As the Old Orchard Beach Town Council gets ready to discuss a perfectly reasonable ban on smoking at Maine’s busiest beach, let’s get one argument out of the way: No one has a right to smoke on a beach, or in any other public place.

Yes, cigarettes are legal and yes, the decision whether or not to light up is a matter of personal choice, but no – once smoke drifts away from the smoker toward someone else’s nose, it’s not the smoker’s choice anymore. The community has every right to limit where and when someone can smoke.

Outdoor smoking bans are somewhat new, but they still provide an opportunity to recycle arguments that were unsuccessfully marshaled to defeat indoor bans a decade ago.

Smokers and their supporters would like to turn the argument into something that it is not – a civil liberties issue. It is a public health issue, and even though smokers use a legal product, that doesn’t give smokers any right to do something that puts other people’s health at risk.

It’s legal to own a dog, too, but in most circumstances you can’t bring one into a restaurant or onto a public beach. It’s the same concept here.

Most nonsmokers see secondhand smoke as a nuisance and would be happy not to have to deal with it. But for people with asthma or other lung ailments, even a small amount of tobacco smoke is too much and can trigger a reaction. Why should someone’s right to smoke outweigh another’s right to breathe?

Another argument that is sure to be trotted out again will be the claim that smoking bans are bad for business. Tourists won’t want to come to Maine if they can’t light up here, they claim, so the rest of us should just hold our noses.

This is not what businesses experienced after indoor smoking was banned in restaurants, bars and other public places. It turns out, smokers go out to eat and socialize, not to smoke, so they find a way to satisfy their habit without staying home. And people who couldn’t or wouldn’t put up with smoky establishments came back when everything became smoke-free.

Tourists come to Maine for the beautiful beaches, not because it’s a convenient place to have a cigarette. If the town bans smoking on the beach, smokers will still find a way to smoke, and everyone will be able to enjoy themselves even more.