Should Louisiana politicians ban smoking in bars and restaurants in New Orleans?
To the casual reader standing in my kitchen,
If you are reading this letter, you are in my house. I, however, am venturing into the realm of smoking laws in Louisiana. And yes, I’m breathing through my nose. I chose to research this topic because I feel strongly that the government should not interfere with business owners’ decisions. I feel that the strong, articulate essay I will write at the finale of this adventure will be much more persuasive if I gather good evidence of my claims. I feel that there is substantial evidence pointing in the direction of my position and am confident I will be able to show the world the obvious: that smoking policies should be handled by bar owners – not elected officials. In my opinion, business owners should have the ability to operate their companies in the way they see fit. I think that the market should dictate the nature of business, not the government. If enough people stop going to a bar or restaurant because they do not want to be around smoking, then the bar owner will make the decision to ban smoking in his establishment. I think that restaurants should be required to having smoking and non-smoking sections. However, in bars that do not serve food, owners should have the right to run their businesses completely as they wish.
As you probably know, smoking is very controversial. In a struggling city, economically-tied to hospitality, it is very important that Louisiana lawmakers get this right. During these hard times, New Orleanians must preserve the same accepting, friendly environment that has made it so unique. No other city embraces cultural differences quite like New Orleans: where whites, blacks, Hispanics, and others can chit-chat casually during an afternoon stroll or streetcar ride – with no moments of that awkward silence so common in other cities. If you’ve traveled outside of New Orleans, you’ve probably noticed the difference. We say “Hi” to strangers every day and even hug unknowns when the Saints score a touchdown. New Orleans is a city that embraces everything from decadence to interracial relationships to minority leadership; the city that elected the first Vietnamese American to Congress in US History – Joseph Cao. We are known as a city that accepts everyone – the city that doesn’t judge. We can’t let a hot-button issue like smoking, where seemingly everyone has an opinion, distract us from that culture.
We don’t want to be the kind of city that punishes the many for the complaints of the few. New Orleans needs to remain welcome to everyone, smokers and nonsmokers alike. Our laws need to be structured in such a way as to protect the rights of our business owners to stay their unique courses. There is a campaign called “Let’s Be Totally Clear” which advocates for non-smoking on the behalf of hospitality industry employees. I intend on investigating this campaign because it is important to hear both sides of every story.
While it is minutely possible that my mind may change, I fully expect to only strengthen my stance on this issue.
I choose not to work in a coal mine because I don’t want the Black lung.
I choose not to be a police officer because I don’t want to get shot.
I also choose not to be a smoker nor work in a smoky environment because I don’t want lung cancer. In addition, I also find the smell of cigarette smoke disgusting.
I just feel that the government is going too far with this type of legislation.