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Government should butt out of smoking issue

Government should butt out of smoking issue

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I read with dismay that polls - statistically meaningful? - taken in Bloomington-Normal indicated the majority were in favor of city bans on smoking in restaurants and bars. What is different about a restaurant from any other place of business? If we ban smoking in restaurants why not from malls, every retail store, every office, every waiting area and lobby - anywhere the public or even just a "non-owner" may go?

Don't get me wrong. I am not in favor of smoking - I'm a former smoker myself. However, I am concerned about the government - city, state or federal - making decisions which we, the people, should make. The government can certainly make the smoking/no smoking decision for government offices - maybe even for those social service or business operations which receive direct government grants or assistance.

However, in other situations, let's let the business owner, the employees and the customers/clients decide. Let's keep "big brother" away from situations where free enterprise can effectively make the decision.

So a third of the local restaurants have made the decision to be non-smoking. Great - and that percentage will undoubtedly increase in coming years.

We, as consumers, can make that choice and if so many of us want to ban smoking in restaurants, we can make that known by letters to the restaurants and by patronizing those which do ban smoking.

Economics will eventually do the rest. And if there remain a few places where smokers can enjoy themselves and comfortably eat and drink - until smoking itself is declared illegal - isn't that their right?

Pam Clay-Turley



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