Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another Smoking Ban

Residents and Businesses in New Hope Pennsylvania received a letter in late November from the Borough Council President announcing his plans to try and pass a smoking ban in town. The letter below is a "big-picture" response on my part.

Borough Council President
Richard Hirschfield
New Hope Borough
41 North Main St.
New Hope, PA 18938

Dear President Hirschfield:

I am writing this letter in response to your notification that you will be pursuing a smoking ban in public places. I am saddened by the thought since New Hope continues to be one of the most tolerant communities in America, where personal freedoms and the pursuit of happiness is still defined by the individual. In America, consumers vote with their pocketbooks and people have the choice to visit smoking or non-smoking establishments. Workers also have the choice to apply for jobs in smoking or non-smoking businesses. Private businesses have the right to allow legal activities to take place on their premises: in fact that is often their competitive advantage. The converse of this statement is also true: non-smoking businesses have a competitive advantage which their patrons appreciate and reward with their loyalty.

I would agree that smoking is one of the most extreme and potentially unhealthy personal choices, but it is still legal. Years ago, we used to speculate that after smoking was limited through legislation, that fat people and obesity were next. And that is exactly what is happening: new laws are already being passed limiting what oils restaurants can cook with, and this is just the beginning. In the name of the “Health and Welfare” of the population, politicians and legislators are taking away every right that makes being an American valuable. Yet, personal choice is the foundation of liberty. Just this month, voters in Germany renounced a broad ban on smoking, limiting the new laws to government offices and places where people do not have a reasonable choice to be, such as public transportation. Many publications have reported how older Germans find such legislation distasteful since the Nazis banned smoking over six decades ago. I would urge you to lead through education and example and let our culture evolve through its own enlightenment rather than because of unnecessary laws which restrict our freedoms.


Jorge Luis Armenteros, CMT