Smoking bans in bars and restaurants in cities and states around the country are on the rise. There are two reasons for this. First, some people find smoky environments unpleasant. Second, and more importantly, studies suggest that second hand smoke causes cancer. Skeptics raise concerns about these studies. They argue the participants are ones that live with smokers, so they are exposed to second hand smoke for far longer than one would be at a bar. They argued that the results of such studies are only deemed significant by means of lax statistical standards. They point out that other studies show no correlation.
The debate surrounding these concerns misses the larger point: even if secondhand smoke does cause cancer, the decision regarding whether or not it should be allowed in an establishment is between the owner of the establishment and its patrons. It does not need to be dictated by force of government. Some establishments would choose to be smoke free. Others would choose to allow smoking. Individuals would decide which establishment they want to patronize.
But liberals applaud these laws; laws that prevent two voluntary parties from participating in a transaction. Yet it is these very same liberals who condemn conservatives on the issue of homosexuality because it's a choice between two consenting adults that the government needs to stay out of. The situation can be succinctly addressed by a quote from the economist Frederick Von Hayek's book The Road To Serfdom: "If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion".