The Corner

Secondhand Smoke, Not That Dangerous

Slate goes through the evidence that the dangers of secondhand smoke have been vastly exaggerated. The exaggerated claims about the health impact of secondhand smoke were central to the successful campaign to get smoking banned in most enclosed public places.

I always thought that in the private sector, property owners should generally be allowed to set their own policies on smoking. Even if secondhand smoke really were dangerous, people should be allowed to take the risk of going to places that allow smoking–just as people should be allowed to take the much greater risk of actually smoking. If secondhand smoke posed no dangers at all, owners should still be allowed to ban smoking on the ground that they, or other customers, just don’t like the smell.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.