Anti-smoking extremists losing in North Carolina

The Charlotte Observer, Tar Heel House Democrats and their useful Republican idiot allies against private property rights are losing their war against tobacco they thought they had won after last fall’s election results.

The proposed ban on smoking in restaurants and other businesses is now in the hands of the N.C. Senate, where it has the support of the powerful Democratic leader.

“My take would be that, yes, we would pass it,” Marc Basnight, the Senate’s president pro tem, said yesterday.

But the bill’s fate is far from clear, because it faces new opposition from the state’s restaurant owners, who are angry over an amendment to the bill that occurred in the N.C. House.

Until this week, the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association had stayed on the sidelines. The group agreed to remain neutral as long as the smoking ban applied evenly to all restaurants and bars. The original bill, sponsored by state Rep. Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, would have done that.

But on Wednesday, some House members successfully passed an amendment that carved out an exception for establishments that are restricted to people 18 or older.

As a practical matter, the amendment would let age-restricted bars and nightclubs continue to allow smoking.

But restaurants would have to prohibit indoor smoking — or, if they wanted to allow smoking, they would have to restrict their clientele to adults only.

“It no longer presents a level playing field,” said Paul Stone, the president and CEO of the restaurant association.

It seems that the North Carolina House didn’t get the memo about caring enough about the health of children in private clubs, much less adults anywhere, if you believe the local dead-tree Drive-by media’s latest crocodile tearjerker about second-hand smoke:

Over the years the legislature first banned smoking in its chambers, then in its own buildings, and finally in all state buildings. Thus state employees are protected, and so are citizens who visit state buildings.

But elsewhere in the state,citizens and workers are not protected from the ill effects of smoke. Rep. Hugh Holliman’s bill would have done so by banning smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Holliman told his colleagues his bill was about a health issue – and not about private property or personal freedoms. His proposal not only banned smoking in workplaces and public places indoors, but also would allow local governments to adopt stricter smoking controls.

But when the House began work on the bill Wednesday, legislators were more eager to protect the ability of current smokers to light up than they were to protect the public, including workers, from smoke. The House approved Rep. Nelson Cole’s amendment to allow restaurants and bars to allow smoking if those businesses banned admission or employment to those younger than 18. That significantly weakened the bill for nonsmokers and workers over 18 in those places. That amendment also turned the state’s restaurant association against the bill, because family restaurants would have trouble competing with most bars for customers.

The House approved another amendment Thursday to exempt private nonprofit clubs from the law. That means workers there, and nonsmokers and their children who attend functions there – will also absorb smoke into their bodies and potentially suffer the consequences at some time in their lives.

Where to begin, and you will excuse my glee, as I pointed out many, many moons ago over many peace pipes that if the issue were really dangers over second-hand smoke, the Observer, Holliman and all the mob-like crusaders, would simply require that employers offer workers masks to wear while in a smokey atmosphere, much like the requirements for textile workers and coal miners.

The zealots long ago toned down their wailing about the health of customers given that the market has provided numerous eating choices in non-smoking environments.

So they concentrate their efforts with “do it for the children” and “protect the workers.”

Yet, they seem to care more about having a waiter not be dressed like a bank robber (Jesse James, pictured, safe from second-hand smoke) than the lungs of the masked garcon.

The fact is that it is the anti-smoking zealots that are the robbers, i,e, robbers of the fruits of others’ labor.

But of course the issue has never been about threats to health from second-hand smoke. Common sense tells you, as well as recent studies, that when a substance takes 50 years to kill you when you suck 20 thru a straw everyday, it would take hundreds of years of breathing it in at one part per billions.

Our founding fathers, many of whom were tobacco farmers, considered the right to private property to be indispensable to Liberty. Restaurants and bars are the private property of people that worked hard for the fruits of their labor to build a business.

Yet, the anti-smoking mob, with plenty of anti-smoking choices for their dining pleasure, deign to demand that all restaurants and bars cater to their air quality preferences.

Well, we defeated such a mob called the British over 200 years ago. And we did it for the children!

Originally published at Examiner.com which includes additional info and links

Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer, Examiner.com and Minority Report columns

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson