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The freedom of choice argument comes in two basic forms: proprietors' assertions that they have the right to run their businesses free from government interference and to choose whether to permit smoking, and smokers' insistence that they have the right to smoke when and where they wish. Both arguments can be easily addressed, with the obvious response to smokers not needing comment. Concerning the demands of business owners to operate without restrictions, hospitality operators already face a host of restrictions ranging from building and fire code standards to food safety, liquor license and zoning conditions and restrictions, yet never complain about the latter.

A corollary to the freedom of choice argument increasingly raised by bar and pub owners is that smoke-free by-laws are in fact a covert attempt to force people to stop smoking. This argument is usually made in the context of a broader attack on the involvement of health units and other health sector personnel in which the latter are usually characterized as "extremists", "special interests", or described as inappropriately receiving government funding.

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