News9 Tulsa reports Oklahoma “Gov. Mary Fallin says she plans to push for a statewide vote on a smoking ban designed to reduce second-hand smoke and promote a healthier state.” Sounds great, right? Healthy state, reduction in second-hand smoke. Well, there’s a few details to add to this. First off, the state Senate already rejected a similar bill this week that would have allowed local municipalities to make their own regulations on the issue. Governor Fallin announced in her State of the State address this month that she would be pushing legislation to help promote a healthier state. I’m all for a healthier state, but apparently her intention is to use laws and government regulations to accomplish her goal.
This is one of those issues where I’m a “local libertarian,” meaning that I believe it should be down to the most local form of government to decide what laws should or should not be in place. It’s definitely not the federal government’s job to tell me if I can smoke (though they’re trying to do that through taxes), and it really isn’t even the state’s job as far as I’m concerned. I don’t mind cities passing their own ordinances about smoking on public property, or “common areas” like downtown streets and such. I’m not particularly fond of someone blowing smoke in my face, and it’s a violation of my liberties.
Now, as for smoking in general, I think it’s a bad idea. You shouldn’t do it. My grandfather died of smoking related disease, and it kills people every year. Basically I have almost the same position on other issues like alcohol or marijuana law. As far as I’m concerned, smoking is a really bad idea. However, that doesn’t mean I believe we need laws or taxes (in many cases) to stop people from smoking. Driving cars kills people too, but that shouldn’t be illegal either. (Well, except for the jerk that cuts me off on my way to work!)
Unfortunately, this is an issue where I am not in line with my Governor. Governor Fallin may be a conservative in a lot of areas, but in this case she apparently believes that if we have a problem, government and regulation will solve it. Is it a coincidence that she wants this to be on the ballot in 2014 when she is up for election again? Probably not, but it may just backfire. Lots of people in Oklahoma smoke, and though I am not one of them, I am not for sweeping, statewide bans on the private practices of people. It should be up to businesses, to decided if smoking should be allowed on their private property. If you don’t like the policy of a local business that allows smoking in front of you, you have the absolute freedom to choose another place to do business.
On the other hand, stop smoking, people! It’s bad for you and you should quit!
UPDATE: Here’s a restaurant that made the decision to go smoke-free on its own, without any government intervention. That’s the way it should be done!SHARE