Ethical Argument Against Smoking Ban

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 4, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Adult members of society generally have no duty not to smoke. Engaging in activities one has no duty not to do is a form of right called privilege. Analogously, adult members of American society generally have no duty not to drink, get tattoos, avoid church services, curse God, or watch dirty movies.
    However, adult members of society who choose to smoke have the duty not to smoke in indoor spaces where nonsmokers must, by necessity, be. These include, but are not limited to, elevators, trains, buses, public buildings, stores, and offices – indoor places where nonsmokers must, by necessity, travel, conduct business and legal affairs, and earn a living.
    There is, however, no necessity for nonsmokers to eat in restaurants or to drink in bars. If you don't want to breathe smoke on the train you take to work, you can't leave. If you don't want to breathe smoke in the office in which you earn your living, you can't leave.
    But if you don't want to breathe smoke in a bar where you go to get drunk or find a “friend,” you can leave. If you don't want to breathe smoke in the restaurants to which you haul your kids every night because you're too lazy to cook, you can leave. Therefore smokers are not ethically required not to smoke in bars and restaurants.
    Lest anyone protest that waitpersons should not be exposed to secondhand smoke, any experienced restaurant hand would say that smokers linger longer, drink more, and leave bigger tips.
    To say that bars or restaurants must provide clean air just in case the Baptists come by is tantamount to saying that adult movie theatres must stop showing dirty movies, just in case folks want to bring the kiddies.
L.A. Marland
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