California became the first state to ban smoking in bars a decade ago. Since then, smoking bans have flourished in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, universities—you name it.
Recently, the Bay Area city of Belmont passed a law that targets people who smoke in their own homes.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body, but how dangerous is second-hand smoke? Are banners saving lives or battering science? Are they progressive champions or plunderers of property rights?
Citing the proliferation of privately enforced bans, reason.tv host Nick Gillespie says, "I actually like smoking bans; I just don't like it when the government does the banning."
Indeed, smoking bans have already set the stage for all sorts of other nanny state policies to save us from ourselves. The nannies have already barged through our front doors. Just how much farther will the banners go?
"Just Can't Quit" was written and produced by Ted Balaker.
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As a bonus double-feature, click below to see 2002's Talking Butts: A Smoking Documentary, which was made with the help of reason's Paul Feine, Jesse Walker, Jacob Sullum, and Charles Paul Freund. The 25-minute film explores why people smoke and why attempts to regulate and punish smokers have unintended consequences. And it features a cameo by filmmaker John Waters that is absolutely unforgettable.