As of summer 2007, Brits will be forbidden from smoking in all indoor restaurants and clubs. This isn’t all that surprising, but what’s worth noting is how determined the banners are to impose their lifestyle choice on everyone, everywhere in the country. A compromise bill would have prohibited smoking in pubs while allowing England’s 18,500 private, non-profit clubs to make their own rules.
Proponents of the compromise argued that private clubs should be as free as people in their own homes to allow smoking if they so choose. Prohibitionists shot this logic down because — get this — it would have given clubs an unfair advantage over pubs. So when the government infringes on the rights of bar owners and forbids them from offering the kind of environment their patrons want, it justifies a further power grab as protection from the disadvantages it has itself imposed. Very disturbing.
A number of commenters on my site supported the DC smoking ban and will probably support the England one as well. The main argument they put forward in favor of the DC ban was that the city is suffering from a market failure in which most consumers really want smoke free bars, but for some strange reason bar owners aren’t providing them. In England the opposite logic prevailed: consumers really want to be able to smoke in pubs, so they have to ban it everywhere.
So, prohibitionists in the audience, time to show your true colors. If you really believe the market failure argument, tell me you think England should have compromised. Then tell me again why DC shouldn’t have compromised, even though the city council had a quite sensible compromise bill before it. Alternatively, feel free to admit that you just don’t like smelling like smoke and will support whatever argument is convenient for passing a ban. Comments, as always, are open.
[Note: I realize a few of you think smoking is soooo dangerous that it shouldn’t be allowed anywhere except 5000 feet from the nearest building and possibly in one’s own home, but not if children, puppies, or rare plants are present. I think you guys are crazy, but consistent. You’re exempted from this exercise.]
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