Smoking and liberty

By Tom DeWeese
web posted January 29, 2001

Efforts to ban smoking aren't just a virtuous attempt to protect our health and make things smell good, it is a terrifying usurpation of individual liberty and Constitutional rights. Every step the opponents of smoking take and every victory they win only emboldens the smoking police to go even further. How far will they go?

First the work place was targeted, sending more than fifty million smokers out into the cold for a quick puff. Next were bars and restaurants airports and hotels. Many outside activities have also taken up the ban. Smokers have had to retreat to the point where the only place they're safe to relax and enjoy their vice is in the privacy of their own home…oh oh… yep, you guessed it. The latest target is the home.

Los Angeles, California---where else? The new move for smoking restrictions began in the ultraliberal suburb of West Hollywood, where the City Council in November passed an ordinance allowing nonsmoking apartment dwellers to file complaints when tobacco smoke drifts into their doors and windows from a neighbor's unit. Tenants who refuse city arbitration will face fines and eviction.

There you have it, smokers. You have nowhere left to go, but the truth is there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that second hand smoke is harmful to anyone. It's high time the fifty million smokers stopped being the nation's punching bag and start fighting back.

This could set the stage for the culture police to follow the same game plan to ban perfume, peanuts and chocolate sundaes. Stop blowing smoke and start taking back your homes, your favorite neighborhood bar, and come in out of the cold at work.

Tom DeWeese is the editor of The DeWeese Report, president of the American Policy Center, and a non-smoker. The Center maintains an Internet site at

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