Editorial for Oct. 29

If Initiative 901, a ban on smoking in bars, bowling alleys, smoke shops, restaurants and anywhere else considered open to the public or a workplace plus a 25-foot bubble around such places passes, it will be a strike against private business owners who choose to allow smoking on their premises.

This is a personal choice, one they have chosen because that is what they and their customers want. If they wanted to not have people smoking or they perceived smokers were cutting into their business, they’d boot them out themselves. A similar ban enacted in Pierce County did far more harm than good, forcing several businesses to shutter their doors as patrons flocked to tribal casinos where they were more than welcome to puff away.

I-901 reaches beyond the boundaries of personal choice. While getting people to stop smoking is laudable, this simple-minded initiative isn’t going to help that cause. It’s simply going to send more people who like to have a cigarette and a drink in a social atmosphere to tribal properties.

It’s no wonder that most bar, social club and bowling alley owners have signs posted against I-901. They are going to lose business which means lost revenue which means lost jobs and lost tax revenues. Studies have shown that just because a place goes smoke-free, it doesn’t mean that more non-smoking customers magically appear.

America is supposed to be the land of the free, not the land of the suppressors of personal property rights.

Vote no on I-901.

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