EDITORIAL: Let markets decide on smoking policies

Public, not state, can decide which restaurants allow smoking.

Monday night's open forum on smoking in Muncie restaurants showcased the overwhelming opinion of those in attendance: that no establishment allowing entrance to anyone under the age of 21 should be legally able to permit smoking. These people are asking the government to legislate away rights of citizens and restaurateurs.

They say they cannot go into a restaurant without smelling cigarette smoke and that they should have the right to dine unannoyed. The only reason they have the right to dine is because an entrepreneur put his money on the line to provide a service to anyone who wants it. Their success or failure depends on the public's dollar.

It is not the government's job to legislate away every annoyance in life. It is the responsibility of the people to call for non-smoking restaurants, if that is what it wants. It is not the responsibility of the public to call for unnecessary restraints on businesses.

Business owners provide the public with the opportunities for dining and recreation that we as a society have begun to take for granted and think of as rights. Let the untethered market decide which restaurants are smoking and which aren't. If there really is a need for non-smoking restaurants, the market will provide them, as always.


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