Archive for Saturday, March 13, 2004

Individual choice

March 13, 2004

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To the editor:

Although the city seems poised to consider an ordinance restricting smoking at businesses in Lawrence, this is an area where the city should do nothing.

While few people would argue that smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are harmful to one's health, individual and community health is not the issue with any type of smoking ban. The real issue is freedom of choice. No one forces our citizens to patronize any business that allows smoking within its confines, and no one forces them to work for that business. It is by choice we expose ourselves to a smoking or a nonsmoking environment. I make that choice each day.

Any ordinance banning smoking presumes that the citizens of Lawrence are so ill-informed that they cannot make decisions for themselves and must be protected by the all-knowing government. Protecting me from myself seems an odd step for city commissioners who have just indicated that they are against the intrusion of government into my freedoms with their opposition to the Patriot Act.

The city has no business directing my personal or business choices just because a special interest group wants me to live my life according to their way of thinking. My business choice to encourage my employees not to smoke may have an economic basis, a health-care basis and an aesthetic basis. But it is my choice, not yours.

The city needs to keep its hands off this issue, and worry more about important things like balancing our budget and getting rid of wasteful luxury projects.

Ken Meyer,

Lawrence

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