The thing about these smoking bans is that whether they are justifiable (no, this is different from justified) or not is that they depend upon the effects of smoking upon non-smokers.
If I wish to pollute my lungs and, on a statistical basis at least, shorten my life that’s just, well, that’s just up to me. It isn’t just that I should be allowed to do so, it’s that I have a right, as the owner of my own body, to do as I wish with it.
So we’ve had the “anti-smokers” telling us that my smoking has a huge effect, an externality, upon others who do not smoke. This justifies restrictions upon what I do to my lungs.
Now if that were true, this would at least be an arguable reason for smoking restrictions. But is it actually true?
As an example, did deaths by heart attacks fall when the inside a room smoking ban was introduced? Umnm, no, actually, such deaths increased. Yes, those telling us different really are lying to us.
OK, let us really go further. Perhaps this ban on smoking in company will reduce primary smoking and there will be health benefits from that?
Umm, no. The various controls and bans on smoking in Ireland have actually increased smoking. And there is anecdotal evidence that everyone piling out of the pub for a puff has led to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases as those who would formerly not have met do in fact meet and hook up.
The classical liberal position is that it is my (or your) body to pollute as I (or you) wish. The more modern position is that there is more to think about than that.
Yes, and when we consider more than that it appears that smoking bans don’t work, doesn’t it?