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Kansas Candidates ALL Oppose Smoking Ban

You’re probably as used to the “gloom-and-doom” anti-smoking legislation blog posts as I am, it seems like every day there is a new smoking band more outrageous than the last. Today’s silly smoking law comes to you courtesy of Roseburg, OR, who has taken the first step in passing a law that will ban all tobacco use in public parks. Fortunately, they at least left an exemption in for golf courses, so it could be worse. However, they put an interesting new spin on things by including chewing tobacco in the ban. Now, me personally, I much prefer smoking my tobacco than chewing on it. However, I fully support anyone who enjoys using tobacco in any form and their right as an adult to choose to do it. I guess I’m completely missing the point on how anyone else could possibly be affected by someone sitting on a park bench, chewing some tobacco. Who could they possibly hurt?

Fortunately, today I don’t want to talk about Roseburg and their plan of oppression. I want to talk about the upcoming election for the next Governor of Kansas. The state of Kansas currently has a statewide ban on indoor smoking in all buildings with the exception of state owned casinos. I’ve got some family in Kansas (hi Uncle Bob in Manhattan!) and so I hope their state can maintain some sanity where others like my home state of New York have failed miserably. There are four candidates running for Governor, and all four were asked how they felt about the ban. In a move that left me completely stunned ALL FOUR candidates said they opposed the ban for taking away rights from local communities and/or small business owners to decide for themselves. They also universally blasted the hypocrisy of the state banning smoking for privately owned businesses, but allowing smoking in their own casinos to make sure they don’t lose revenue. Even the Democratic candidate Tom Holland said

“I believe these issues are best left to local control, local units of government.”

Right on Tom! That’s all we’re asking for, not the right to smoke wherever we want, just the right for the people actually affected to decide for themselves.

I think the candidate that most mirrors the way I feel is Reform Party candidate Ken Canon. He said

“I’m a non-smoker, however again I think that‘s a decision that belongs with that small business owner and does not belong and should not be regulated by the state of Kansas.”

That’s the right attitude as far as I’m concerned. Heck, I’m not a cigarette smoker but I sure believe that a bar owner should be allowed to decide for himself to let people smoke cigarettes or not, and I’ll decide whether I want to go there or not. If I owned a bar, regardless of my status as a smoker you’d better believe I’d implement the smoking policy that brought in the most business. Customers will always vote conclusively with their dollars. If people don’t like drinking in a bar that allows smoking, they won’t go. Then the bar will lose money, and the owner will change the policy to best suit his business. Why do we need the government to tell us what to do? It is incredibly refreshing to see this attitude taken by politicians, and not just one, but across the board. People who want to see fascist government control over personal rights don’t even have a horse in the race!

I really like Libertarian candidate Andrew Gray’s quote, so I’m going to close this rant with it. He said

“We do not support the ban in any way shape or form strictly on the basis of property rights. If a property owner wants to allow a legal act to occur on their property and they see part of their revenue dropping because of their smoking policies they will change and succeed. If they don’t they will fail. That’s the free market at work and not the government trying to micromanage how it is done. And we also see it as extremely hypocritical of the state to tell private business owners you can not allow a legal activity to occur on your property but with the exception of State-owned casinos.”