New law curtails freedom

Published 2:06 pm Thursday, December 31, 2009

Smoking can cause cancer and can be dangerous for those who are pregnant.

We will in no way spend time saying smoking is a virtue.

It is, however, something millions of Americans choose to do – free people with rights and liberties that should be afforded them just as they are to those who choose not to smoke.

The North Carolina General Assembly enacted a law that took effect at 12:01 a.m. today (Saturday) that banned smoking from all restaurants in the state. It does not allow for a smoking area for those customers who do smoke, but simply eliminates the practice altogether.

We could debate the finer points of whether or not smoking infringes on the rights of those who do not, but the simple fact of the matter is that everyone should have a choice of where to eat.

Those who want to smoke should be free to do so if the owner of the establishment allows it. Those who do not like the practice, can feel free to eat at another restaurant. That’s what freedom is about – choice.

It is especially disconcerting for those restaurant owners who smoke. They no longer have the option to smoke in a place of business they own and operate. This would certainly seem to be taking away a freedom in a country that prides itself in the liberty of its citizens.

The General Assembly probably meant well, but Americans should never be happy when their freedoms are curtailed and that is certainly the result of the new law.