To The Editor:

I am very disappointed in the city council’s decision to ban smoking in Washington businesses.

It is unfortunate that the local government is willing to stomp on the property rights of hard-working proprietors to appease the cries for action by a vocal sect of the populous.

I do not smoke. I have never smoked. I find the smell of cigarette smoke obtrusive, but it is not nearly as obtrusive as government’s encroaching on the liberties of its citizens.

Bars and restaurants are private businesses; what gives our local government the right to decide what legal activities can be practiced on private property? If one does not like the way a business is being run, maybe one should stay away from the aforesaid business. No one is ever forced to frequent a business if they find that business’s practices objectionable.

The people who do not wish to be around smoking should go to businesses that voluntarily prohibit smoking on their property. People vote with their dollars. If enough people choose to avoid smoking establishments in favor of their nonsmoking counterparts, it will encourage business owners to voluntarily ban smoking on their premises. In this way, the free market can lead to desired results without the use of force and coercion.

To quote Dr. Milton Friedman, “Whenever we depart from voluntary cooperation and try to do good by using force, the bad moral value of force triumphs over good intentions.”