Monday, May 14, 2007

Minnesota Legislature Passes Smoking Ban

Article in the Washington Post -- Minnesota Lawmakers Pass Smoking Ban, by the Associated Press.  It seems to me that a free-market solution would work better.  Why not allow bars and restaurants to promote themselves as either smoker-friendly or smoke-free?  Customers can seek their preference for dining/drinking, and employees can do the same, also weighing the compensation offered.  Including the preferences of smokers to smoke in the utility calculus, one could argue that permitting bars and restaurants to allow smoking serves social utility, as well as respects personal autonomy.  Here's an excerpt from the article:

Minnesota would ban smoking in bars, restaurants and other establishments under a bill approved by the Legislature.

The bill passed the state House by an 81-48 vote early Saturday, hours after the state Senate approved it 43-21. It now heads to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has said he will sign it.

Minnesota would become the 20th state to prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants. Violations would carry fines of up to $300 for smokers and business owners who allow smoking. The ban would start Oct. 1.


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