Balancing Public Health Against Individual Liberty: The Ethics of Smoking Regulations
80 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 1999 Last revised: 6 Nov 2013
Ten years ago, philosopher Robert E. Goodin published "No Smoking: The Ethical Issues." Goodin argued that the liberty of smokers can be justifiably limited for two reasons: to prevent harm to third persons and to prevent harm to smokers themselves under circumstances which make their decision to smoke substantially non-autonomous. In this article Thaddeus Pope reexamines the harm principle and the soft paternalism principle in light of more recent legal developments, gives them additional content, and carefully demarcates the justificatory scope of each. Pope also defines and defends a third liberty-limiting principle, hard paternalism, arguing that the liberty of smokers might be justifiably limited even when their decision to smoke is substantially autonomous.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation