Scott Tibbs
blog post
May 27th, 2005

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The next logical step

So the Indianapolis City-County Council has passed a ban on smoking in some "public places". I would point out that private property, unlike a government building, is not a "public place". That aside, will the council take the next logical step?

The reason for banning smoking in some "public places" is to protect the health of non-smokers. Why not ban smoking in the homes of families with children? After all, customers have the choice of where to eat, and no one is forced to go somewhere that allows smoking. Restaurant workers (and others) can get out of a smoky environment through the labor market. Children do not have that choice if one or both parents smoke. In a car, where the atmosphere is more contained, they are even more exposed to cigarette smoke. Someone in a "public place" get away from smoke after an hour or so, but children cannot escape tobacco smoke.

Even the most ardent supporter of limited government understands the need for the state to protect children from abusive situations. If it is imperative to protect consenting adults who choose to enter a place where cigarettes are smoked, it seems it is more imperative to protect children first.

There is no limit to how far the Nanny State can go to protect us "for our own good". If you don't think banning smoking in homes or cars will ever happen, remember that the smoking ban just passed would have been inconceivable four decades ago.

I despise smoking. It is a nasty, disgusting habit that has taken way too many lives far too soon. If I could convince every smoker to quit, I would do so in a nanosecond. I do not, however, think it is the government's business to play the role of Mommy.