It appears that in South Dakota – as it has happened in many other places in the country – we have decided to implement a smoking ban througout the state. It has apparently been passed through our lawmakers and will be on it’s way to our Governor very soon from what I understand.
I have to admit, there’s a selfish part of me that is pleased with this ban. I absolutely abhor cigarette smoke. I make a point to avoid it as best I can. I have never understood the habit. There is no one out there that can look me in the eye and say that smoking is a safe thing to do. It’s fairly certain that you are going to die from this habit and so I’ve never understood the pleasure people take in doing it.
But the other, hopefully non-selfish side of me disagrees with this ban. Not because I want to make sure people have the right to smoke, it’s not about smokers rights to me. It is about the right of a person who owns a private business to make a choice to allow a legal activity within his or her establishment.
The argument here is fairly simple. If you as a customer do not wish to be in a business that allows smoking, you have a choice, you can go elsewhere. If you work for a business that allows smoking, you also have a choice, you can work elsewhere. The same would apply for the exact opposite (i.e if a smoker wanted to go somewhere and they didn’t allow smoking, they could go elsewhere – oh wait, not anymore in South Dakota).
It’s all about personal choices. If the majority of us do not frequent an establishment that allows smoking because they allow smoking and that business owner is losing money because of it, I guarantee that the business owner will change his operations. It’s how they stay in business. Why not let capitalism do it’s work?
Well, what about business types that there are no alternatives to? For example, where I live in South Dakota, every bowling alley allows smoking. Because of this, I don’t take my daughters to go bowling. You might argue that is unfair because we have no choices available to us, right? Not really, we do have one other choice. We have the choice to start our own smoke-free bowling alley! Another capitalistic opportunity presents itself!
Please keep in mind too, I am not referring to public areas. Places such as libraries, public parks, etc are not what I’m talking about. These are owned by the general public and the government has a perfectly understandable right to make choices on what happens here. I am mainly concerned about the government getting it’s toehold into every nook and cranny of private busineses and lives.
Also, where does it stop really? What about the mother/father who lets their kids eat at McDonald’s five days a week? Obviously an unhealthy choice and as parents, they would not qualify as parents of the year to me. But do we have a right to create laws to prevent this? Then how many days a week is deemed okay? One? Two? Zero?
I’ve also heard that one of the issues is that people are so sensitive to the smoke they can’t get around a certain distance of places like that and not be affected by it. I can actually sympathize with this, because I am sensitive to the smoke too (just not as much as that). But again, where does that stop? What about the person who is extremely sensitive to all types of perfumes? I know of a lady who is so sensitive to perfumes she cannot go to church anymore because she gets nauseated by the perfumes of people. But not just perfumes, even the detergent people use can affect her. Extreme case, yes (and sad too because her not being able to come to church) but do we ban everyone from wearing perfumes and washing their clothes?
I may have strayed off topic here, but ultimately the point I’m trying to get across is that when a person owns a business, they should be able to make decisions about legal activities within their establishment. To do anything else, seems to me to be taking away from the rights of that property owner and I am fearful of the path that type of decision making will lead us down.
NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old HubPages account on 3/05/2009.