Letters and Opinion

Smoking laws are slippery slope

March 19, 2011

I finally have reached my breaking point and felt compelled to write a letter in response to last week’s editorial. I find it increasingly disturbing that a publication which purports to call itself a “business” journal continues to preach anti-business rhetoric. To devote what seems to be every other weekly editorial to chastise state legislators for their failure to enact a statewide smoking ban, is a smack to the face of American capitalism.

The last time I checked cigarettes are a legal product and smoking them in the sanctity of your own home or in a myriad of other places indoors and out is still not a prosecutable offense. So, my premise is that business owners should be allowed to determine whether their bar, restaurant, casino, or private club is smoking or not. Their establishments are after all private property.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that while I am not a cigarette smoker, I am an occasional cigar smoker. I absolutely do not want to eat my filet mignon next to a table of smokers, so I choose to eat at Eddie Merlot’s, which has banned smoking. But if I want to have a beer and a cigar while I chat with friends, I now have several choices in which to do so. Enacting a comprehensive ban on liberty as you call for reminds me of Orwell’s “1984”.

The system we have now works, period. Economic factors determine which establishments are smoking and which are smoke free. Many restaurants have gone smokeless such as Scotty’s Brewhouse. Scott Wise will tell you that he is smoke free because he makes more money being smoke free.

On the other hand, to not allow smoking in an establishment such as the Indy Cigar Bar or Nikki Blaine’s in which every patron and worker is fully cognizant of the benefits and risks is akin to discrimination. After all, we all eat and drink. Next thing you know, we’ll be telling The Cheesecake Factory that they can’t sell cheesecake due to the high fat content.

Mark my words IBJ, this current movement is a slippery slope of diminishing liberty and business opportunity.

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Mark A. Paul
 

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