IPCPR Congratulates Arizona Court of Appeals on Cigar Bar Ruling

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Congratulations were offered today to the Arizona Court of Appeals for its ruling Sept. 30 against the Arizona Department of Health Services in favor of a Phoenix tobacco shop and bar. The kudos came from the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association in behalf of its more than 2,000 cigar store owners and premium cigar manufacturers. "I never met a smoking ban I didn't oppose, but at least the Arizona Court of Appeals shed a ray of reason and reality on the Magnum case," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of IPCPR.

Congratulations were offered today to the Arizona Court of Appeals for its ruling Sept. 30 against the Arizona Department of Health Services in favor of a Phoenix tobacco shop and bar. The kudos came from the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association in behalf of its more than 2,000 cigar store owners and premium cigar manufacturers.

Phoenix-based Magnum's Cigar Wine and Liquor Emporium, a member of IPCPR, sought an exception to the 2006 voter-approved smoking ban when it constructed a bar on the premises. Magnum's was initially denied the exemption by the Health Services Department but the Court of Appeals reversed that ruling.

"I never met a smoking ban I didn't oppose, but at least the Arizona Court of Appeals shed a ray of reason and reality on the Magnum case," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of IPCPR.

McCalla explained that IPCPR opposes smoking bans because they are usually based on what he called "over-reaching concerns regarding secondhand smoke and they deny business owners their constitutional rights to decide themselves whether or not to allow smoking on their premises."

Although the Arizona smoking ban in public places was voter-approved, McCalla believes voters were misled by unsubstantiated and erroneous data fed to them by over-eager anti-smoking lobbyists.

"The truth about secondhand smoke is that 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 Assistant Secretary of OSHA in 1997.

McCalla also cited testing of secondhand smoke air quality conducted by the American Cancer Society that showed secondhand smoke concentrations to be 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, in their words, "considerably below limits established by OSHA."

"Voters were also misled into thinking 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 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.

Contact:    
Tony Tortorici
678/493-0313
tony @ tortoricipr.com

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