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Reporter Shaun Byron and Video Editor Andrew DuPont sound-off on whatever is on their minds, from politics to pop-culture, from movies to the main stream media. Local, national, world-wide? If it's in the media mix, these two are sure to have an opinion on it.



Thursday, May 28, 2009

No Smoking Allowed

If Michigan is going to ban smoking in public places, it's going to have to be across the board.

Personally, I support the ban. I think you can smoke all you want, but I shouldn't be forced to and I shouldn't have to change my actions because of your habit. A person's right to breathe clean air in public is much more important than anyone's right to smoke. Obviously people have the right to smoke if they want to, they just don't have the right to harm those around them with their habit. It's time Michigan caught up with all the other states that have realized this.

And for those opposed to any kind of ban, enough with the "so what's next? No drinking? No talking?" slippery slope arguments. There is no "next." There is no other legal activity you can engage in while in public that is detrimental to the health of those around you. Sure, the guy next to you who has had way too many might be obnoxious to be around, but he's not hurting your liver with every drink he has. Annoying someone and damaging their heath are not even in the same ball park when it comes to consequences.

I understand the concerns about the ban, and while I see why some people think individual businesses should be allowed to decide for the themselves, the reasoning seems flawed to me.
The argument I hear all the time is that some businesses fear a state-wide ban because it would hurt their business. I think it's more likely to have a harmful effect if each business makes the decision themselves.

Imagine two bars located across the street from one another. Moe's and Joe's. If Moe decides to ban smoking but Joe does not, then it's likely all of Moe's regular customers who smoke will start going across the street to Joe's instead. However, if smoking is banned across the board, the smokers would have no reason to change venues since they can't smoke at either place. If it were left to the the individual businesses to decide, it's likely few would actualy choose the ban from fear of sending all their customers to the competition and the ban would be mostly non-existant.

Making this ban across the board is the only way to make sure the ban would have any effect at all.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Frog said...

You actually proved the point of why each individual business should be able to decide...Sure all the smokers might go somewhere, but that's just a business incentive...If the other business wants smokers to come, ummmm don't ban smoking...Why don't we let businesses decide so that YOU can go somewhere else!

May 29, 2009 at 10:48 AM 
Blogger Andrew DuPont said...

Hi Frog,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, but I do disagree. An across the board ban would remove such business incentives, thus the issue of losing/gaining business from it would be void. Like I stated before, if it were left to each business to decide, especially in this economy, I seriously doubt anyone would do anything that could hurt their business, so nobody would do it. That's exactly why it has to be across the board.

In regards to your last comment, I think we just disagree on whose rights are more important here. I firmly believe the general health and safety of the public is more important than anyone's chosen vice or a business incentive. I'm sure plenty of people disagree with me, but why should non-smokers have to go somewhere else because of other people's vices? Is there any other vice that you can think of that harms those around the user that you are allowed to do in public?

May 29, 2009 at 12:40 PM 
Anonymous James Nellis, Clarkston said...

Andrew, why do you, like so many others, insist on ignoring the rights of the business owner? Who, by the way, is the only one whose rights are being violated.

May 30, 2009 at 10:41 PM 
Blogger Andrew DuPont said...

James,

It's a good question, one I doubt I can answer to your satisfaction. I think we just disagree on the issue of rights. I believe we all have a right to breath clean air when frequent businesses that are open to the general public and whose primary purpose is not the sale and consumption of tobacco products. There are very few businesses whose entire model is designed to serve smokers (i.e cigar bars) and they are, at least in the current bill, exempt from the ban. The others serve another purpose (food/drink,etc.) and smoking is secondary.

The whole issue of "rights" is hazy when it comes to controlled substances, and cigarettes are especially so because they can be harmful to people other than the user. Business owners do not have the right to allow whatever they want in their establishments just because they own them. There are plenty of restrictions in place already and smoking may just be the next one.

I know this is probably not a satisfactory answer, but I know there's nothing I can say that will satisfy everyone.

May 31, 2009 at 10:58 PM 
Anonymous James Nellis, Clarkston said...

There's nothing "hazy" about telling someone they no longer can allow a legal activity to take place on their private property. It clearly represents a violation of their property rights.

The lazy thinkers always frame this as a smoker vs. non-smoker debate and refuse to acknowledge the business owner. They have no choice, nor principles, because to do so would destroy their argument. All rights originate from ownership and therefore, you can not claim a "right" to clean air, simply by occupying a seat on someone's property. Your rights are exercised when you choose to enter or avoid said business.

But, your weakest statement, has to be this, "Business owners do not have the right to allow whatever they want in their establishments just because they own them."

Actually, they should have the "right", but they like so many other things in our lives, have been eroded by an overreaching ever growing government.

June 1, 2009 at 7:09 AM 
Blogger Andrew DuPont said...

Well James, I can see you feel very strongly about this and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I'm definitely not refusing to acknowledge business owners so I would hope the lazy thinker comment is not directed at me.

I do disagree though, and don't think it's an issue you and I will ever see eye to eye on.

I stand by my statement, even if it is my weakest. Take alcohol for example. Just because you own a business doesn't mean you can sell alcohol, you need a license, and even then there are restrictions on when and to whom you can sell it. Because it's a controlled substance, doing business with it is not a right, it's a privilege, and one that can be taken away if the business owner doesn't play by the rules. Likewise, you cannot just set up shop and start distributing prescription medications just because you own the place.

Obviously tobacco is not the same thing, but as I mentioned before, it has the unique issue of being harmful to people other than the user. Can you think of any other activity that harms the people around the user that you are permitted to do in bars/restaurants, etc.?

I definitely disagree with the idea that all rights stem from property ownership. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the most basic rights everyone has, have nothing to do with if they own property or not.

But overall, your last statement shows why I think we'll just have to agree to disagree. You think ownership should grant certain rights, I don't. I can respect your reasoning even if I don't agree with it.

June 1, 2009 at 10:53 AM 
Anonymous James Nellis, Clarkston said...

"I definitely disagree with the idea that all rights stem from property ownership. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the most basic rights everyone has, have nothing to do with if they own property or not."

Who owns your body?

I hope you answer "I do". I will say again, "All rights are derived from ownership" You own your body and should be free to use or if you choose, abuse it. No one should be able to tell you how to live your life.

"Take alcohol for example. Just because you own a business doesn't mean you can sell alcohol, you need a license, and even then there are restrictions on when and to whom you can sell it. Because it's a controlled substance, doing business with it is not a right, it's a privilege, and one that can be taken away if the business owner doesn't play by the rules."

All this does is validate the statement from my previous post. You, like so many others, assume that simply because government has passed laws and regulations, those laws are necessary and just. That is a debate for another day, but you would be hard pressed to argue that most laws that are passed, don't violate someone's individual rights.

"I'm definitely not refusing to acknowledge business owners so I would hope the lazy thinker comment is not directed at me."

So, you claim you are acknowledging the business owner?

Then where are his rights factored into this discussion?

I have a question, I ask those individuals that support a smoking ban. I'd love to hear your answer.

Would you consider it a violation of the business owners rights if a coalition used the political arena to create legislation forcing him to permit smoking in his establishment?

June 1, 2009 at 2:42 PM 
Blogger Andrew DuPont said...

James, we could probably go back and forth about this forever and never come to any sort of agreement. I appreciate you keeping civil thus far. I've followed this issue on other blogs on our site and I realize it rarely stays that way. Most of it seems to boil down to semantics

"Who owns your body?"'Owning' your body and owning a piece of physical property are very different concepts. We can play the semantics game with the word "owner" all day, but the reality is you don't buy your body from anyone, you don't have to follow zoning laws, building codes, and safety regulations with your body. Purchasing a piece of property does not give you the right to do whatever you want with it. It never has. There's a big gap between what you can do in public and private, but there are laws that must be followed regardless of where you are. Even more so, when you own a piece of property that is open to the public, there are even more distinctions to be drawn.


"You, like so many others, assume that simply because government has passed laws and regulations, those laws are necessary and just. That is a debate for another day, but you would be hard pressed to argue that most laws that are passed, don't violate someone's individual rights.I'm afraid in this case it is you who has made the assumption. I don't assume every law is necessary and just. But I believe many are. But like you said, another debate for another day.

"So, you claim you are acknowledging the business owner? Then where are his rights factored into this discussion?"

These last few comments have been about nothing but business owners, but like it or not, the business owner is not the only person effected by this and I think his/her rights are not more important than the others. I'm not ignoring them, I just don't agree with you about them. That's doesn't mean I'm not acknowledging them.

"Would you consider it a violation of the business owners rights if a coalition used the political arena to create legislation forcing him to permit smoking in his establishment?"Absolutely, but if your attempting to trap me with this question it won't work. Forcing someone to do something detrimental to their health is not the same thing as prohibiting it. Health is my primary concern. We're not talking about simple comfort here, it's cancer. Smoking is a unique issue because it effects the health of others besides the user.

So I've answered your question, but I've asked this question of you, Frog, and others, and have yet to get an answer, so I'll ask again:

Can you think of any other activity that harms the people around the user that you are permitted to do in bars/restaurants, etc.?

June 1, 2009 at 3:37 PM 
Anonymous James Nellis, Clarkston said...

"Can you think of any other activity that harms the people around the user that you are permitted to do in bars/restaurants, etc.?"

It's an irrelevant question and has no relationship to the debate.

Simply put, you do not have a right to enter someone's private property and dictate the rules employed in the establishment. You mistakenly believe that you are entitled and have a "right" to frequent a particular business and force the owner to meet "your" needs and desires. You are "invited" to enter, not forced.

And thank you for answering my question. You are correct it was a trap and served no other purpose that to point out a lack of principles. You choose to "cherry pick" your morality and will defend the rights of only those individuals that agree with your opinion. The business owner be danged.

On the one hand you argue that you should be free to frequent any bar/restaurant and not have to be bothered by a little smoke. Your definition of "rights". But on the other hand you deny the business owner his free choice or rights. That sounds a little hypocritical to me. The concept of individual rights clearly means that nobody's rights supersede someone else's.

And finally, ""Who owns your body?"'Owning' your body and owning a piece of physical property are very different concepts." No, they represent two different entities, but that doesn't detract from my statement that ALL rights originate from ownership. The concept is exactly the same.

June 1, 2009 at 4:13 PM 
Blogger Andrew DuPont said...

James, we're just going in circles here and if you're going to resort to saying I have no principles simply because mine are different from yours, then I don't see a point in continuing. You're just making broad generalizations and ad hominem statements now, both of which are truly irrelevant to a debate.

I'm glad my blog could spur some discussion on this topic, but the quality is degrading quickly and going nowhere, so it's definitely not worth continuing.

June 1, 2009 at 9:10 PM 

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