No, don't be like New York City

The following is a letter to the editor I had printed in Central Michigan Life, Central Michigan University’s school rag. I wrote it in response to a previous letter to the editor.

Ban smoking in bars, restaurants, or any other private business? Absolutely not. Jeff Robinson’s Sept. 17th letter couldn’t be more wrong when he states that Mt. Pleasant should enact anti-smoking ordnances like New York City.

He claims that due to his major being Health Fitness, he has been made “very aware” of the dangers of smoking. Good for him, but I’ve known that smoking is bad since elementary school. It’s also irrelevant to the argument. I’ve worked as a bouncer for a bar in Traverse City in the past, and I can tell you that alcohol can lead to fights. Should we ban alcohol from restaurants and bars? No.

So if smoking is bad for ones health, then why shouldn’t the government ban it from restaurants and bars? It’s quite simple, because restaurants and bars are private establishments. If one doesn’t like the fact that an establishment allows smoking inside their premises, they certainly don’t have to patronize it. Assuming a proprietor is competent, the smoking policy of an establishment will be more than aptly determined by the market. If a majority of patrons stopped going to a bar or restaurant because they allowed smoking, the owner is surely going to change the policy on it.

Thinking an establishment is public just because it invites the public is a flawed perception that unfortunately many people have. It is this perception that empowers people to advocate banning smoking in restaurants and bars despite the fact that a majority of it’s patrons have no issues that prevent their continued support of these establishments. I could have told you this even if I wasn’t a business major. However, like I mentioned, it’s a flawed perception.