I live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a place where the government goes above and beyond the call of duty in trying to protect us from ourselves.
A few years ago, Boston enacted a smoking ban in all bars and restaurants, and a bit later, the whole state followed suit. As an Objectivist, I ranted against this absurdity to anyone who would listen. I don't smoke, but I fully support the right of business owners to run their establishments as they see fit, for patrons to frequent those establishments according to their own likes and dislikes, and for employees of those establishments to work there or not based on their own values and judgments.
Supporters of the ban really didn't have a leg to stand on when they tried to defend customers from second-hand smoke -- the argument of "well, just don't eat/drink there if you don't want to smell smoke" was too obvious and rational to fight against successfully.
The argument that got the most traction was in defending the poor service-industry workers who had to put up with the smoke. This was all based on them having a "right to work" as well as a "right to work in a safe environment", taken to mean their right to work was translated into a duty by a bar owner to make things "safe".
For some reason, raising the point that those workers didn't have to work in a bar that allows smoking was met with cries of outrage. I distinctly remember peoples' voices getting high-pitched and frantic, with whines of "but EVERY bar allows smoking! What is a waitress going to do if she doesn't want to work with second-hand smoke? She'll starve!"
So the law passed, and smoking was banned.
Then, as a father nearing middle age who rarely goes out to bars anymore, I saw what a difference it makes in my going-out experience. I meet up with old friends in Boston maybe once a month at most. Going into an old Irish bar or dive that we used to frequent when I was in my mid-20's (oh soooo long ago...) is an entirely different thing now. I don't have to immediately throw my toxic jeans and shirt into the laundry when I get home, and take a 45 minute shower just to get the burned-in smoke smell out. My eyes don't burn when I'm at the bar. My voice doesn't get hoarse. It's awesome.
Would I change the law now, even though I love the small impact it has had in my life?
Yes, in a heartbeat.
If there was a market for non-smoking bars, it would have been established as an alternative before. If the market has since shifted and there is greater demand for it now that people have seen the change, repealing the law now may actually allow both smoking and non-smoking bars to flourish.
But even if it goes back to the old way, where most good bars -- the ones where the food/drink/people are the best, the popular ones that people want to go to -- are smoke filled and make my eyes water, I'd still rather have that than knowing that my momentary enjoyment of clean air is at the expense of the individual rights of businessmen, employees and customers alike.
So as much as I hate smelling like I rolled around in an ashtray upon leaving a bar, I say repeal the smoking ban!