Let Them Smoke, Or Don’t

I found myself in sort of a dilemma last Saturday early morning. As a minor detour I ended up staying over night in Las Vegas, carefully choosing a hotel not too close to the madness of the strip but also lively enough to inspire me as I would be writing in the cafe that featured free WIFI. When I write early morning I’m referring to late Friday night/early Saturday morning around two am.

After finishing my blog post one hour before it’s midnight deadline I decided to play blackjack (a blackjack table is hard for me to keep away from). Bringing only one hundred dollars to a ten dollar minimum bet table to maintain frugality while having fun and possible minor gain, I found myself as I often do enthralled in the game and losing track of time. After one hour or so passed I was left at the table with one middle-age Asian woman and a new comer, a man roughly in his early fifties with an assertive attitude which in turn gave him a somewhat menacing presence. He never made eye contact with me nor anyone else at the table. At  one point he reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a package of cigarettes. I am not one for smoking but I rarely find myself annoyed when others smoke around me. The Asian woman to my right decided to move closer to me as I was in front of the smoking man on the opposite far end of the table, in order to get away from him and his discharge of smoke. The dealer stopped for a moment and addressed the smoker telling him that he must put his cigarette out. The smoker replied to this command with a rather nonchalant remark disguised as the question “Why. did I offend someone?” The dealer then pointed to a sign next to me which stated this table is to be a no smoking table. The smoking man saw this and replied again rather nonchalantly, “I’ve been coming to this town for over twenty years and not once have I encountered a no smoking blackjack table.” To which I replied similarly, “Wow, neither have I.” 

The Asian woman to my left looked at me and said, “Don’t be nice to him, you’re on my side. We don’t like cigarette smoking.” I replied to her comment stating as  I often do (and possibly too often), “I am a libertarian so I defend his right to smoke whether I like it or not and I feel wrong as though I’m taking part in the modern society’s discrimination toward smokers.” Then I stated “Though the casino has every right to post a sign prohibiting no smoking, I still feel wrong.”

The smoker never looked my direction but instead he simply stood up, put his cigarette out and left the table.

Now this is where my dilemma comes in. I am all for free markets without totalitarian government regulation. But I want a clean environment where I don’t have to succumb to other people’s habits of smoking cigarettes. I guess I use the word “dilemma” a bit incorrectly here. I have taken my stand. If a business feels it to be un-wise to have smoking allowed on their private premises then I stand by their decision. If they don’t and find it to be a negative decision for their business financially speaking to prohibit smoking, then by all means they should allow it no matter what anyone else believes.

I must correct myself here, it’s not so much a dilemma as it is a principle of personal liberty opposed to my own personal preference. We must share this world but we must share it in a way where we don’t infringe upon each other’s personal rights.

Let them smoke and let them allow it, unless they don’t want to. That should be the end of it. Unfortunately state laws and federal government wish to intervene and too many people in this country allow the intervention. As for me I personally am disgusted by the smoke so it’s my choice to bring my patronage to non-smoking establishments or to deal with it and bring my patronage to smoking establishments.

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