Regardless of whether or not you prefer smoke free bars and restaurants, the anti-smoking movement and their relentless pursuit of "public safety" should concern you. No one has ever been forced to frequent a smoke-filled establishment and no one has ever been forced to work in a smoke-filled environment.
Anti-smoking groups have created an excuse for government to quite literally stick their legislative noses into the private affairs of businesses who are abiding by the law. That's where Councilor Cadigan comes into this little post. According to Saturday's Albuquerque Journal, Councilor Cadigan has decided to take up for an unnamed business that has taken exception to Monte's cigar club (Subscription).
(Sidebar)The Journal reports that despite being cleared by the fire marshall, other businesses have complained about being able to smell (presumably) cigar smoke from the adjacent cigar club. Councilor Cadigan has proposed a city ordinance that would prohibit smoking in cigar shops. Currently cigar shops are exempt from the smoking regulations.
A little disclaimer here... we are not a smoker per se. We have been known to indulge in an occasional cigar from time to time but the number of cigars put to the fire in any given year could be counted on the fingers of one hand. We also weren't too thrilled with the Dee Johnson Indoor Air Act - not because it required restaurants and bars to prohibit smoking, but because it set a dangerous precedent for government interference in private establishments.
Despite the exemption, Monte's has been fitted with a specialized ventilation system to minimize aromatic invasion. That doesn't seem to be enough for the adjacent business so Cyrano Cadigan is extending his prodigious governmental nose into the dispute.
Our question is how far is this thing going to go? It's now illegal for businesses to allow smoking in their private establishments. What the intrepid councilor would like to do is prevent shops that sell cigars from allowing patrons to smoke them there. That would be like prohibiting patrons of bars from consuming their purchases on site.
More importantly, government is now inserting itself in almost every facet of our lives. They're not only protecting us from external threats and criminals, they've taken it upon themselves to protect us from ourselves.
Like it or not, smoking is a legal activity. Just because you can smell a cigar doesn't mean that you are being exposed to hazardous carcinogens or that your health is in any jeopardy. Besides, we don't believe that politicians should be the arbiters of science and health related safety.
We ask ourselves how far is too far? Our answer is that we've gone too far a long time ago. Government should stay out of our lives and businesses. The Monte's case shouldn't involve the Albuquerque City Council in the first place and it's terrifying that councilors believe that they should insert themselves into a olfactory offense. What's next, bad cologne?