In Ohio, the hospitality industry gets slapped around by the government as the first wave of smoking ban fines is issued.

All it takes is a complaint, and the authorities have the ticket booklet out, ready to grab "extra" tax from people who are just trying to mind their own business while catering to the desires of customers. Fines start at $100 and can escalate to at least $2,500 for repeat "offences". Meanwhile, one harried owner of a local inn has vowed to fight the ban, which he says is costing him $1,000 a week.

In a somewhat rare show of dismay, given that they are not supposed to be political, the police publicly came out against smoking bans in some jurisdictions when the idea first surfaced some years ago. The cops pointed out, sensibly, that enforcing such bans would amount to a waste of their time. Given the real problems of violence and exploitation that they had to face — real crime, in other words — they were concerned about being pressured to enforce something that was not only frivolous but sure to add to social tensions.

Now that so many bans have passed, police time will be wasted, hospitality patrons will stay home, business owners will continue to be drained, and the public will remain divided between those incensed at the loss of a small but significant liberty, and those who cherish the perverse desire to spy on, report and hate their neighbours. The dissenting cops are now silent, but they were right in the first place.



Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder