Thomas Laprade: Smoking bans are the real threat to democracy
Letter to the editor — 6/24/2008 5:21 am
Dear Editor: The bandwagon of local smoking bans now steamrolling across the nation has nothing to do with protecting people from the supposed threat of secondhand smoke.
Indeed, the bans themselves are symptoms of a far more grievous threat: a cancer that has metastasized throughout the body politic — the cancer of unlimited government power.
Loudly billed as measures that only affect “public places,” smoking bans have actually targeted private places: restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and offices.
The decision to smoke, or to avoid secondhand smoke, is a question to be answered by each individual based on his assessment of the risks. Yet when it comes to smoking, this freedom is under attack. Cigarette smokers are a numerical minority, practicing a habit considered annoying and unpleasant. So the majority has simply commandeered the power of government and used it to dictate their behavior.
That is why these bans are far more threatening than the prospect of inhaling a few stray whiffs of tobacco while waiting for a table at your favorite restaurant. The anti-tobacco crusaders point in exaggerated alarm at those wisps of smoke while they unleash the systematic and unlimited intrusion of government into our lives.
Thunder Bay, Ontario