How Far Is Too Far?

Every once in a while, I stumble on an article that really catches my eye, one that makes me sit there and scratch my head.  An article that makes me ask the question, “how far is too far?”

Now, before I continue with my main point, I want to establish early on that I am a non-smoker.  Smoking never appealed to me, and I really cannot stand the smell of someone smoking around me.  I do not like when people think that no smoking signs do not apply to them, or that just because a good portion of the stadium has left, it is not ok to light up in the stands.  I enjoy that I can go to Applebee’s or any other restaurant and not have to ask for a seat in the non-smoking section; you know the one that is separated by that impenetrable barrier, the half-wall?  Ok, now that it has been made clear my stance on smoking, we can continue.

Apparently, the city of San Rafael, California, thinks it is within their rights to make it illegal for someone to smoke in a duplex, townhouse, or any other multi-family dwelling.  On the surface, that is a very good thing because there is the potential for shared-source air.  I get it.  I don’t exactly want to be living in the apartment above a chain-smoker or the guy cooking meth, because the chances are good I will be impacted negatively in some way.

But how far is too far?  Before we moved to our new home, my family and I lived in a townhouse.  We shared a wall with our neighbors, and could sometimes hear them argue.  And when one of them smoked, outside, sometimes the smoke would waft over toward us.  It was not something we enjoyed at all.  But, let’s say for the sake of argument, that our neighbors owned their townhouse.  Would it not be within their legal rights to smoke in their own home if they chose to do so?  I think it would have been.

My point is this:  just because we do not agree with something, or something is disgusting to us, does not make it illegal.  Smoking, while not the most intelligent choice one can make for their health, is not illegal.  Your house is not a public place, so no government, municipal or otherwise, should be able to dictate your ability to smoke inside your residence.  If you rent, you are subject to the terms of your lease, and if the landlord bans smoking inside, you are out of luck; no such provision has ever been placed in a mortgage that I am aware of.

If this ban is allowed to stand, and you never know what will happen in California, what is next?  Will a law come out that states each meal must include a salad before the main course?  Or that we can only eat ice cream on Thursdays?  Will I be required to wear actual pajamas to bed instead of old basketball shorts?  Will people no longer be allowed to eat pizza for breakfast?  Unless you or I are breaking a law, the government has no business legislating what goes on inside my house or your house.

Where will it end?  How far is too far?

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