On November 19, Dallas City Council members will meet and vote on proposed new restrictions on the city’s smoking ordinance. This is the second time in half a decade that anti-smoking proposals have been brought before the council to be voted on. The fundamental problem with smoking bans is their infringement on the free market, and the rights of both business owners and consumers. Not to mention the negative effect further restrictions will have on the local economy. The Mayor of Dallas, Tom Leppert, scheduled a public meeting on the proposed smoking ordinance the day after Election Day when everybody has grown sick and tired of hearing about politics and elections.

“He sprang this on the citizens,” Peggy Venerable, Texas director for Americans for Prosperity said in response to Tom Leppert’s decision. “This meeting was scheduled in the middle of a workday and after the national elections, when the citizens’ attention would be turned elsewhere.”

It is almost as if Mayor Leppert does not want the taxpayers to give their say on the matter, but that would be ridiculous, right?

The whole purpose of these smoking bans is to appease those who worry about the effects of secondhand smoke. These same people worry so much that they are more than willing to infringe on another person’s right to do something that is completely legal. Regardless of the fact that the effects of secondhand smoke are still widely disputed, and there is no conclusive evidence that links secondhand smoke to lung cancer people have just as much right to choose not to enter a bar that allows smoking that a consumer does to smoke in a business that allows it. Smoking bans expand government to such an extent that they tell businesses in a free market what they can and cannot do and/or allow in their places of business.

There is a simple solution, and that is for the businesses themselves to post a sign outside and in their establishments that identify the location as either a smoking or non-smoking area. Let the free market work, and it will prove to be better for the economy.

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