Today, in the town of Hutchinson, Kansas, an indoor smoking ban takes effect. I hope Wichita does not pass the same law. I believe the evidence that shows smoking is tremendously harmful to the health of the smoker, and also dangerous to those around the smoker. Personally, I don’t care to be around smokers and I take measures to avoid places where I will be exposed to cigarette smoke. So shouldn’t I favor a smoking ban in Wichita?
We should let free markets instead of the government decide whether there will be smoking in places like restaurants and bars. In this way, people will be able to smoke or avoid smoke as they see fit. If restaurant owners sense non-smokers don’t like eating in smoky restaurants, they can either eliminate smoking (at the risk of losing smoking customers), or they can build effective separation between smoking and non-smoking sections of the restaurant. Or, if they choose to cater to smokers, they can create all-smoking section establishments. The choice is theirs.
People, through their free selection of where they choose to spend their dollars, will let bar and restaurant owners know their preferences. After some time we will have the optimal mix of smoking and non-smoking establishments based on what people actually do, not what politicians think they should do. Isn’t that a better way?