It was a gentlemen's protest: Scores of cigar-smokers filed into an upscale steakhouse in Reston on Monday night to light up their stogies over cocktails and beef Wellington and lament that the smoking police had finally come to, of all places, Virginia.Smoking bans in restaurants make no sense for the simple reason that anyone who dislikes second-hand smoke can frequent non-smoking restaurants. Market demand has produced large numbers of smoke-free restuarants because that is what much of the public wants. Bans impose the preferences of some on the many, without justification.
Four hundred years after John Rolfe planted the nation's first commercial tobacco in Virginia, and decades after state leaders paid homage to the crop by carving its leaves into the ceiling of the old state Senate chamber, smoking officially becomes illegal Tuesday in the state's 17,500 bars and restaurants.
A bigger cost of smoking bans is that they will evolve into prohibitions on tobacco. When that happens, the tobacco wars will mimic the drugs wars in all but name.