Who is asking for this smoking ban? Certainly not the people of Chicago.
In 2003 there were only 16 registered complaints of smoking with the city of Chicago and 20 in 2004. The only people really pushing for this ban are Alderman Smith and Alderman Stone.
January 2004 was the last official hearing of this ban. Alderman Smith has “reintroduced” the ban several times with no hearing, including on Tuesday the 12th, which again resulted in no hearing. How many times will it take before the Alderman understands the people don’t want a ban?
Restaurants and bars are privately owned businesses. The owners are in the best position to know what their customers want. They should be allowed to decide whether to permit smoking in their establishment. No one is forced to eat or work at a business that allows smoking.
About 69 percent of the 6,000 licensed restaurants in Chicago are non-smoking, by the owners’ choice. For every restaurant that serves a certain cuisine and allows smoking, you can find one that serves that same cuisine and is non smoking.
People have a right to smoke, just as I have the right not to. We do NOT have a right to tell private business owners how to run their businesses. Just find a non-smoking restaurant to eat at or work in. There are thousands of them in the city of Chicago alone.
Crystal Lake, IL
Nikki Comerford is associate publisher of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute.