Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Rights & Reason: What is Bloomberg (Not) Smoking?

Life in Michael Bloomberg's New York City:
As some New Yorkers have learned the hard way, the mere existence of an ashtray in a place where smoking is prohibited can lead to a summons. It doesn't matter if the ashtray is stored well away from public areas. It doesn't matter if it is used as a decoration, or to hold paper clips or M & M's. No ashtrays are allowed, period.

The reason is simple, said Sandra Mullin, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The presence of an ashtray might be taken by some people as an invitation to light up.

"Not having ashtrays and putting up no-smoking signs are two of the strongest ways to discourage smoking and to let people know what the current law is," Ms. Mullin said.

Since May 1, when the Health Department began to enforce the law in earnest, about 2,300 summonses have been issued, she said. A little more than 200 were for ashtray violations.
It's nice to see the mayor and his administration have completely lost perspective post-9/11. It's good to know the mayor is dedicated to the destruction of personal property rights at every conceivable level. It's comforting to realize he puts his personal crusade against smoking over the economic health of his city.

For all the talk of New York rebuilding stronger after 9/11, the terrorists have won. And I don't mean the virgin-seeking morons who flew their planes into the World Trade Center. And if you think comparing 9/11 to a smoking ban is out of line, I'm only following Mayor Bloomberg's lead. He said, "Think about all the press attention to 9/11. That number of people die every year in the city from secondhand smoke." Of course that's false, but facts don't get in the way of those who oppose individual rights.

UPDATE: The Washington, D.C., city council is holding a hearing this morning to discuss its own smoking ban. Or as I like to think of it, they're passing a nice economic subsidy for Northern Virginia bars and restaurants; with Maryland and D.C. on the anti-property rights bandwagon, smokers will now flock to Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax. And there's little chance a tobacco state like Virginia will turn down the free revenue by enacting their own ban. Only jurisdictions like D.C. are stupid enough to intentionally inflict harm on their own businesses.

For more on the D.C. ban, check out, a local grassroots movement against the D.C. smoking ban.

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