The Right to Free Association and the Individual

Let's be honest - no one is forced to enter a smoking environment. And really, no one is forced to work in a smoking environment. Smoking establishments are, by far, the minority of establishments and employers.

So the debate comes down to a subset of the majority of people, who are non-smokers, seeking to impose their way of life upon those who are the minority, who are smokers.

At one time, it may have been inconvenient to find a non-smoking establishment. Just over fifteen years ago, it was virtually impossible to find a non-smoking venue.

Today, however, the overwhelming majority of restaurants are smoke-free, by choice, and the trend has been for more and more restaurants to make that decision on their own.

Likewise, there are now smoke-free bars. These have grown in number, and will likely to grow in number as time goes on, with no expense to taxpayers, and without a new government bureaucracy.

This is the free market at work. It doesn't always give immediate results, but it will adjust to the demands of the consumers.

Just over fifteen years ago, you could smoke in McDonalds and Applebees. Five years ago, you could smoking in the majority of restaurants. Today, the majority of restaurants are smoke-free, and that trend continues, as more businesses choose to go smoke-free, with no government interference.

Under a free-market approach, there will always likely be smoking establishments. There is a niche market for those who choose to smoke. While they are the minority, there will be establishments that cater to that niche market.

And that's okay. The right of the individual to not patronize a restaurant, based on its smoking policy, is how the free market works! Consumers make decisions, and the business environment solves the problem.

Let smokers freely assemble and associate in smoking establishments. Let non-smokers freely assembly and associate in non-smoking establishments. Vote with your pocketbook, and let the free market do the rest.