In recent months, bar and resturant owners in Kanawha County, West Virginia, have been up in arms about the county-wide indoor smoking ban. Their argument: the indoor smoking ban is keeping smoking patrons from utilizing their establishments becasue they cannot smoke indoors.
While we feel sorry for the owners of these establishments, the simple fact of the matter is that smoking is a dangerous, deadly habit that disables people and result in the expenditure of BILLIONS of healthcare dollars per year. These are dollars that are ultimately borne by you and me - honest taxpaying citizens. These are also dollars that come out of already underfunded government programs like Medicare (healthcare for the elderly) and state Medicaid programs.
What is more, the overwhelming weight of the evidence points to the fact that secondhand smoke is as dangerous to non-smokers as it is firsthand to the smoker; the smoker isn't just killing themselves, they are slowly killing those around them.
Science has proven that smoking causes heart disease, COPD, emphysema, high blood pressure, vascular diseases, strokes and numerous other medical conditions which can lead to an otherwise healthy person becoming fully disabled. These disabilities lead directly to productive members of society not being able to work or otherwise obtain gainful employment, increased healthcare costs and applications to government entitlement programs like social security.
It is unfortunate that the smoking ban is affecting some businesses negatively and that it is inconvenient for smokers. However, one must keep in mind that in the end, stamping out smoking will lead to healthier citizens, lower healthcare costs and in the end, lower taxes for everyone.