Feature

The nanny state’s new intrusion

I personally detest tobacco smoke, but anti-smoking crusaders have now gone too far, said William Saletan in <em>Slate.com.</em>

William SaletanSlate.com

I personally detest tobacco smoke, said William Saletan, but anti-smoking crusaders have now gone too far. Their latest breakthrough idea is to ban smoking outdoors, at any park, beach, or piece of public property. When the anti-smoking crusade began decades ago, the stated rationale was to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. Reasonable enough. Then smoking was banned in apartment houses, because someone’s smoke just might seep into hallways or adjoining apartments. And now the final frontier. New York City’s health commissioner has proposed banning smoking on beaches and in parks, lest nonsmokers catch a whiff of smoldering tobacco. Los Angeles, Chicago, and some counties in three states have already banned smoking in some outdoor public areas. Why? You could always quarantine smokers to designated areas in parks and beaches. But as health officials tacitly admit, their real agenda is to make smokers total pariahs. So don’t be surprised when a government bureaucrat nails up a “No smoking!” sign in your own living room.

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