. . . but I'm not budging off of my position on this one. Hell, I just might reinforce it a bit.
But before I do so, let me spank Corinthian Scales once or twice.
Silly fish, at what point did I say that I agreed with everything that Rep. Schmidt wrote? On the first two comments that you rebutted I actually agree with you; but then again, so might Rep. Schmidt. (The guy's a freshman Representative; give him a fighting chance to screw up before you crucify him, willya?) As to seat belt and helmet laws; granted, they're much abused of late as revenue generators for cash-strapped municipalities. This merely points out that a law written for the public good (which is the purpose of the government in the first place) can be misused if the incentive to misuse it is there.
This is where I might divert to a discussion of taxation and revenue-sharing policies in this state and how hosed up they are, but I suspect that won't be necessary.
Like it or not, the fact of the matter is that sinful human nature requires government. (1 Peter 2:13-17 provides a partial Scriptural support.) And in the constructive trust that is supposed to characterize our representative republic, we place the government in control of those things that are more than we are capable of dealing with as individuals for the good of all of us. (In this I refer to such things a national defense, emergency services, court systems and such as that . . . by no means am I advocating anything even resembling statism.) In the exercise of its responsibilities, the government passes laws as it seems to think best for the greatest good. Yes, they also pass laws that shouldn't be passed, but that's where the individual vigilance of the citizenry, of which President Lincoln spoke, is supposed to provide the ultimate check against government overreach. Else why would we have the Second Amendment?
One of the things that we trust government with is the protection and preservation of our individual rights. For this purpose the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution exists. ("The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.") And this, I think, is the constitutional support for the smoking ban. As an individual, I have a constitutionally-established right to operate in the public sphere without an unreasonable threat to my life or health. (By this I use "public" in the sense of "public access," not necessarily "public property.")
The question turns on the two concepts of "public access" and "public hazard" . . . period. The second you allow the public onto your property, or employ anyone outside of family, in the normal course of your business, you have consequently opened the door to government regulation. This concept is addressed in the 1906 SCOTUS decision in Hale v. Henkel (201 U.S. 43). This includes a private business that transacts with the public, by invitation or otherwise.
And it by right only should include those things which are inherent public hazards. Thus smoking, which is known to endanger everyone else in the room, should be subject to regulations appropriate to protecting the health of all. However, other things, such as junk food, endanger no one but the consumer, and of right ought to be unregulated accordingly. This is the reason why you can drink like a fish at the bar of your choice, but you aren't breaking any laws until you become a public nuisance (such as urinating on a stop sign) or menace (such as getting behind the wheel of your car).
Like it or not, government exists. Granted, it's overstepped its bounds of late, but one of its basic purposes is to protect us from that from which we cannot effectively protect ourselves. To argue otherwise is to invite anarchy. Rather, the real question is, where should we draw the line? Again, throwing out the baby with the bathwater is inappropriate.
I submit that, with respect to a smoking ban, "hands off" is not an appropriate approach. The public health hazard is well-documented and too great to ignore. (Judge Osteen's opinion notwithstanding.) Tangential arguments, or moving the goalposts (such as claiming that by advocating for regulation here means that I'm advocating for increased government regulation everywhere), are not appropriate as counter-arguments. This is especially so given that those regulars on this site who know me, such as Jason and Rose, will recognize that government overreach is the last thing I will advocate.
I happen to think that a smoking ban on public property or in public-access places is an appropriate use of government authority. Clearly, everyone who's responded so far disagrees.
The odd thing is that just about every House Republican I've spoken with so far (two exceptions that I know of) agrees with my position. The only appropriate ban is a total one . . . no exemptions save for private property not open to public access. Speaking with Rep. Pearce earlier today, he opined that the only way such a ban would be effective is if it included language that prevented it from going into effect unless and until all 19 or 20 Indian Reservations agreed to it under the terms of their compact with the state.
Quite frankly, that makes sense too.