Ask anyone who owns a bar or restaurant in this part of town, and they’ll tell you business hasn’t been the same since the city council passed the no-smoking ordinance in 2003. Yet, despite opposition from such a politically powerful group, there has been little interest in rescinding the ban here, and bans — some even stricter than the one in Dallas, like a proposal in Fort Worth — are proposed and passed.

Let me add here that I don’t smoke, that I consider it a filthy, disgusting and nasty habit, and that I nag my friends who do smoke to stop. Plus, I don’t miss smoking in bars or restaurants where it has been banned. Nevertheless, this movement baffles me. It seems contradictory to so many other parts of the culture, not the least of which is that I can carry a loaded handgun into the same restaurant where I can’t smoke.

So what’s going on here? Why have smoking bans been so successful?