Not Your Daddy's Virginia - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Not Your Daddy’s Virginia

So much for individual liberty.  Virginia is following the trend of banning smoking in restaurants and bars. 

Reports the Washington Post:

The Virginia House of Delegates approved a plan for a ban on smoking covering most of the state’s restaurants and many of its bars Monday, marking a significant political and cultural shift for a state whose history has been intertwined with tobacco for centuries.

Virginia has repeatedly resisted efforts to curtail smoking in public places, even as health concerns over secondhand smoke prompted 23 other states and the District to start enacting prohibitions.

The vote Monday makes it likely that a ban in some form will become law. The Republican-controlled House has been a choke point for years because of the strong influence of rural lawmakers who consider tobacco a critical ingredient in the state’s economy, and because of their resistance to imposing limits on personal freedom. In Virginia, where one in every five adults is a smoker, government restrictions on smoking in private establishments have been limited to day-care centers, certain large retail stores, doctors’ offices and hospitals.

Currently, individual bars and restaurants impose their own smoking rules. This bill for the first time puts the government into that mix and covers almost all dining rooms and bars in the commonwealth.

As a non-smoker, I like the smoke-free environment, but I don’t see why that gives me the right to force owners and customers to follow my preferences.  So much for such venerable values as “choice” and “diversity,” about which we hear so much these days.

Doug Bandow
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Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
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