An Oregonian editorial last week was refreshingly libertarian, calling for same-sex marriage, tuition equity for some undocumented immigrants, restraint on gun control, and even opposition to the state’s smoking ban. I sent in a letter about the last item, which they published today:
The Jan. 12 libertarian-leaning editorial “Protect and expand personal freedom: Agenda 2013” was a breath of fresh air, especially in regard to our state’s excessively stringent smoking ban.
Current law makes few exceptions for businesses that cater to smokers, making it essentially illegal for entrepreneurs to open new cigar bars or smoking lounges even in stand-alone tobacco shops. Regardless of whether one supports a broad smoking ban, it’s difficult to justify forbidding these businesses to open.
Sensible reform would replace the current exemptions, which apply only to venues that have been grandfathered in, with objective guidelines that would allow both existing and aspiring business owners to offer smokers an indoor refuge.
As I reported in the Oregonian in 2011, the promised decline in heart attacks that the smoking ban was supposed to usher in never developed.