>Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine reports that increased enforcement against smoking in private establishments in Amsterdam will have the unfortunate effect of squelching the one big reason people go there in the first place: to smoke.
In the U.S., smoking bans that apply to just about every other workplace commonly exempt tobacconists, on the theory that the consumption of tobacco products is the raison de’tre of such businesses, many of which provide lounge areas where customers can enjoy their purchases. In the Netherlands, by contrast, a smoking ban that takes effect in July 2008 will apply to cannabis-selling coffee shops, where on-site consumption is an even bigger part of the business.
The statist universalists with their conception of what constitutes good health, as well as the good life, reveal once again how utilitarian ideas of happiness maximization in one area of the human experience inevitably impedes upon another. Seperating health from the psychic value of a unique experience is not so easily done. In this case one of the few areas of the western world famously tolerant of visibly consumed and enjoyed marijuana takes a hit…so to speak.
Though it appears from further reading of the article to be a case of employee health as well. That requires a different argument from that of anti-paternalism, but we’ll save it for another day.