My Two Cents: Smoking ban off, BBQ ban on

This week, I offer my take on two regional news issues. Enjoy.


Last week, the state Court of Appeals overturned the Pierce County-wide indoor smoking ban. I, of course, realize this is not the end of the issue, but I was glad to see the ban lifted – again. While I’m not a smoker, I feel the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health’s smoking prohibition is an infringement on the rights of business owners to run their establishmets as they see fit. (For those who are in favor of the ban, imagine if the government mandated that business owners must allow smoking in their establishments. That would be just as wrong as the government forcing all private businesses to be smoke-free. Let the business owners decide!)

In my view, the ban is unnecessary, given the fact that about 70 percent of establishments licensed to serve food and beverages in Pierce County were already voluntarily smoke-free.

At least two smoking-related initiatives vying for the ballot would give voters a say, which is preferable to unelected bureaucrats deciding what is best for everyone. And speaking of…


Beginning July 1, new building codes will prohibit the use of open-flame gas or charcoal barbecues unless there is an overhead sprinkler system. That means summer barbecues will be banned on the decks of many condos and apartments.

While requiring that a fire extinguisher be nearby in such instances is probably a good idea, isn’t an outright ban just another example of the government trying to micromanage our lives?

As far as I can tell, such barbecues aren’t a major source of fires, so why the new rules? Because the changes are from a new 600-page International Building Code, which merges the country’s three regional building codes. Apparently, the Russian novel-sized document is the government’s attempt at streamlining, if you can believe that.

Do these new rules mean it will be against the law to light candles on a birthday cake within the confines of your own condominium or apartment?

Then again, it’s probably only a matter of time before certain do-gooder busybodies try to get lit candles on birthday cakes banned because of the dangers posed by second-hand smoke.

“My Two Cents” is a weekly column where the author – who is not a fan of the growing nanny state – gets in his two cents worth, in spite of the old saying that you only get a penny for your thoughts. E-mail any comments – good, bad or indifferent – to the editor at: He loves to get feedback on his columns!