Bans vs. freedom of association

Illinois’ statewide smoking ban recently came into effect and it has shut down the annual Big Smoke event sponsored by Cigar Aficionado magazine, held annually in a reserved hotel conference hall. Local authorities had initially said that the new law wouldn’t rule out such a gathering, but there turns out to be no exemption. Thus a ban that was marketed as a means of protecting people from involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke is being used to tell a group of cigar smokers that they can’t convene publicly anywhere in the entire state.

Health and economics are side issues in the debate over smoking bans; both of these issues can be addressed by other means. The heart of the matter is that these bans do violence to people’s rights to property and free association.

[Via the Stogie Guys.]