By Scott Tibbs, March 13, 2008
Over the last few years, it has been nice to be able to walk into a Bloomington restaurant and not have to smell the stink of tobacco smoke. It is nice to know that the if I go see Junior Brown at the Bluebird again, I will not have to be around tobacco smoke, which was thick and nasty the last time I was there. What is unfortunate is that it is not because the people of Bloomington have seen the light and have stopped using tobacco, but because the City Council has taken upon itself to regulate whether consenting adults may use a legal product on private property with the consent of the property owner.
At least Indiana has not gone the way of Minnesota, which has passed a statewide ban on smoking in "public places". Minnesota bars have exploited a loophole in the law allowing "performers in theatrical productions" to smoke by naming all bar patrons as actors for the night. Stat health officials are fuming and have promised to fine the bars which continue to allow smoking while anti-smoking activists wail in protest. The fact that this contrversy has reached such silly levels demonstrates that the nanny state ninnies have gone too far.
I have made it clear on many occassions that I do not like smoking and I wish smokers would stop lighting up. However, it is not my place to regulate the personal lives of consenting adults, even if I strongly disagree with a behavior and urge people to stop. In a perfect world, the law would be pro-choice, allowing private property owners to decide whether to allow the use of tobacco on their property and allowing consenting adults to patronize (or not patronize) an establishment based on that policy.
But for the nanny state ninnies, that's not good enough. Why use persuasion and education when you can just force people to live as you want them to live? After all, no one needs to be educated when Mommy Government is there to switch us if we do somethign harmful to ourselves. Maybe next, Mommy Government can regulate what we are allowed to eat, and how much. We will need a mandated daily exercise regimen, as well, to keep our bodies fit.
Doesn't government have better things to do than make sure people aren't smoking?