“Pull Over Sir, I Must Fine You for Smoking in Your Car”

Sean Gabb (Libertarian Alliance of UK) recently sent me a press release protesting the British Medical Association’s call for a ban on smoking in cars.

With the usual caveat that smoking is dangerous, kills, causes impotence, flatulence, and everything in between. . .

There are people opposed to cigarette smoking (myself included) and then there are anti-smoking zealots. They are the types who propose some new restriction on individual freedom because it is “being abused.” All the while, they cry “stop calling us prohibitionists! We are not going to ban smoking in bars or pool halls. That is an utter lie.”

Short time passes . . .

“Wait!,” they shout, “we must ban smoking in pool halls and all other inside places. Think of the people ‘trapped’ in those enclosed spaces. Smokers are violating the freedom of nonsmokers at Smoky Joe’s” (never mind that no one forced you to go to Smoky Joe’s Pool Hall).

Yet, trying to appear reasonable, they *insist* that they are NOT banning it outside. You are perfectly free to smoke in open air.

Short time passes . . .

“Ban smoking near doors! Passive smoke kills! Push those smokers 15, 25, 100 feet from the doorways!!” But, let us be absolutely clear: we have no intention of banning smoking in private places.”

Short time passes . . .

Now it is private cars.

But they are not prohibitionists.


Recommended Reading:

Jacob Sullum, For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health (1998)

Jonathan Bean is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of History at Southern Illinois University, and editor of the Independent book, Race & Liberty in America: The Essential Reader.
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