and destroying our freedoms and our liberties. Banning smoking in private establishments is against the freedoms we should enjoy in the United States, period, no matter what pretty “clean air” polish is applied to it.
If a bar or restaurant owner wants to allow smoking in his or her establishment, then he or she should be allowed to do just that. The consumer has the choice of spending money in that establishment, or not.
A government telling a private business owner how they can run their business is a government completely out of control. Attacking the rights of private businesses attacks the rights of us all. If we sit back and allow this kind of government intervention in private business, then what freedoms will we allow the government to take away next?
Now, there are those who argue about businesses that do things like pollute streams, and how by using the logic I am using we would have to allow for that to happen. Wrong, the same logic applies to banning smoking in public places, that is an action that is fouling up or ruining something we all share. Then there are those narrow-minded types who argue that this means the government would have to allow whorehouses, because we don’t want to infringe on the rights of what goes on inside a private business. Wrong again. Prostitution is illegal, smoking isn’t.
Letting the government have the power to dictate what private businesses can or can’t do, when it isn’t hurting public property or spaces, and it isn’t illegal, is far worse than the Nazi ban on smoking in public places. We all know what happened with that bunch, I pray we don’t go farther down the same path they did of less freedom and more dictatorial control.
If We The People get together and decide, by voting, not some executive decision, to ban the sale of tobacco in the United States of America, then this conflict wouldn’t even exist. Until we take that bold Prohibition-type step, we must allow private business owners to make their own choices when it comes to legal behavior.
This is the United States of America, the land of the free, never forget that, even if you don’t like it.