Whether you smoke or not, how bad is it when as you walk into a restaurant to eat a nice meal, you’re greeted with a cloud of smoke in your face. This is the biggest issue with a smoking ban for Northern Kentucky. Supporters say the ban is needed for protection against the hazards of secondhand-smoke. Opponents call it unnecessary and say it infringes on the rights of business and property owners.
There are a number of legislators that want to put out there, that making a statewide smoking ban would be unconstitutional. Most oppose the statewide ban on grounds that people have the right to decide whether to allow smoking at their businesses. Some suggest installing equipment that would remove smoke from the air(website). This is immediately opposed because of the cost for such equipment. And it still doesn’t fully work. State Senate President David Williams said,”What about about the person who can’t afford to do that…I want to level the playing field.” Williams strongly endorses a statewide smoking ban, saying it’s a workplace safety issue and not a matter of property rights as many conservatives contend(website).
Williams said he would support a ban that would allow smoking in a limited number of businesses, such as cigar bars. This ban was also supported as an alternative to Governor Steve Beshear’s plan to raise the tax on cigarettes several years ago. Williams’ opponent in the Republican primary, is Louisville businessman Phil Moffett. Moffett likes to say that Williams’ position demonstrates that he isn’t a true conservative. Moffett argues that the scientific arguments in favor of a smoking ban-that secondhand-smoke can cause a wide range of health problems are overstated. All they want to talk about is how this ban isn’t health related, but simply aworkplace issue. “If the government wants to ban smoking in government buildings, I have no problem with that. If government wants to tell me…that I can’t do something on my own property like, smoke, I have a problem with that,” he said(website). “It’s a property-rights issue, it’s a freedom issue, the government has no right telling me as a person that owns a piece of property…what I can do on that as long as it’s legal.” He also added: “I believe (the threat from) secondhand-smoke has been overblown.”(website)
As of December 1st, 2010, seventy percent of Northern Kentucky restaurants are already smoke-free by choice, and that “no one is forced” to enter the remaining establishments that still allow smoking(website). The smoking ban opponents have complained that restaurants and bars could suffer a twenty-five to thirty percent loss in business if they’re forced to send their smoking customers outside. On January 6th, 2011, a new campaign started to bring an indoor smoking ban to the entire state. A coalition of health groups and supporters will also unveil the results of a new Kentucky poll that shows most Kentuckians support a smoking ban(website).
In conclusion, a smoking ban may seem like it’s unconstitutional to some, but we are coming into an age where people are more health conscious. As I stated before, seventy percent of Northern Kentucky restaurants are already smoke-free by choice. The opposition thinks it’s all about the government telling them what to do, but most of these businesses that went smoke-free did it without anyone telling them to do it. Most smokers think this is a good idea also, because you can’t really have a smoking and non-smoking section unless you enclosed them in a box. So, by creating a smoking ban it actually levels the playing field. If no restaurant or bar allows smoking, then the profits remain the same, and smokers just go outside to smoke.
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