Smoking Is a Freedom that Impacts Other’s Freedoms

I’ve heard a lot of discussions about the efforts to ban smoking in many restaurants and bars. The city of Birmingham, Alabama is actually working on Legislation to ban it. Atlantica Station is considering banning it on its outdoor premises. The Atlanta Braves have designated smoking sections.

While driving into Birmingham, one talk radio host suggested that it was similar to the Big Gulp ban that Mayor Bloomberg wants – but the difference is that smoking drastically impacts others’ rights around the smoker.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Life, is obviously impacted if you / your children develop cancer, lung conditions, or are encouraged to smoke because others around you are.

Your freedom / pursuit of happiness are affected if there are areas that you don’t want to stand in because it burns your eyes or makes you cough. This is worse than slander violating free speech. Beyond that, there are also obvious property right effects, more fires, costs of smoking designated areas, air ventilation, and trash receptacles for smokers (or the workers to pick up stomped on butts).

The recent, most obvious solution is the e-cigarette, the smoker’s version of an air scrubber or catalytic converter.

Cities aren’t trying to ban smoking in private places (see your house), but I could see an easy case for it causing an increase in taxes for the fire department and to support smoke free green initiatives to offset the carbon and tar affecting the city.