The smoking ban in Springfield, MO passed on April 5th, 2011. Some people have wondered why I’m passionate about this issue, and why I voted against this ban (and the ban on alcohol in theaters as well). As a non-smoker, non-drinker it would be easy for me to vote yes on these bans to vote how I feel about smoking and drinking themselves. I think smoking and drinking are not good for you, but that is not what this ban is about…
This is about control…
Here are my enumerated reason for not liking this ban (in no particular order):
1) We already have a smoking ban in Springfield. I don’t remember the specifics of it, but it’s something like if a restaurant’s liquor sales are under a certain percentage, they can’t allow smoking.
2) Smoking is not a big problem in Springfield. You wouldn’t know that if all you have read is the propaganda from One Air Alliance. They make it sound like all restaurants, places of employment, and the sidewalks are filled with second hand smoke. That is simply not the case. Check out this list of smoke free places in Springfield, MO. There are a lot of restaurants, and employers that are already smoke free. The universities and healthcare facilities all went smoke free before the existing ban. If you want to avoid second hand smoke there are plenty of places you can go.
3) MOST OF THE PLACES THEY ARE BANNING ARE ALREADY SMOKE FREE!
4) The citizens of Springfield have seized a little more control of privately owned businesses! We can all agree smoking and second hand smoke are both bad for you. I’m not arguing with that, but like I said in my second point, there are plenty of places you can go without breathing second hand smoke. But what you can no longer do is go to Just for Him or the Albatross and smoke a cigar. People who don’t smoke, and don’t like smoke are never forced to go in there, but now those unique meeting places for smokers will be illegal in Springfield, MO. A trucker, who owns his truck and drives into the city limits of Springfield cannot smoke a cigarette because it is an enclosed work environment.
5) This is another step down a slippery slope. Like I said in my fourth point this has taken away rights of private citizens and business owners. This sets precedent of government taking away rights of citizens and businesses because of harm, real or perceived. Second hand smoke is a real harm, but it’s perceived to be a major health issue in public places in Springfield and that is simply not true. I fear what they will be banning in five or ten years. There are groups of atheists that think religion is harmful to individuals and even harmful to humanity as a whole. As atheism and secular humanism are on the rise they could potentially have the numbers to put on a ballot to ban public worship of God and shut down churches. The smoking ban was not put on the ballot in Springfield because the city council wanted to instate this ban, it was put on the ballot by petition.
This is setting a precedent that with money and votes you can do anything even if it supersedes common sense, and the rights of individuals and businesses. Where in our constitution does it give government (local, state, or federal) the right to ban legal activities within privately owned businesses?
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