February 18, 2004

Smoking Banners to be "Terminated"

This post also available on Blogcritics.org

California has one of the toughest workplace smoking policies in the world. The dracnonian laws prohibit smoking in most any public building. Even "cigar bars" can't allow smoking anymore. But Arnold Schwarzenegger has plans to reduce these restrictsions. Sort of.

According to the Washington Times

California law strictly bans smoking in offices, bars and restaurants, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a longtime cigar smoker has proposed converting the state Capitol's interior courtyard into a "smoking plaza."
    Under the actor-turned-governor's plan, part of the Capitol's roof would be removed to create an area where legislators and other Sacramento visitors could smoke.
    The governor's spokeswoman, Terri Carbaugh, explained that Mr. Schwarzenegger wants to create an informal meeting and schmoozing area where he can smoke cigars with lawmakers and other power brokers.

I think this is a good first step to bringing freedom back into the lives of Californians. It sounds like a good idea, both sides should be able to live with. Smokers would have a centralized place to smoke, and the non-smokers still have the rest of the building which is smoke free.

But not good enough say many anti-freedom smoking groups:

"That's very frightening that would even think about smoking inside the heart of our state Capitol," said Jim Walker, the director and founder of Stop Tobacco Abuse of Minors Pronto. "He could do more good by championing our cause rather than trivializing it."
    Last Saturday in Sacramento, several dozen protesters demonstrated in front of the Capitol to denounce Mr. Schwarzenegger's project to turn the Capitol courtyard into a smoking patio.
    "We are deeply disappointed at several recent public depictions of your use and promotion of cigars and urge you to refrain from modeling this dangerous habit," the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the American Lung Association wrote in a recent letter to Mr. Schwarzenegger.

This hits on two central arguments that I always harp on.

1. It's your body. If you want to smoke, it's your right. The argument that it costs society too much in health care is a scary thought to progress. Alcohol, fattening foods, and lack of exercise all end lives prematurely. Should we go after those now?

2. If a business owner wants to have an establishment where smokers can gather and enjoy a smoke, its HIS right. He owns the business, he pays taxes on the building, and profits. He has as much as a right to have an establishment which is smoking as a bar or restaurant owner has the right to have a smoke-free establishment.

Freedom comes with risks and responsibilities. When are we going to allow adults to be adults and stop letting big government nannies tell us what to do.

I say smoke away.

Posted by psugrad98 at February 18, 2004 01:06 PM

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