Revenge of the Smoking Ban

Ok, I'm about ready to concede this whole smoking ban debate, but I have one last example: airplanes. Airlines were certainly pretty uncompetitive at the time smoking was banned on all domestic flights, and there wasn't much room for a "niche" airline that didn't allow smoking, and not much chance at all of redoing the ventilation on an airplane so that the smoke was kept in one part of the cabin. This probably still wouldn't happen today. Sure, maybe it's wrong to tell a carrier they can't allow smoking on their own airplane, but do you think we'd all be better off if smoking were allowed on domestic flights?

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Why must we deal with it

Why must we deal with it either as a ban or as a policy of "you don't know what the hell you are getting into until you arrive". Read my other comments on your other posts.

I think this case is borderline. I had mentioned in the prior post that establishments that were utilized for emergencies would have to have a non-smoking policy. I think airline travel can sometimes meet this criteria. In which case I would say that you could have a smoking policy on an airline so long as it was well advertised. However, should a person have an emergency that requires him to use your flight and not other flights are available then he should be able to request that smoking not be permitted while he was on board.

I also forgot about the issue of people who cannot give consent, such as children, the retarded, and some of the insane. Certainly mental hospitals should be non-smoking. The same with nursery schools and other settings where children are present.

I'm not sure if I believe that parents can give their consent to allow their children to be exposed to passive smoke. My gut reaction is that not only can parents do so but it might even be argued that they as proxies for their children can give permission for their children to directly smoke cigarettes. I just assumed that parents should not be able to expose their children to known harmful effects, but am not happy with where that would logically take me. Under such rules no parent would be allowed to give their children scuba lessons, go on the jungle jim or play football. I'd have to think about it more. Any input?

Airlines are pretty heavily

Airlines are pretty heavily subsidized and regulated anyway, so I don't really see banning smoking on flights as being especially burdensome on the airlines private property rights. That ban would bother me more if it applied to charter flights as well (I don't think they do, I'm not really sure), or if the airlines weren't such whores for federal money.

In a world without

In a world without transaction costs, I suppose the perfect solution would be to allow individuals harmed by second hand smoke to recover damages from those responsible. Such damages would increase the cost of smoking to such an extent that most smokers would choose to abstain from smoking around anyone who objects. As this is not feasible under the current system, smoking bans serve as a reasonable proxy to achieve similar results. So I don't think such laws are necessarily anti-libertarian.

Personnally, and especially

Personnally, and especially after my last flight, I would definitely prefer flying in a private jet. Not as much security and I could smoke. I'm sure there probably is a niche for an airline that does allow smoking just as you claim there was a niche for a non-smoking airline back in the day. I don't think regulations and lack of competition has much do with this. If anything basic economics does, but as far as I know an airline smoking ban was probably decreed by the government.

I'm also not going to go into the effects of smoking bans on airport and airline security. Let's just say going through the security checkpoint multiple times effectively lowers the level of security. :beatnik:

In a world without

In a world without transaction costs, I suppose the perfect solution would be to allow individuals harmed by second hand smoke to recover damages from those responsible. Such damages would increase the cost of smoking to such an extent that most smokers would choose to abstain from smoking around anyone who objects.

A perfect solution, or damn near close, would be to let the owner of each individual establishment decide. He would be highly motivated to find the optimal solution because it would increase his profits to do so. The value to non-smokers of a smoke-free environment would be felt by the owner of a smoke-free establishment in the form of their willingness to pay more to visit his establishment than to visit the establishment across the street that allows smoking. And likewise for the smokers. The end result would probably be some balance, some mix of smoking-allowed establishments and smoke-free establishments.

An added benefit of the market solution over a blanket ban would be that smokers would have a place to go and smoke - in the establishments that cater to smokers.

Let the owners decide. It's

Let the owners decide. It's they who are responsible to their stockholders and who must satisfy clientele in order to maximaze profits. Government takes no resaponsibility for their many blunders.

if they have a doctors

if they have a doctors notice fine. If you find some kid who needs to breath an atmoshphere of pure tabacco smoke to survive then go for it. This is speculative on my part. Of course harms and benefits need to be balanced.

Certainly mental hospitals

Certainly mental hospitals should be non-smoking.

I don't know whether you've spent much time around mentally ill people, but cigarettes are *exactly* what such patients need and use to stay calm, cool and collected, despite the adverse long-term health consequences.

In the world we live in

In the world we live in almost all industries have some sort of public subsidies or regulation that makes them "uncompetitive" compared to how they would be in a free system. If we find prior public interferences a adequate reason for more public interference we'll never be free.

another Pseudo-libertarian statement:"Although under a free-market systemimmigration would be unrestricted, the existence of the welfare state requires us to pay to support other people therefore we should restrict mmigration."

Benedict, "In a world

Benedict,

"In a world without transaction costs, I suppose the perfect solution would be to allow individuals harmed by second hand smoke to recover damages from those responsible."

Suppose there's a condition to the sale of your airline ticket that you agree you understand there may be smoking on board and you take responsibility for any risk to yourself? Likewise at your place of employment. I think this is a way many would seek to handle the situation. And there would also be a market for smoke-free environments.

Odd, I remember old movies

Odd, I remember old movies where the airline ticket agent asked "Will that be smoking or non-smoking?"

What I don't know is whether the plane was divided into sections (which is entirely do-able from an engineering standpoint) or whether it was different flights.

LoneSnark: the plane was

LoneSnark: the plane was divided into sections, but airplanes have notoriously bad ventilation, which is why they recommend not to have the vents blowing in your face - you might catch a disease from another passenger because they recirculate the air. This also didn't help flight attendants one bit.

Sean, smoking is indeed an

Sean, smoking is indeed an unhealthy habit but I don't know how you can contort yourself into a position that is pro banning smoking. Everyone who enters a bar where smoking is allowed freely consents to being there, including employees. In our robust economy no one needs to employ one's self at a smoking establishment when there are, in DC alone, something like 150 bars that have already banned smoking voluntarily.

I feel, Sean, that you have fallen into the anti-libertarian trap of wanting to ban things that you don't like. I don't like fast food so I don't go to McDonald's. It is that simple. I don't seek to ban fast food. If you don't like it or find it unhealthy or abhorrent, don't go there. But let other people make their own choices and let them live and die by them.

Even if smoking was legally

Even if smoking was legally allowed on airplanes, I still think many customers would insist on entirely smoke free flights, in fact, with so many more non-smokers than smokers, the majority of flights might even be non-smoking.
I think the same thing might happen with most places of businesses. The majority of people don't like to be stuck in smoke filled rooms, especially when they have children with them, so in most cases a non-smoking business will have an advantage over one that allows smoking.
If things were left on their own, I think the majority of businesses would voluntarily chose not to allow smoking, with the exception of some bars and restauraunts, and maybe places that smell bad anyway.

Sean, "Sure, maybe it’s

Sean,

"Sure, maybe it’s wrong to tell a carrier they can’t allow smoking on their own airplane, but do you think we’d all be better off if smoking were allowed on domestic flights?"

Stipulate we'd be all be better off if smoking on flights remains legally banned. Now what's the libertarian position on such a ban?

Err, if I recall correctly,

Err, if I recall correctly, Northwest did ban smoking before the federally mandated ban. I think at least one other airline followed suit before the mandatory ban.

JTK: *My* position is that

JTK: *My* position is that the government needs to get the hell out of the way of competition so we don't have to worry about things like smoking bans because it will be so obvious people have a choice.

Eric: Well, I guess that blows my whole case.

I guess smoking bans are just another case of the government following the market and then trying to take credit for what the market was just about to produce (or just producing) anyway.

I guess smoking bans are

I guess smoking bans are just another case of the government following the market and then trying to take credit for what the market was just about to produce (or just producing) anyway.

Which is to be expected, really. If there's enough popular support to get something done politically, there's enough popular support to get it done voluntarily.