Thursday, April 19, 2007

Smoking ban vs. Property rights

From the April Edition of the Civitas Poll:
Do you support or oppose legislation allowing a restaurant, bar or tavern owner to decide their own smoking policy as long as the policy was clearly posted at the entrance to their business?

Support 70%
Oppose 26%
From the March Edition:
Do you think the state should pass a law banning smoking in all buildings open to the public, including bars and restaurants?

Yes 61%
No 34%
Seems to be a contradiction, right? Jack Hawke of the Civitas Institute tried to describe a disconnect between the public's approval of a smoking ban and their support of property rights. He thinks that these results prove that the property rights argument is stronger than the smoking ban. That’s possible.

Art Pope spoke up during the discussion and said that he thought that the inclusion of the words “open to the public” in the March edition increased support for the smoking ban.

I’m closer to Art Pope’s thinking. To me the public is VERY MUCH in favor of a ban on smoking in public buildings, but lukewarm on smoking bans in restaurants. (That’s my personal opinion too). I think they would approve of no smoking in most restaurants, but if there are a few bars and restaurants that want to allow smoking they are alright with that.

So I think the difference between the two results is that the April edition only discusses bars and restaurants, while the March edition discussed all public buildings. Not necessarily a vindication of property rights.

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