I've meant to post about this for months--better late than never, I suppose. My home town of Amarillo, Texas, had a vote on May 10, 2008 for the citizen's to decide whether to ban smoking in all businesses, clubs, and public places. We voted it down, but it was close. And by we, I mean, yes, I voted against the ban.
I see it as a clear issue of private business owners' rights. It is their property, their establishment, and if you don't like to be around smoking, then go somewhere else. It's as simple as that. It is a privilege for a customer/patron to enter a private business--not a right. This is an area of great understanding, I've found. You have the right to choose where you spend your money--do so, and quit the whining.
Anyhow, the marketplace is doing a fine job of regulating itself. There is no shortage of smoke free establishments in Amarillo. Establishments that are smoke free because the business owner invoked his right to choose how he wanted to run his business (within the law, one would hope).
We all know second-hand smoke is harmful (and annoying). This is not the debate. And if the government wants to do something about smoking, they need to outlaw tobacco rather than subsidize it. I could understand tobacco being made illegal, but until that happens (and it won't), private business owners should be able to choose whether they establishment is smoking or not.
This is such a slippery slope. The Lifestyle Police won't stop with smoking. Next it'll be foods, firearms, and who knows.... ?