Placed in historical context, today’s anti-smoking restrictions appear to be neither progressive nor permanent. Like past bans, they are based on prejudices and conventional wisdom that are likely to be falsified by new scientific and health discoveries or, if you like, new prejudices and conventional wisdoms.
Also like past bans, today’s prohibitions are leading to civil disobedience, black markets, and heavy social and economic costs.
With the anti-smoking message backed by billions of dollars from government, foundations, and drug companies, it is easy to overlook the backlash that is already occurring and has been growing stronger. Business owners have been fighting back against smoking restrictions, and prohibitions are being more widely flouted in places such as Italy, Spain, Turkey, and, yes, to some degree even in California.
In addition, governments need the revenue that smokers provide in taxes and in revenue to hospitality establishments that cater to a smoking clientele.
Though the anti-smoking movement looks formidable, if history is any indication we will not have to wait long for current smoking bans to unravel.
Of course, Pennsylvania’s criminalization of smoking in private establishments hasn’t even gone into effect yet, but Jeremy Richards writes in the Heartland Institutes’s Budget & Tax News that “History Shows Smoking Bans Likely to Be Repealed”. Cutting to the punchline, he concludes: