Private businesses have rights, too

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, January 04, 2004

In response to Joey Tillson's Letter to the Editor in Monday's paper, she states that she's in support of the smoking ban in bars. She mentions two main reasons for this: one being that she feels alienated from a hobby (dancing) and the other because she's a recovering ex-smoker. Ms. Tillson claims that "we all have the right to be in these public establishments..." and this is simply incorrect. The "public" businesses she's referring to are actually privately owned and operated, and this is an important distinction to be made.

These private businesses serve the customer base that support and drive the "supply and demand" concept. She has made a clearly conscious decision that avoiding second-hand smoke was more important to her than dancing at bars and restaurants where smoking can occur. While this is certainly justifiable, to infer that she's being actively discriminated against like "the lunch room in high school" is absurd.

I don't believe it fair to suggest that dancing anywhere you please under conditions specific to your needs is an inherent right either. There are choices in life and we each need to select them appropriately for ourselves. I would strongly argue there are numerous opportunities throughout the year where you can enjoy dancing in truly public places where nary a cigarette can be found. Just check out Centennial Hall and the university on occasion.

The ban against private businesses allowing smoking in their establishments is the real issue here. To force your desires onto another group that is not forcing you is inappropriate.

Pete Schneider

Auke Bay

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