Moms Columns & Blogs

The No Smoking Ban

On Wednesday the North Carolina House voted to limit your choices as a consumer, tie the hands of small business owners, and eliminate the power of competitive advantages within the restaurant and bar industries.  The bill will soon move on the North Carolina Senate where it must be stopped.

I am, of course, speaking of the NC public smoking ban- a bill that will do way more harm than good.  In its current form the bill still permits smoking in establishments that prohibit anyone younger than 18 from entering the premises, so the original intent of an all out ban on public smoking is not even there any longer. 

I smoked for somewhere near 15 years and know how hard it is to quit and the toll that smoking takes on your body.  I still worry, five years since quitting, about the effects cigarette smoking may have had on my health. I, as a parent, of course do not want my child to be exposed to second hand smoke. 

I’m also able to make choices for myself and my family.  I choose to reward businesses that do not allow smoking by patronizing them.  Likewise, I choose to punish businesses that allow smoking by not patronizing them.

These choices naturally drive markets and businesses.  The individual who opens up a smoking restaurant in an area that tries to be family friendly is likely not going to be in business very long.  The individual who opens up the non-smoking restaurant next door is going to have the competitive advantage and thrive while “smokey” next door fails.  It’s simple economics based on the power of choice being given to the people.  Through the introduction of this bill your government clearly believes you either:

a)      Don’t understand economics, or

b)      Don’t have sense enough to make your own choices

Either way, the bill is simply “nanny state” legislation imposed on adults who can choose for themselves and a means for the government to exert more power on the private property and choices of the folks who own their businesses.  And that is a slippery slope.

There are alternatives out there that allow both you as a consumer and you as a business owner to lower exposure to smoke AND allow free market advantages to work. 

Currently each restaurant in NC is required to clearly display a health grade on their wall (and I always walk if it’s not a medium to high A).  A similar display stating the smoking status within the restaurant would enable you to make the choice of whether or not to walk through that smoking section to your table before even sitting down.  The Democrats in our State government do not want to even consider this proposal, adding weight to the suggestion that this bill is more about the power to control rather than the empowerment given to you through information.

Interestingly, the Observer article in Thursday’s paper states that “the fact that NC legislature is poised to adopt restrictions on public smoking reflects changing attitudes about tobacco”.  Rather than let this public attitude exert its force on the market, to the enrichment of businesses that heed the change and to the detriment of business that don’t, the newly empowered government now sees fit to overstep the role of government as the protector of individual and property rights and instead move into the realm of  nanny and adult babysitter.  This must be stopped. 

Please join me in contacting our representatives in the state government and let them know that you are capable of making choices for yourself.  A handy way to begin that can be found here:

Clearly smoking is hazardous to one’s health and is a poor choice for an adult to make.  However, this legislation is not going to stop adults from smoking- it is only going to undermine the principles of property rights that the government was created to protect and in doing so lessen the power of choice that you have as a consumer or small business owner.