LLR Pages

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Smoking Ban Passes in Michigan's State House Committee

The anti-smoking Nazis have won Round One in their fight to outlaw smoking in public in my home state of Michigan. According to today's online edition of the Detroit Free Press, an anti-smoking bill passed in the Michigan Legislature's State House Committee by a vote of 12-4. Interestingly enough, the bill is faced with massive opposition from many bar, restaurant, and casino owners from all over the state.

One of the collectivists in the State House Committee -- Committee Chairman Rep. Andrew Meisner, D-Royal Oak, -- claims that this bill, which was in fact pushed by "health and consumer organizations, will "put Michigan in the forefront of cultural change on attitudes toward smoking," which is something that these collectivists claim the state needs to discard "its aging, smokestack reputation."

A key passage in the article says in part:

The bill approved today contains exemptions for existing tobacconists and cigar bars, where Meisner said owners have invested in “tobacco infrastructure.”

Interesting. The bill, if it were pass in the House and the Senate and signed into law by Governor Granholm in its current form, will outlaw smoking in workplaces all over the state, including bars, restaurants, and casinos, but tabacconists and cigar bars are excluded from the measure.

I wonder which "health and consumer organizations" in my state lobbied for this bill and how much they were paid to get it on the legislative table.


Anonymous said...

I am all for the ban of smoking in public places, it is very hazerdous to my health and everyone elses'. Yes, smokers have rights, but so do the non-smokers. I am not saying to ban smoking all together, enjoy it in your homes, or cars. A smoking area in a resturant is like a "peeing area" in a spreads...who wants to swim in that?

Todd Andrew Barnett said...

Sorry, but I take serious issue with your argument, considering it's terribly shoddy.

This ridiculous notion that a restaurant's smoking section is equivalent to "a peeing area" in a pool is nonsense. This is the most idiotic thinking, because it follows the logical fallacy in your line of argumentation.

First, let's be clear about something. One who smokes in a public restaurant is not the same as urinating in a public pool. The idea that it spreads propagates the notion that a non-smoker will somehow be caught in a dark cloud of smoke that is hell-bent on causing health problems for the customers in the establishment. Understand that most restaurants (and I say most, because most are NOT in the business of harming their clientèle with cigarette smoke) are equipped with efficient ventilation systems that are designed to eliminate smoke. Most restaurants find that it's in their best interests to purchase them, or they risk legal liability over public health risks.

Second, the danger of public cigarette smoke in restaurants is grossly over-exaggerated. According to, "their analysis reported no statistically significant relationship between passive smoking and lung cancer, though the accompanying editorial noted that 'they may overemphasise the negative nature of their findings.'"

Third, anti-smoking bans interfere with a business' right to establish whatever policies they may see fit, in accordance with their customers' wishes. If a business wants to prohibit smoking from its premises, it is and should be free to do so. But understand, that's the business' right to decide what's in the best interests of its customers. It's bad for any business if the business continues its practice of allowing smoking on its ground if the customers overwhemingly decide to object to its pro-smoking policies. No enterprise is in the business of killing its customers via cigarette smoke, as the owners and employees of that establishment would be legally held liable for the health care costs of its customers.

Finally, these one-size-fits-all anti-smoking policies are authoritarian in nature. If the state can ban smoking in restaurants, what's next? Will it ban soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi because of out-of-control health care costs? Will it ban deserts like milk shakes, ice cream, or even chocolate cake because of the high health care costs due to the increase in diagnoses of diabetes? Will we have an anti-burger police funded by the State Police knocking on the doors of the restaurant managers, fining and arresting employees who serve high transfatty foods like mushroom burgers and curly fries? After all, where will it end?

In a nutshell, the state has neither any right nor any business to dictate what businesses allow and do not allow on their property. It's called private property rights, and their property rights take precedence over the "rights" of smokers and non-smokers, considering customers do not have rights on a business owner's property; the business owner does.

Besides, these decisions made by the state will be politicized at the expense of the customers and everyone in the restaurants, bars, and taverns. Tell me - is that fair? Is that right? I'd love to hear your answer when it comes to that.

Moreoever, why do tobacconists get exemptions from the smoking bans but other businesses are affected by it? Where's the fairness in that rule? It's a protection racket for certain businesses while attacking others who have no stake in the passage in the law and no political clout at all.

I'm sorry, but you are fundamentally mistaken if you think that you are right in every sense of the word with regards to this issue.

And, by the way, if you're going to issue a comment about this, please provide a legitimate identity. Hiding behind the name "anonymous" is an act of cowardice in my book.

Yours in Liberty,

Todd Andrew Barnett
Blogger, Let Liberty Ring

Anonymous said...

We wern't allowed to vote on the seat belt law but if we don't wear them we have to pay the fine and they have saved lives. I think that the law makers have the majority of the people in mind when they make these laws. If you don't like the laws they make, then run for office yourself and do something about it.