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Radley Balko's D.C. City Council Testimony June 14, 2005 

Jump to full article: Cato Institute, 2005-06-14
Author: Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr


Thanks to Madam Chair and to the D.C. City Council for letting me testify today. I only regret that all nine council members who plan to vote to make the District smoke free had more important things to do than listen to the concerns of the businesses and citizens of this city. And I'd like to thank council member Schwartz for her leadership on this issue. . . .

You don't have the right to walk onto someone else's property, demand to be served food or drink someone else has bought, and demand that they serve you on your terms. Free societies don't work that way.

This isn't about worker's rights. The idea that the Washington, D.C. city council is banning public smoking to benefit the city's waiters, waitresses and bartenders is a canard. There are countless jobs and professions that are far more dangerous than serving food or drink in the presence of secondhand smoke. The people who choose those jobs -- cab drivers, fishermen, and police, for example -- take those jobs full-well knowing the risks. The health risks associated with secondhand smoke are debatable. But this simple fact isn't: A waiter or bartender who chooses to work for an establishment that allows smoking knows what kind of environment he'll be working in.

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