Ban Belmont's Smoking Ban
October 15, 2007
Irvine, CA--Belmont, California, recently passed a measure banning smoking in, among other places, multiunit dwellings and outdoor restaurants in order to protect people from secondhand smoke.
"But those who don't wish to be exposed to cigarette smoke do not need a coercive ban to protect them," said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. "No one is forced to inhale cigarette smoke against his will--if property rights are protected.
Rather than protecting individuals from unwanted smoke, this measure tramples on the rights of property owners.
"Property owners, including restaurant proprietors and apartment landlords, should be free to decide whether or not smoking is allowed on their property and under what conditions. If a potential diner or tenant does not agree to the policy, he is free to take his business elsewhere. But he should not be free to impose his smoking preferences on others, at the expense of their use and enjoyment of their property, or the profitability of their business.
"Clearly, this is not an attempt to protect people from unwillingly inhaling smoke--it is an attempt by the city council to impose its anti-smoking views on Belmont citizens. But no habit could be as destructive as granting the government the power to dictate what we can and can't do on our own property.
"Those who value freedom and property rights should oppose this ban."
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