Boston (PRWEB) October 2, 2008
The association that represents more than 2,000 cigar store owners and premium cigar manufacturers worldwide is burning up over the Boston Public Health Commission's recent proposals to tighten restrictions on tobacco sales and use throughout the city.
"The Commission is over-reaching when it comes to their concerns over secondhand smoke and by further denying business owners their constitutional rights," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
"The Surgeon General's 2006 Report says that the evidence is inconclusive regarding the health aspects of secondhand smoke. That explains why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not regard secondhand smoke as an occupational or environmental hazard," he said.
McCalla pointed out that OSHA has established safe exposure levels for secondhand smoke and shown that "Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that it would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that (those levels would be exceeded)," according to Greg Watchman, Acting Ass't Sec'y of OSHA in 1997.
McCalla also cited secondhand smoke air quality testing conducted by the American Cancer Society that showed secondhand smoke concentrations are up to 25,000 times safer than OSHA standards. In addition, he said, Oak Ridge National Laboratory testing confirms that results of air quality testing of secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants "were considerably below limits established by OSHA."
"So, it is with all due respect to the Commission that we believe they got it wrong when it comes to secondhand smoke and unfairly depriving more and more business owners the right to run their businesses as they choose," he said.
"The Commission seems to think that minorities - in this case, smokers - have no rights and that the majority - non-smokers - can have their way regardless of their impingement on the minority's rights. Our nation's founders opposed government intervention into matters better left to the people. That includes private property - like businesses - where owners should have the right to decide whether or not to allow smoking on their premises. Customers and employees then have the right to patronize or work at those businesses," he pointed out.
"Certain businesses are adult destinations aimed at adults who enjoy cigars. No adult non-smoker is going to accidentally walk into a cigar store or cigar bar. Even if they do, such incidental exposure is not going to harm them.
"The bottom line is that for adults who enjoy the legal pleasures of a fine cigar and the celebratory and social aspects of smoking such cigars, it's important for them - and it is their right - to have places where smoking is permitted and children aren't," he said.
McCalla urged the Commission to withdraw its proposed regulations.