Don’t worry, kiddies. Momma Government will take care of you. You’re getting fat, you have high cholesterol, and your arteries are clogged. Tsk, tsk. She may tell you over and over again to quit eating junk food, but you don’t listen. So now she has to take it away.
The Board of Health in New York passed a ban in December of 2006 on the use of artificial trans fats in restaurants. An MSNBC article outlines the pros and cons of this ban, especially considering the deadline is the summer of 2008. All restaurants in New York City are required to comply. This ban is yet another example of government interference in petty individual choices. There is an ample amount of information out there on nutrition and health. It is very possible, and quite easy (libraries are free!) to educate oneself about ones choices. As long as, in this case, a restaurant isn’t lying about or hiding their use of trans fats, they should be free to continue using them. It’s not as if the New York City consumer has a shortage of options.
Any educated person knows that eating the greasy burger is not as healthy for them as a salad. They must pay the consequences for the choice they make. If a person chooses not to educate themselves, and goes on eating junk foods…well…that’s not the government’s problem.
By creating a blanket ban on a thing, such as smoking indoors, or trans fats, New York City is setting a disturbing precedent. A better solution, for example, may be to have designated smoking areas, or restaurants, so that the smoker still has that option. Every restaurant doesn’t have to allow smoking, but it isn’t necessary for none to allow it either.
Trans fats, as well as smoking, can be avoided with just a little initiative and reason by those who do not wish to partake in them. These arguably petty negatives or annoyances don‘t need a blanket ban. No one that I know of has ever died from smoking one cigarette or an order of onion rings. The negative effects add up over time; the length of which is certainly adequate enough for one to learn about the dangers before experiencing dire or irreversible consequences.
And if, after realizing the negative consequences, one makes the choice to continue the activity or consumption, then so be it. That’s their prerogative. The responsibility rests with the individual, not Momma Government.