On election day North Dakotans has a terrible bit of policy in the form of the Measure 4 smoking ban. It’s a confusing bit of policy for business owners who are now, according to public officials interpreting the law, responsible for policing smoking within 20 feet of any door or drive-up window on their establishment. This would include, it seems, people smoking in their cars in the drive-through lane at banks, pharmacies and fast-food restaurants.
The punishment for being caught with smokers too near your business is a fine and, according to the law, “the suspension or revocation of any permit or license issued to the person for the premises on which the violation occurred.”
Meaning that a bank or a pharmacy which has customers smoking in their cars in the drive-through lane could lose their license to operate.
There are other more absurd provisions of the law (all work vehicles must now have “no smoking” signs visible from outside the vehicle), but it all goes to show just how much inertia there is behind the prohibitionists who are pushing the anti-smoking agenda. And their next step? Banning smoking at home, with fire hazard no doubt being the argument in favor as WDAY host Jay Thomas notes:
I can’t vouch for Thomas’ assertion that there have been 40 deck fires due to smoking, but supposing it’s true (and I’m guessing it is), that’s a problem. And probably an unintended consequence of the anti-smoking crusade pushing so many smokers outside.
But make no doubt that the ultimate goal in all of this is the total prohibition of tobacco. They’re doing it by degrees, one ban and one tax at a time, but the goal here is to make it so that Americans aren’t allowed to choose to use tobacco.