Nothing’s Smoking in New Jersey except Civil Liberties

Add New Jersey to the list, 11-strong, of localities that have banned smoking in restaurants and other supposed “public places” that are privately owned. The one exception, this time around, is casinos. Why? Because the casino lobby in New Jersey is strong enough to stop them, and that’s it.

All of this would be bad enough for supporters of smokers’ rights-except that New Jersey went even further. They’ve joined with three other states in raising the age at which one can legally buy cigarettes from 18 to 19.

So we have a new law that not only destroys two civil liberties, but also adds to the confusing mess that is government regulation. You can smoke at 18, you just can’t buy cigarettes. Smoking in public is very very bad for your health and the health of others, except in casinos where apparently it’s not. I wouldn’t care so much about this, except that it’s yet another precedent that health Nazis here in my native Nebraska can cite next time they try to pass this political abortion of a law.

EDIT: My apologies for not crediting the good folks at Bureaucrash.com for the image on the right. It’s one of their shirt designs, and you can see more of them on their site.

posted by Stuart Richards
  • Artus Register

    While similar rubbish was debated here in Florida, the Restaurant Association didn’t lift a finger, utter a sound or buy a second of TV time or a word of print. The other side had an army of individuals who, without training, payment or guidance dutifully harassed people at their jobs, on the streets, etc.
    While their victory served as pathetic proof of mankinds sheeplike nature, the lesson is that we as decentralized libertarians can win battles as well if we pound the pavement and are too loud to ignore.

  • Stephen Gordon

    I covered what the Restaurant Association did in Alabama here. They support a state wide ban, but not local bans.

  • Michael Hampton

    Wow, whose blog am I reading here? :) From what I can gather, the restaurants in New Jersey just weren’t organized enough to put a stop to this bill, though the casinos definitely were organized enough to get themselves exempted from it.

  • http://strangeland.blogdrive.com stranger

    a problem with your analysis, michael, is that it implies that money and organization earns one special treatment in the eyes of the law. ever heard the term “equal protection”? laws, even unjust ones, need to be applied equally, or not at all.

    but then, these laws are a load of horseshit anyway. telling a private business owner what he or she can or cannot allow on or in his or her OWN PROPERTY is ridiculous. the outcome of these laws, across the board, has been business and money lost for restaurant and bar owners. the owners should be able to decide for themselves whether they prefer to pander to their smoking clientele, or non-smokers… not the government.

  • Michael Hampton

    Stranger, you quite accurately perceive a large problem with politics today. Now, what do you do about it?

  • J

    Does anyone besides me think this is only the first step in complete state control?

  • Michael Hampton

    It’s hardly the first step, J.

  • http://disvoter.blogspot.com The Disenfranchised Voter

    Lovely, just lovely.

    As a NJ resident, this isn’t news I like to wake up to.

    I can’t say I am surprised though, as this rumors of such a law passing were rampant.

  • http://disvoter.blogspot.com The Disenfranchised Voter

    scratch the “this”

  • http://libertarianyouth.blogspot.com Nigel Watt

    I’m a non-smoker and I hate the smell of tobacco smoke. Thus I prefer to go to places which don’t allow smoking. But if places do want to allow smoking, I can make a decision: Is it more important to go someplace or to not smell tobacco? The folks who want it both ways are just being obnoxious.

  • marty

    I am a libertarian that chooses his battles. I am much more concerned about real threats to my liberty like the patriot act and the bush administration in general. The fact that some drug addict will have to get their fix by dipping snuff, chewing tobacco, or wearing a patch does not seem like much of a threat to me. I would be more than happy if marijuana could be legally grown and smoked in the home.
    as for the absurdity of being allowed to kill youself with tobacco at 18 but it being illegal to purchase it? that serves my purpose. the more stupid and overreaching the democrats and republicans get the easier it is to recruit new libertarians. bring on the stupid and annoying regulation please!

  • Geoff Allen

    Hey, what are the chances that cool image is on a T-shirt already? If it isn’t, it should be, and I know several people who would be interested in buying them. Do you have a high quality version of that picture? I might just make them myself…

  • Artus Register

    It, and others like it can be found in the Subversive Tees section of Bureaucrash.com

  • http://www.opentorrent.org OpenTorrent

    I do not mind restricting the smoking. Before I get flamed by people telling me that restricting smoking is anti-libertarian… check out the Introduction to Liberty at ISIL.org (flash).

    Children do NOT ask for, desire to, or want to inhale the smoke and one of the libertarian ideals is to NOT impose harm upon others. I believe many of us can look at science as a double edged sword… however I think all of us can agree that the proof of the damage of smoking effects people other than that of the person actually smoking.

    Should there be a “public” ban!? NO.

    Should there be a common courtesy afforded a “family” restaurant? Sure, if it is based on the decision of the establishment.

    If you don’t smoke, and do not wish to have your children exposed to the smoke… your lack of business will be more effective than legislation.

  • Artus Register

    The “evidence” of harmful second hand smoke is based on voodoo science, at best. I agree that parents shouldn’t expose their children to smoke, but that is a parenting issue. If a parent takes their kid to a smoky pool hall or a party where many of the guests smoke, the health situation is the same. You wouldn’t condone restriction of smoking in the home, would you? Yet, the exposure there is the same or worse. Once you sanction government to dictate policy to the private sector, you have irreparably pried the top from Pandora’s Box.
    That this or that must be done in the name of public health in general, and “for the children” in particular, is a tired and decidedly statist excuse to restrict liberty. It is simply impossible to legislate good parenting and it is folly to try.
    The market is fully capable of providing two dining options.

  • Artus Register

    Your position is unclear. You begin by stating you “do not mind restricting the smoking.” You go on to say decisions should be made by the establishment. As no one is arguing the right of the business-owner to set his own policy, I don’t understand the point you’re making.

  • Oje

    I am a non-smoker, never even tried a cigarette. I do think the ban in restaurants is a good idea, but in bars i think its stupid and people need to quit whining. Oh boo hoo you have to inhale some smoke, how clean is the oxygen your breathing in and out all day long? Im sure the exhaust you inhale walking through a parking lot cant be too good for you either. So should we get rid of cars? You might as well walk around with a gas mask on your face. And i love the people who dont want to come home from a bar smelling like smoke. Do you shower? Do you wash your clothes? Or do you just walk around for the next week wearing the same outfit? And health issues from the smoke? Please, stop kidding yourselves. You mean to tell me all of you are in the best shape of your life? I doubt it, half of you probably ate at a fast food restaurant within the past week, or havent been to the doctor for a check up in years. But a little smoke in a bar is a huge concern while your throwing back beers.

  • J

    Somebody mentioned the ”voodoo science” of smoking,and they are dead on.The numbers recording any instance where second hand smoke is hazardous are statistically insignificant. The EPA’s study on the same subject was thrown out, because of shady evidence gathering. Then there’s the ridiculous WHO report: it publicly announced harm, but the actual report indicated nothing. Both studies failed in that they made the presumption smoke was unhealthy,and worked from there.

    I suppose it doesn’t matter, though.There was a time in our country when people could get away with smoking and even, dare I say it, not wearing their seat belts.

  • Michael McAuliffe

    Ah! This has also been proposed and will probably be passed here in Chicago. A large argument here of banning smoking in private establishments is the damage of secondhand smoke to employees of the establishment. When I bring up that employees have a choice as to where they work, they argue that many of them are “forced” to work there because they can’t find work anywhere else. It’s very frustrating to argue with these people.

  • Mike R

    I have to disagree with the restaurant ban as well as the bar ban. The real purpose of this ban is control, at the behest of our central planners that know better than we as consumers. Businesses only allowed smoking because that’s what their patrons want, and they will otherwise take their business and dollars to someplace that will accomodate them.

    Like many laws, there is no compromise, or providing market solutions that would meet the supposed intent of the law, since the real intent is not the stated one. The law does not have any air quality provisions, where a restaurant could provide enhanced ventillation and filtration in order to allow smoking. If the intent is to protect people from bad air, the government could simply pass a regulation that the air quality must meet or exceed the quality of the outside air, + or – a certain %, and then meet laid out criteria that has some scientific basis. The real goal of those supporting the ban is complete prohibition of smoking.

  • http://www.opentorrent.org OpenTorrent

    You wouldn’t condone restriction of smoking in the home, would you?

    Never. I thought I stated my position clear enough… but I will elaborate on my original statement. I believe that it is the parents responsibility to restrict their smoking around their children NOT the government. Just as it is the right of an establishment (let’s use a restaurant) to restrict smoking if they so choose to do so.

    blah…

  • Raist

    I don’t consider “smokers’ rights” to be the issue here – I think the real issue is business owners’ rights. If a business owner wants to allow smoking, he should be able to, and if he doesn’t, he can feel free to ban smoking. Then, the consumers have the right to go where they please according to their preference. Most owners would gravitate towards the local preference (whatever way that goes) due to demand.

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  • http://www.foraaugusta.com Stuart Richards

    A large argument here of banning smoking in private establishments is the damage of secondhand smoke to employees of the establishment. When I bring up that employees have a choice as to where they work, they argue that many of them are “forced” to work there because they can’t find work anywhere else. It’s very frustrating to argue with these people.

    That’s the main argument advanced in Nebraska, too… it’s little more than populist emotionalistic nonsense, but sadly “emotionalistic nonsense” equals “votes” so we have to figure out a way to match and exceed their emotions on the issue, as well as their reason (which we’ve already beat, IMO).

  • Stephen Gordon

    Bravo, Raist!!!!!!!!!

  • mikehorn

    Actually Radley Balko, Policy analyst for the Cato Institute and reporter on the Corey Maye saga, discussed this issue today on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show.” You can listen to the show here: Smoking Bans

  • zippy

    “I don’t consider “smokers’ rights” to be the issue here – I think the real issue is business owners’ rights. If a business owner wants to allow smoking, he should be able to, and if he doesn’t, he can feel free to ban smoking. Then, the consumers have the right to go where they please according to their preference. Most owners would gravitate towards the local preference (whatever way that goes) due to demand.”

    Raist, you hit it square on the nose.

    The “anti-smoking” cult is actually a tiny few who have an allergic reaction to smoking. To acheive their goal they lump all “non-smokers” in with them so they go from being a Super Minority to a Majority position.

    It is necessary for them to make this a “smoker v. non-smoker” issue because, if the truth were told, the “Pro-Banners” would have to become fiscally responsible for their forced Management decision on Bar and Restaraunt owners.

  • http://www.stophurtingamerica.com Stop Hurting America

    The “anti-smoking” cult is actually a tiny few who have an allergic reaction to smoking. To acheive their goal they lump all “non-smokers” in with them so they go from being a Super Minority to a Majority position.
    This can be said of both sides… of the debate.

  • http://www.freeme.org Keith

    This reminds me of a poem,

    First they came for the seatbeltless drivers,
    and I did not speak out
    because I always wore my seatbelt.
    Then they came for the helmetless motorcyclists,
    and I did not speak out
    because I don’t own a motorcycle.
    Then they came for cell phone using drivers,
    and I did not speak out
    because I could not afford the five hundred dollar fine.
    Then they came for the smokers,
    and I did nor speak out
    because I don’t smoke
    Then I realized they were coming for me,
    and I joined the Free State Project in New Hampshire
    because I wanted to have liberty in my lifetime.

    Seriously, though. This is total BS. New Jersey has got to be one of the least free states in the nation.

    Keith,
    TN FSP local group leader, GOA/NRA Life member

  • http://www.freeme.org Keith

    Opps, this also reminds me of a story. Don’t worry, it is very short.

    The story of taxes in New Jersey. It used to have the highest property taxes in the nation. The politicians promised to do something about it so they created a sales tax. This was supposed to lower the property taxes but it did not work. The government had another solution. The politicians pushed for an income tax. A Of course, NJ still has the highest property taxes in the nation.

    BTW, the Free State Project Vice President is from NJ. Last year, he moved his family from NJ to NH and loves it. I cannot wait to join him in the Free State.

    Keith again :)

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  • Sam

    I had just moved to California when the first state-wide non smoking ban went into affect in early 1997. Seemed strange to walk into a biker bar or pool hall and no smoke could be seen or breathed. People were upset for a month, maybe two, then it just became a way of life. A year into the ban I remember travelling out of state and finding it odd to see people smoking in restuarants and bars. Two years ago I moved to NJ for a sales job that has me travling through Maine, NH, Vermont and NY – all of which have smoking bans like California. Now the only place that seems “out of place” is my home state of NJ, and that will now change. Just keeping up with the times.

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