This is a prime example government getting involved in issues where it doesn’t belong. When this kind of thing happens, we need to decide simply if the free market can solve this or not. And in this case, not only can it, it must.
I’m a non-smoker. I hate sitting in a restaurant and smelling cigarette smoke while I’m trying to eat. I don’t think I should be forced to inhale second-hand smoke. But that’s just the point. I’m not forced to. No one puts a gun to my head and forces me to have dinner at any particular restaurant. No one forces me to shop at any particular store or frequent a specific business.
The solution to the problem is simple. If you want to go to dinner, call the restaurant and find out if they allow smoking. If they do and you smoke, go there. If they don’t and you don’t smoke, go there. If your needs don’t match up, don’t go there. Consumers do have power.
This idea should then be taken a step further by business associations and chambers of commerce, by providing tools to identify restaurants and their smoking preference. For example, restaurants and stores and other businesses should simply post a sign in their window, indicating their smoking preference. This way, consumers can make an educated choice. If business groups include this data on their web sites, then consumers could do things like go on the internet and see a list of smoke-free businesses in their area.
This same choice could be used by employees as well. If you don’t like smoke, don’t work in a business that allows smoking. This is America. We do have choices.
The problem with our current situation is that cities like Appleton have already enacted their own smoking ban. So now you’ve got an uneven playing field. Bars in Appleton don’t like the fact that their smoking customers are going to neighboring cities; if they have to ban smoking, then the entire state should. While that does make it even, that’s not the solution.
We have two things going for us. We are smart people and this is America. Let us make our own choices. We don’t need the state government butting in and making choices for us.