Now even the Italians have enacted tough anti-smoking laws. Italy joins Ireland, Scotland, and Montenegro (!) as the first European countries to ban smoking in public places. Good for them. It's about time it happen here too.
I'd like to see a nationwide ban but it seems to be happening at the state and community level for now. I live in Illinois and there are no serious proposals out there to ban smoking statewide as far as I know. I understand some Chicago suburban communities have banned smoking but that's about it. States like California and New York (or is it on New Your City) have bans in place and all seems to be going well.
The restaurant associations seem to always come out in opposition to such proposals claiming it will hurt business. However, states like California and New York (or is it just New York City?) have smoking bans and I'm not hearing about restaurants and bars closing shop due to a lack of patronage by smokers. So I think that argument is nonsense.
An individual restaurant might be hurt (some) if it chose to unilaterally ban smoking. This would even be more true of a bar, I imagine. But having said that, I do know of a few restaurants that have bans and they seem to be doing OK. And in larger communities, I'm sure a smoke free bar would be sustainable. However, having a universal ban gives all establishments cover so no one is unfairly hurt.
As for smokers whining that their "rights" are being violated, their rights end where their smoke affects me. It gets on my clothes and hair and, of course, into my lungs. Hey, smoke 'em if you got 'em in your own space. That's where your "right" to smoke lies.