Should States Such As North Carolina Be Able to Ban Smoking in Restaurants And Bars?

Published January 13, 2010


As President Calvin Coolidge once said, “Ultimately property rights and personal rights are the same thing.” Property rights are at the heart of the smoking ban debate, but they are often overlooked at the expense of what is perceived to be the “greater good.”

A true respect for property rights requires that business owners be free to make decisions on their own, with the marketplace rewarding or punishing them.

Many businesses have already chosen, without government intervention, to go smoke-free or to offer their customers smoke-free environments. That decision should be theirs to make.

Smokers should not be turned into second-class citizens for using a legal product when the free market offers both smoking and non-smoking environments for employees and customers to choose from.

Smoking bans restrict consumer choice and infringe upon property rights. The community is better served when businesses, employees, and consumers are allowed to self-regulate and reach accommodations among themselves.

John Nothdurft, The Heartland Institute

This letter to the editor was originally published in The Kansas City Star.