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Anti-smoking amendment takes a path that's unwise

Publication Date: 2006-03-19
  • Author:John Ehiger
  • Publication:Huntsville Times

I bring this up because I have concerns about a constitutional amendment that has been approved by the state Senate and which may pass the House and be submitted to the voters.

The amendment would ban smoking in all restaurants and bars statewide. An exception of some kind would be made for outdoor decks and patios, but presumably they could not have tobacco smoke wafting inside...

While I can't find any rational justification, in legal theory or practical application, that allows one person to harm the health of another, a constitutional amendment comes with two problems.

It would give smokers-rights groups a rallying point, something to fire them up, so to speak. A lot of smokers are angry with anti-smoking laws, and I can envision them getting their voters to the polls and defeating the measure...
Even though smokers are outnumbered in Alabama and elsewhere, they might be joined by anti-government nonsmokers who simply don't want the state to get involved in such things.