Thursday, August 11, 2005

Government Smoking Bans: Just Say No

We all know smoking does wonderful things to your body. Just ask Keith Richards. But as bad as smoking is, government smoking bans are worse.

As Louisville continues to argue whether to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, Lexington and Georgetown are already gone. The spread of government smoking bans should concern anyone with even a single civil libertarian bone in his body.

The momentum is clearly with the pro-ban folks. The argument always shakes out the same. They start talking about public health and the anti-banners respond that a ban would be disastrous for business. This is a bad approach, especially now that pro-banners can point to evidence that the economy doesn't come crashing down under the weight of a smoking ban.

Kentuckians are protective of their freedoms. We would do well to fight future smoking ban initiatives with the argument that success on this front will only embolden do-gooders to ban other activities they don't like. Drinking alcohol, eating fat-laden foods, or consuming soft drinks would be easy steps from here. The real question is what would they be on to from there? I'm pretty sure we don't want to find out. Better to kill this little movement before it builds up a head of steam.

The question is: what are you going to ban next?