Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) October 16, 2008
Ban the bans. That's what the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association has been urging since the Pennsylvania smoking ban became law on Sept. 11 and the Philadelphia ban was enacted two years earlier.
The state law forbids smoking in most indoor workplaces and public spaces. At the same time, it currently allows a variety of exemptions that some legislators want to eliminate with an amendment in January. Philadelphia's even more stringent ban remains in effect.
"The smoking bans should be eliminated, not the exemptions. The bans violate the constitutional rights of private business owners and individual citizens and are based on false information regarding secondhand smoke. Even the Surgeon General's 2006 report says the evidence regarding secondhand smoke is 'insufficient' to draw any conclusions regarding its effect on the health of non-smokers," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of IPCPR which represents more than 70 cigar store owners - largely family-owned businesses - throughout the state.
"In addition to the Surgeon General stating that the evidence is inconclusive regarding the health aspects of secondhand smoke, OSHA - the Occupational Safety and Health Administration - doesn't regard secondhand smoke as an occupational or environmental hazard either," McCalla said.
McCalla pointed out that OSHA has established safe exposure levels for secondhand smoke and has 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)."
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 legislature that we believe they got it wrong when it comes to secondhand smoke. As a result, they are unfairly depriving business owners their constitutional rights to run their businesses as they choose," he said.
"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.