Smoke-Free Laws Cut the Smokers Freedom
“Smoking ban garners positive feedback in survey,” details how Orange County is proposing a ban of smoking in public places in an attempt to limit secondhand smoke. An overly large part of this article was dedicated to quotes by smokers saying that having a more limited area to smoke in would help them to “kick the habit” and quit smoking for good.
The controversy surrounding this ban isn’t about potential benefits for smokers trying to quit, but rather on whether the reduction of secondhand smoke is worth the inconvenience and even punishment that it would put on smokers.
This is a case where majority rule needs to be balanced by protection for minorities, smokers in this case.
I am not personally a smoker, but I don’t think it would be reasonable to disallow smoking in places such as public parks where the smoke quickly dissipates and is extremely unlikely to negatively affect me as I stroll by.
By forcing smokers out of the public eye society is subtly implying that not only is smoking bad, but that those who smoke are bad people who need to hide this habit from the rest of us.
The Orange County Board of Health should take some time to seriously contemplate the consequences that passing this ban will have and consider if encroaching on this right will set a precedent for increased government involvement in our personal lives.