District Smoking Ban Threatens Economic Liberty

Christine Hall, (202) 331-2258

Washington, D.C., January 2, 2007 – The District of Columbia today became the newest city in the nation to embrace the trendy smoking ban phenomenon. District bars, taverns and nightclubs no longer have the right or freedom to offer customers the option of smoking.

CEI Policy Analyst Brooke Oberwetter, offered the following statement on the ill-conceived ban:

The interest groups that pushed for the ban are hailing the ban as a victory for non-smokers’ rights. Making this an issue of rights—a right to clean air versus a right to smoke—is a ploy designed to illicit sympathy for non-smokers, but it’s a gross mischaracterization of what smoking bans are all about. To a certain extent, it’s a matter of personal liberty; certainly in places where smoking is banned outdoors–everywhere from sidewalks to beaches to public parks, personal liberty is at stake. But in the case of DC, the bigger threat behind the ban is the threat to the economic liberty of business owners.

Read more of Oberwetter’s commentary on the ban at openmarket.org.