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City of Louisville, Ky. enacted a smoking ban and it starts today. The smoking ban covers most businesses in the nation's 16th largest city and has been controversial. Any time an ordinance like this is passed, it creates problems but this one isn't quite so rough as the Lexington ban passed a couple of years ago.
At issue is public health vs. a business's right to determine their own rules of operation. These type of battles are always difficult because many people feel they don't want the government interfering in their lives, particularly with something like smoking. The problem with smoking is besides being just an ugly habit, it has the issue of second hand smoke, which some studies show is actually more dangerous than dragging on a cigarette.
Most bars and the Churchill Downs race track will be exempt but their is some debate over certain places, like Hooters for example when they sort of serve double duty as a sports bar and restaurant. There will be other legal challenges along the way to be certain but smoking bans generally hold up.
I don't have a big problem with smoking bans because I don't see how that violates a right to anything. It's not a privacy issue. As businesses go, there are lot of other rules businesses have to follow. I think the ban should stay in place.
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:19 AM
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Well, Stithmeister, dear friends that we are, I'll strenously disagree on this. I am an occasional smoker and my wife smokes heavily. I'm very much in favor of an individuals rights, but it cuts both ways. If you are not a smoker, you already have the option of fequenting a non-smoking establishment. The number of places that are non-smoking are already high. The number of places that permit smoking though.. those are increasingly rare.
I believe the owner of an establishment should have the right to determine whether to allow smoking. His employees have the same right to accept working there, knowing that smoking is on premises. The main supporters of Smoking Bans say it's for the employees health. Most Employees who are concerned about second hand smoke can request either to work only non-smoking sections or can choose to work in restaurants that already have smoking bans in effect.And of course, many employees smoke already...
The customers will support or not the owners decision with their vote of the dollar.
I view the "Smoking" issue much in the same way as so many other attempted "Bans" done for "Everyones Good". Prohibition of alchohol was done to save us from ourselves and today we go on about the dangers of "Drunk Drivers". We all know what a success Prohibition was.
Today, obesity has exceeded Smoking as a cause of death in America. There has already been discussion on limiting what foods we can have in the interest of 'Protecting us from ourselves'. I can't find the specifics, but recall that in one state, they were effectively placing some diabetics under state monitoring to keep them from eating "unhealthy" foods.
I support your choice to NOT smoke, but do not deprive me of my right TO smoke.
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The problem is that alcohol and obesity are different. As long as no one is driving, alcohol generall doesn't cause harm to those around if you if you drink (apart from the occasional brawl).
It's the same with obesity. My obesity doesn't give you diabetes.
Smoking is different. Secondhand smoke is the problem. If you could smoke without the smoke wandering around the room and not bothering anybody, I'd say go for it. But that's not possible.
All things being equal, we should all be able to eat in the same place. The problem is smoking can actually cause physical harm to people not participating in the activity. It's a passive thing. Just by breathing in the same confined space with a smoker, you increase the risk of cancer signficantly.
While the argument is certainly out there that people can go where the want to eat, one must look out for the welfare of the employees too. If non-smoker gets a job at a smoking establishment, it could be a problem. If the non-smoker doesn't mind, fine, but if they do and really need the job, then is it fair for them to have to put their life at risk against their will? I suppose there's always choice once again. In the end, no one physically causes you harm by requiring you not to smoke for the hour or so at a restaurant. Smokers actually cause physical harm to others.
As far as a right to smoke, you can smoke in your home, your automobile, outside in the open air. It's simple. As far as rights, I have a right to carry a firearm but most restaurants won't let you in if you're openly displaying one. And that right is outlined in the constitution.
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I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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