As a firm believer in free market capitalism, I have no problem with business owners choosing — on their own accord — to either allow or prohibit smoking within their establishments. As consumers, we can likewise choose where to spend our money based on those decisions.

When politicians pass sweeping bans affecting the very ability to use a legal product, though, the free market has been replaced by a nanny state government.

A New Jersey city council recently approved an ordinance that prohibits smoking on all public property, including outdoor areas such as parks.

While the mayor contended the ruling “is about protecting our children, giving our residents the right to enjoy our outdoor facilities and public spaces without putting their health at risk, and keeping our landscape clean,” smokers inevitably feel it also serves as yet another bureaucratic slap in the face.

Of course ,this incident is far from the only widespread municipal ban on smoking. When one resident of a Missouri city that passed a similar ordinance in 2011 expressed his displeasure, the case made it to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

His argument centered around an unfair persecution of smokers while various other pollutants receive virtually no scrutiny or prohibition.

Though his case revealed the fallacy of thought displayed by the anti-smoking left, he was ultimately unsuccessful in convincing the judge that such bans are unconstitutional.

In his ruling, the chief judge explained it really doesn’t matter “whether outdoor secondhand smoke exposure actually causes harm,” noting that since “the city reasonably could believe this to be true, the ordinance survives.”

An attorney representing the disgruntled smoker, though, wondered how the city could believe the claim at all, considering there is precious little empirical proof.

“There is a class warfare element to this thing that is unattractive,” the lawyer said, “and we’re pushing for liberty.” He went on to say that smokers are treated as “pariahs in polite, sophisticated society” while working-class citizens “smoke all the time.”

The upper echelon of the nation’s citizenry has always been the focus of leftist policy, which makes it far more nauseating to see them characterize conservatives as caring only for the rich.
B. Christopher Agee founded The Informed Conservative in 2011. Like his Facebook page for engaging, relevant conservative content daily.

Photo credit: hegarty_david (Creative Commons)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

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