Below is an editorial that appeared in the Lindenwood University student-run paper, The Legacy and also the student-run news website, Lindenlink.com. Due to limits in prints space, the original draft was too long, so we cut out some paragraph or two. My editor came up with the headline.
Smoking ban seems unfair by Seth York
I do not smoke. Yet despite this, my interest was piqued when I first heard about the recent attempt to get an indoor public smoking ban on the ballot in St. Charles County. The motion failed. County Elections Director Rich Chrismer did not allow it on the ballot due to wording issues. Here’s the rub: the details are not important. What is important is that the ban is not up for vote, and free choice lives to limp on for another day. Let me clarify: I am vehemently opposed to any public smoking ban, and I am happy that the efforts of local busybodies to ban it have failed.
However, maybe I am full of hot air (or smoke). Maybe there is some merit to smoking bans (and we are only focusing on indoor smoking bans). Perhaps I should consider it from a different perspective. How dare smokers force their habits on me. I lead a healthy lifestyle, yet these smokers have the gall, when I go to the same restaurant as they do, to force their unhealthy habits onto me. How dare employers make me work long hours in cigarette smoked-filled environment, when I make efforts to be more healthy. The indoor smoking ban is good for the community, and, it’s good for the smoker, because with this ban they may smoke less. However, it is offensive to force dirty habits onto others. Don’t smokers think of the children?
Now, I’ll respond with a combination of questions and statements. How dare you presume you have the right to force people to not do something you don’t like. How dare you even consider using the real force of the law against business owners who decide the rules of their establishment? What is really offensive is the sheer arrogance that is displayed when you suggest you have the right to tell business owners what to do with their property. Restaurants, workplaces, etc, are not a public good. They are providing a service to you, and it’s offensive to not only be ungrateful but to be malicious in return.
Know this, dear reader: The day this paper is published, around 7:00 p.m., I am going to find a cigar, go to some establishment in St. Charles, and I’m going to order a beer. And maybe some wings, if not a BLT. Do you know what I’m going to contemplate while I smoke, drink and eat? Thank God that busybody efforts failed to squash free choice. And one other thing: Smoking is healthier than fascism.
Then I’ll make my friends laugh by attempting (and failing) to blow smoke rings. Cheers.