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Has Iowa’s leaderships decided to take the role of moral police?

April 20, 2008
We’ve gotten a lot of flak over our recent editorials regarding the statewide smoking ban signed into law last week.

So here’s another one.

There have been a lot of interesting comments regarding the statewide smoking ban bill signed into law by Gov. Chet Culver last week.

Among the most interesting was a remark that many restaurants some people avoid because they allowed smoking will see more patrons after July 1. They say they have avoided many local restaurants because they allowed smoking and that they plan to visit those businesses more once the smoking ban goes into effect.

That’s quite noble, and we’ll be interested to see if business actually picks up at such restaurants.

However, while we’re lettering the Iowa Legislature serve as our “moral police,” let’s look at other reasons some people don’t visit restaurants.

One reason given by some families is alcohol.

People sitting at a bar in the restaurant tend to have had a few drinks and their tongues flow more freely — something most parents aren’t interested in exposing their children to.

Perhaps the legislature should consider a ban on alcohol sales in restaurants, leave that job only to the bars.

Or maybe we should look at banning certain unhealthy foods, particularly those that cause heart disease. Iowans may not be able to choose wisely enough when eating out — or may avoid certain restaurants only because they serve fatty or oily or greasy foods like fries and deep-fried appetizers.

Then there are many adults who prefer to dine in an atmosphere where they don’t have to listen to a screaming baby or whining four-year-old. Perhaps it’s time to ban children from eating out and spare us all a few headaches.

Obviously, we’re exaggerating to make a point: Government has no business restricting such basic choices as smoking, drinking, eating or giving birth.

Some of us are smokers, some are not. Still, we applaud efforts to improve Iowans’ health and encourage more people to quit smoking. We’d just rather see that accomplished through smoking cessation programs, local efforts and methods that don’t involve regulating personal choices — leave those types of actions to countries like Russia and China.

Perhaps it’s time to rename the Iowa Legislature as the Iowa Nanny Service. At least the name would be more accurate.


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