Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Where There's Smoke…

So they want to ban smoking in Georgia? Well, well, well. Somebody's been smoking something, I think.

Now don't get me wrong. I ban smoking in my car and in the house. I don't like the stuff and I don't have to put up with it. I won't sit in a smoking section of a restaurant. I love the new Ruby Tuesday here because it's smoke-free. Plus good food. Anyway, I don't smoke. And I don't put up with it around me.

However, the Georgia State Senate recently passed a bill that says in part:
Smoking shall be prohibited in all public places in this state, including, but not limited to, the following places:

  1. Aquariums, galleries, libraries, and museums;

  2. Areas available to and customarily used by the general public in businesses and nonprofit entities patronized by the public, including, but not limited to, professional offices, banks, laundromats, hotels, and motels;

  3. Bars, including patios;

  4. Bingo facilities when a bingo game is in progress;

  5. Convention facilities;

  6. Elevators;

  7. Facilities primarily used for exhibiting a motion picture, stage, drama, lecture, musical recital, or other similar performance;

  8. Health care facilities;

  9. Licensed child care and adult day-care facilities;

  10. Lobbies, hallways, and other common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, trailer parks, retirement facilities, and other multiple-unit residential facilities;

  11. Polling places;

  12. Public transportation facilities, including buses and taxicabs, and ticket, boarding, and waiting areas of public transit depots;

  13. Restaurants, including patios;

  14. Restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways, and other common use areas;

  15. Retail stores;

  16. Rooms, chambers, and places of meeting or public assembly when a public meeting is in progress;

  17. Service lines;

  18. Shopping malls; and

  19. Sports arenas, including enclosed places in outdoor arenas.

Now, such a bill would not affect me, except that I wouldn't have to put up with smoke. Well, I don't put up with smoke. And I don't need the state of Georgia's help in not putting up with it.

Smoking is not a right. Stupidity is. And smoking falls under that. But you can't legislate stupidity. Of course, the stupid can legislate.

The state has no business passing such a law. The bill is making its way through the House now, and it might pass. It shouldn't. While I'm opposed to smoking, I'm opposed to the state getting involved. What's next? Ban McDonald's because eating a Double Quarter-Pounder With Cheese and Super-Sizing the Fries and the Coke will make me fat. I know that. I don't care. And I don't want the state involved.

George Busbee, who I wasn't that big a fan of, once canceled a trip abroad because the Legislature was still in session and he, as Governor, couldn't leave the state in their hands. It's really too bad old George died recently. The Legislature is in session.


  1. similar measures are taking place all over. I'm with you, they are infringing on people's rights to be stupid. But I have to say, I frequent the non-smoking restaurants. Businesses have the right to determine that for themselves, and don't need the legislature to do it for them!

  2. Perhaps you've never heard of a thing called "externalities". It is a simple concept they teach in introduction to microeconomics classes that justify some collective action/coercion to prevent us from harming others or to help others more than we would if we only relied on voluntarism.


  3. Let's see. A positive externality of smoking is the increase in lung and heart disease, which causes a greater demand for medical specialists in that field, which benefits all heart and lung patients' (including non-smokers) treatment.

    Is that what you're talking about?

  4. It won't surpirse you that I disagree. It's not about legislating against people being stupid, it's that their stupidity affects me. In New York a similarly strict law was passed. It's broadly popular among businesses, smokers and non-smokers alike. For more (shameless plug here) see my blog post on the topic:

    link here

    It was one of my first at the new blog.


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