Free To Choose To Smoke

The Liberty and Democracy Party (LDP) will be actively seeking the vote of smokers as well as seeking funding from the tobacco industry and businesses affected by recent bans on indoor smoking.

At a formal launch of the party’s smoking policy in front of a group of
unrepentant smokers, Federal President David McAlary told the crowd:

“While the LDP does not dispute the ill effects of smoking, the decision of
when and how to stop smoking is the responsibility of smokers, not the
government’s.

“The government continually treats us like helpless children, telling us how to look after ourselves. Yet it has also reduced our ability to make an informed decision by preventing tobacco companies from printing the strength of cigarettes on packaging”, he said.

In addition to removing the ban on printing the strength of cigarettes on packaging, the LDP announced it would seek to overturn bans on smoking inside pubs, clubs and restaurants, restoring to property owners and proprietors the right to decide whether to allow smoking or not.

“Just as a private individual has the right to dictate whether visitors or guests may smoke in their lounge-room or car, so too the owner of a bar or restaurant should have the right to determine whether smoking should or should not be permitted on their premises. Some people may prefer that a particular venue is non-smoking, others may prefer that it is smoking, but the rule for a particular venue should be made by the venue’s owner”, Mr McAlary said.

“Many of us may not like smoky environments but no-one forces us into them. If there is a demand for smoke-free venues, operators will make them smoke-free to attract more clientele. Any operator who ignores the hoards of patrons deserting their establishment for a smoke-free establishment up the road will soon be out of business, while those who recognise and meet the demand for smoke-free environments will prosper and grow. The government does not need to be involved in this process.

“Some people may not wish to work in smoky environments, but no-one is forced to do so. Many people accept risk in their jobs – security guards, construction workers, miners and farm employees for example. They accept the risks for their own reasons, and are free to negotiate suitable remuneration for doing so. And with the current low unemployment levels, employees have many options open to them.

“The LDP is neither pro-smoking nor anti-smoking, it is pro-choice. It is an individual’s choice whether they smoke, and a property-owner’s decision whether to allow smoking on their property. The LDP is also pro-tolerance. People may not approve of the decisions that others make about their own bodies, or their own property, but a truly tolerant society respects their right to make those choices.

“The government should butt out of people’s freedom to choose”, he said.

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4 responses to “Free To Choose To Smoke

  1. “And with the current low unemployment levels, employees have many options open to them.”

    This is a weak point. It may sound as if the policy would be different if the unemployment were high.

  2. You’ve lost me with your “no-one if forced to work in a smoky environment”.

    Do I take it that you reject the notion of occupational health and safety and the obligation on an employer to provide safe working conditions?

    “Free to negotiate” is complete bollocks.

  3. Redmond – There are many dangerous occupations, and on a danger scale working in a smoky bar is very low on the list.

    In other dangerous occupations – for example working in a pit mine, or underwater welding, employees are paid danger rates of pay in recognition of the high-risk task they are undertaking.

    There is no reason why employees and employers could not negotiate similar agreements when it comes to thing like smoking, except for the fact that government doesn’t give them that option, it just bans smoking completely.

  4. What about passive smoking? I think that is a negative externality that needs attention. I suggest requiring smokers smoke outside and if they smoke inside there must be labels warning people that they are entering a smoking zone. This is the same sort of thing done to pornography.

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