No one should smoke.

This is not in dispute. Smoking withers the body, causing disease and disability. Tobacco use is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in the United States each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists it as the single largest cause of preventable death in the country.

And yet smoking is a choice. In the same way people choose to eat fried bacon and triple cheeseburgers, smoking is a bad decision, one that an individual should make, not Horry County Council.

We mention the council because some council members want to see the county enact a smoking ban in places such as bars or restaurants.

Councilman Harold Worley suggested the council adopt a policy similar to the one in North Myrtle Beach enacted in 2012 and he plans to push the ban in the coming weeks.

Worley said it’s a moral issue, and he considers it time to crack down on the “wrong” act of smoking in public.

Although we agree that people should not smoke, we don’t support a countywide ban.

Apart from our concerns about governmental overreach, our main opposition to the policy is that it’s unnecessary.

The number of smoking establishments will continue to decline because the number of smokers is decreasing.

Between 2005 and 2015, the percentage of smokers in the U.S. dropped from nearly 21 percent to just above 15 percent, according to the CDC.

When the Chronicle dispatched a reporter to talk to people in Carolina Forest bars that allowed smoking, the search proved to be difficult.

Buffalo Wild Wings, long a local haven for smokers, went smoke free over a year ago. Murphy’s Law and Handley’s Pub and Grub did the same thing this year.

Business leaders said the move has largely been positive, and their decision was made in response to their customers’ demands.

Horry County Council should take note of what is already happening in the community and move on to dealing with more pressing issues such as lagging infrastructure and an understaffed police force.

Those are real problems facing the county. The business community has already taken care of the smoking ban.


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