Please come to Boston . . . without your cigars.

Come 2018, you (and Larry Bird) won’t be able to enjoy a cigar at any cigar lounge in Boston or likely anywhere else in Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick vetoed a second attempt by legislators to preserve cigar bars in communities of more than 150,000 residents.

The debate followed the typical government methodology for infringing on the rights of citizens. Unless our government has become completely paternalistic, then no one can seriously argue that citizens should not be free to gather and enjoy their cigars. So in these cases, the government looks for an innocent third party that allegedly will be harmed by the activity. In order to eliminate cigarettes in restaurants, they pointed to the poor patrons who will be subjected to the second-hand smoke of others. That argument was fallacious because the free market takes care of that problem. Don’t want to be subjected to secondhand smoke? There will be a thriving selection of smoke free restaurants who want to cater to you. But, okay, an argument can be made that you are possibly depriving nonsmoking citizens of the ability to go to their favorite pizza hangout if you allow the owner to decide whether it is a smoking establishment.

However, even that weak argument fails in the case of a cigar bar. The only people that go there are people that want to be surrounded by smokers. So how do we demonize a cigar lounge? Who is the innocent victim?

The employees. You see, the employees of a cigar lounge had no choice but to work anywhere other than that cigar lounge. Thus, you are forcing the employees to sacrifice their health in order to work, or so the argument goes.

I don’t need to explain to you that this is a ridiculous argument on many levels. The most obvious is that this is not the only job the employees could have, and if it is, you are dooming them to a life of unemployment if you do away with the cigar lounge. Similarly, let’s assume that working in a cigar lounge is a really undesirable job because of the smoke, and that only 1 out of 10,000 workers would even consider working there. Well, you’ve just created a job that will enable people that might be having difficulty finding work to find a job because there is far less competition, just like, I would imagine, coal miners, crab fishers, and public defenders.

Here are some sample quotes from the government boneheads, taken from an article on

“Anybody working in a bar of any kind shouldn’t have to breathe in secondhand smoke in order to make a living,’’ said Michael Siegel, a tobacco control specialist at Boston University School of Public Health.

Patrons can choose to smoke, but employees, who may have only taken a cigar bar job because they had no other options, should not be subjected to secondhand smoke, said Marc Hymovitz, director of government relations at the New England division of the American Cancer Society. Cigar smoke is as or more dangerous than cigarette smoke, he said.

“It comes down to we shouldn’t make people choose between their health and a job,’’ said Hymovitz, adding that state governments should not be able to preemptively set local health standards. “This was not the Worcester City Council saying, hey, we want to allow cigar bars. This was the state saying you have to allow cigar bars, whether you want to or not.’’

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