The question on The News-Times' Web site stating, "Are you in favor of Columbia County banning smoking in all public places, including restaurants?" should probably be restated. The use of "public place" gives a false perception.
The discussion of the upcoming smoking ban will affect all business that are open to the public. Be reminded that restaurants are private businesses that are open to the public -- they are not public facilities. People make a conscious choice to frequent a particular business based upon products, services and atmosphere. Accepting the proposed smoking ban means that basically all buildings in Columbia County will be-come non-smoking, including office buildings, restaurants and even private clubs.
I am not a smoker, but I believe in free enterprise. It would be nice to not have secondhand smoke in a restaurant; however, it should be up to the place of business to make this decision -- not government.
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