Hello all. In between trying to figure out internships, studying for midterms, and figuring out the next month (nay! year! nay! 10 years!) of life, I am pausing to write. And pose questions of course. In the ring today I would like to introduce Personal Freedoms vs. Health Laws. They are often the subject of public and political attentions.
I am curious as to where you think the lines should be between personal freedoms and paternalistic laws. I have had many a heated discussion about this particular issue, and am curious as to what you think.
An example of a paternalistic law is that of making it illegal NOT to wear your seatbelt. The purpose of this law is to protect the person driving. Another example of a paternalistic law is the Smokefree Air Act, and it was mandated in my home state, Iowa, in 2008. This is a ban on smoking throughout Iowa, and was largely driven by a former professor of mine, Christopher Squier. A recent report shows a 24 percent decrease in hospital admissions since its implementation.
What do you think? Would you consider laws such as the Smokefree Air Act to be a great success for public health, or is its limits on personal choice disturbing to you? Is there ever a point in which personal freedoms are far too restricted in the name of health, or is it always right if it is beneficial to the population as a whole?