Is it any wonder why I want to leave Cowtown? The election results came in last night and Columbus voters defeated Issue No. 2, which would've struck a compromise in the city-wide smoking ban by providing an exemption for bars that get 65% of their revenues from alcohol. Just some points that are rarely brought up in this debate:
-The whole issue is framed as a public health one. It's not. It's a private property rights issue. The public health issue flies out of the door when you realize that the anti-tobacco crowd rely on fudged, sometimes outright deceitful, data. I can accept a smoking ban in public places. But why should the government be granted even more intrusion into the rights of private citizens?
-Every day the notion of assumption of the risk is eroding in this country. Only an idiot wouldn't know that smoking unhealthy. When you go to a bar, you expect to be exposed to second-hand smoke. If you don't like it, you can choose to stay home or go elsewhere.
-If there's enough of a demand, the free market will create smoke-free options. Just look at Applebee's and their decision to go smoke-free. This decision wasn't based on a governmental mandate, but from a business standpoint.
-Take a look at the most vocal anti-smokers: do these busybodies seem like the people that would frequent a bar? No. It is the perpetuation of the Nanny State - "I know what's best for you."
-For those with rallying cry "Think about our children!" I say: CHILDREN DON'T GO TO BARS.
-Smokers actually derive enjoyment from smoking. Some even make a trade-off: pleasure for health. This is a hard concept for the anti-tobacco crowd to grasp.
-People don't go to bars to be healthy. Alcohol's not good for you either. They tried prohibition for that and you know the outcome.
I thought that Issue No. 2 would be a fair compromise, even though I am completely against trampling on the rights of private property owners. After all, bar revenues in Columbus are down 35% since the smoking ban took effect. But it was voted down. I sure hope that all those in favor of the ban go out to bars a lot more often, if not to sustain business, then to save jobs.
Columbus City Council President Matt Habash was quoted in today's Columbus Dispatch as saying, "We're going after the statewide next." *shudder* Anti-smoking zealots, neo-prohibitionists, busybodies, and other members of the Fun Police...assemble!
And am I the only one annoyed by the self-righteous little shits in The Truth commercials?
Full disclosure: I am not a smoker, except for the periodic fine cigar. And occasionally I'll bum a cigarette from a friend at a bar to jokingly "look cool." But I don't inhale. :)