Monday, July 30, 2007


On December 8, 2005, Washington implemented a state-wide ordinance imposing a complete ban on smoking in public places, including a 25-foot buffer around entrances and air intakes. Not some jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction, piecemeal regulation, but a sweeping state-wide nix on this awful behavior. I'm not surprised that this was accomplished through the initiative process and not by the legislature; it's too bad that legislatures can't make decisions like this.

Okay, perhaps state regulation of personal behavior is bad in a libertarian sense, but a smoking ban has real appeal to me.

I didn't detect a coincident collapse in the hospitality industry. There didn't appear to be an exodus of people to Oregon, Idaho, or British Columbia so they could enjoy a puff and the satisfaction of putting out a cigarette in a billowy pile of mashed potatoes. The bars seemed to be doing just fine without the acrid smell of tobacco smoke to enhance the aroma of stale beer. If a smoking ban doesn't cause economic devastation (as the critics insist), what's not to like?

So, note to self: it's time to crank up the email machine and fire off a few missives to our representative government to see if there's an appetite in Virginia for a smoking ban. I'm not advocating a ban on the growing of tobacco [yet], just an outright ban on burning the weed. Perhaps some of the so-called "gun control" crowd can be persuaded to pick up a more worthwhile ban.

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