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Wednesday, 02 May 2007

Comments

Incertus

I hate to say this, but the Republican Senator does have half a point. Our Constitution does protect the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Of course, that doesn't really apply here because there's no constitutional right to inhale smoke into one's lungs in public, but the general principle is a sound one.

I haven't smoked in a number of years, and I can't say that I miss coming home from a restaurant/bar smelling like it, but I am fairly libertarian on this sort of thing as far as personal use is concerned. The worry i have is that the ban on public places will be extended to private homes and outdoors as well, and I think that's overreaching in the extreme.

Michael

No, I don't think he has even half a point. Yes, the basic principle of the Constitution is that the majority cannot be allowed to tyrannize the minority. But when we're talking about rights, your rights stop where my body begins. You can do whatever you want to your own body (as I can to mine), as long as whatever either one of us is doing doesn't impact the other. Plus, even if there were such a thing as an absolute right to breathe cigarette smoke, I'd say we have all the evidence we need to establish a compelling state interest in regulating it--unless when you bu a pack of cigarettes you also have to swear that you have your own health insurance and will make no claim on society as a whole for your care or the support of your family when the cigarettes eventually kill you.

I don't think you have to worry about a total ban any time soon--and I'd just love to see them enforce it. I do think, however, that the state has a right to prohibit smokers from clumping up near the entrances to buildings and business establishments on their smoke breaks--and if they don't, then the business establishments surely do. Especially if they start losing business because people are reluctant to fight their way through the cloud of smoke just to get in the door.

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