from: Cato Daily Dispatch 14mar01
The village of Friendship Heights has repealed a smoking ban considered the toughest in the nation, concluding that continuing the legal fight to enforce the ban after two adverse court decisions could harm the national movement to take the war on smoking outdoors, according to The Washington Post.The court challenge to the smoking ban was brought on by Assistant Director of Cato's Project on Global Economic Liberty Jacobo Rodríguez, a nonsmoker who lives in Friendship Heights.
The Village Council, which gained international attention last year when it banned outdoor smoking in public places such as parks and sidewalks, voted unanimously Monday night to repeal the ban.
Robert A. Levy, Cato's senior fellow in Constitutional Studies and an expert on tobacco litigation, argues that the Friendship Heights smoking ban represents meddling, snooping, busybody government at its worst. He says the ban is dismissive of the rights of an unpopular minority — namely smokers — without any basis in the Constitution, science or logic. "All a nonsmoker has to do to escape unwelcome outdoor tobacco fumes is take a step or two away," says Levy. "That's not too much to ask to promote civility without shutting down all social contact."
"Ordinarily, we rely on common courtesy and mutual respect when individuals relate to one another," Levy says. "But nosy, intrusive government has polarized the dispute between smokers and nonsmokers. As a result, venom has replaced respect and obstinate behavior has replaced common courtesy. It is government, not secondhand smoke, that has poisoned the atmosphere."
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15 mar 2001