Saturday, January 19, 2008

Those Smoking Bans Explained.

One of the wonders of recent years has been the way in which smoking bans in pubs and restaurants have been imposed across Europe. The authorities have almost never taken the view that it is up to individuals, and they've usually simply banned smoking indoors to the detriment of the civil liberties of customers and proprietors. China might show us why:

Beijing's first smoke-free restaurant chain faces going out of business after its customers deserted it in droves after the ban was enforced, state media reported on Friday.

The Chinese are the world's most enthusiastic smokers, with a growing market of more than 350 million, making it a magnet for cigarette companies and a focus of international health concerns.

The occupancy rate at Meizhou Dongpo, a chain serving the spicy fare of southwest Sichuan province, had dropped to "about 80 percent of that enjoyed by other restaurants across the street" after it banned smoking in October, the China Daily quoted its manager as saying.

Given a choice, the customers would rather go somewhere where they can smoke.

Of course, to liberals like us, this shows that the bans are wrong: if people want to do something, they should be allowed to do so. Unfotunately, our rulers think differently: if we want to do what they think we shouldn't. we must be banned from doing it.

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