IPCPR Says Vote 'No' on Hutchinson Smoking Ban Extension

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The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) advises the Hutchinson (KS) City Council to avoid expansion of the city's smoking ban.

When the Hutchinson City Council met Tuesday, December 16, it considered the opportunity to avoid sliding further down the slippery slope of depriving more local business owners and citizens of their individual rights.

That was the position of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers regarding the council's consideration of expanding the city's smoking ban. Currently, a legislated ban prohibits smoking in restaurants. Before deciding whether or not to expand that ban, Council is considering allowing the public to vote next April in the general election on a non-binding initiative regarding such a ban extension.

"The Hutchinson City Council is to be commended for its respect for businesses' and citizens' rights even in these very difficult economic times. I would submit, however, that now is not the time for Council to change its position. With jobs, tax revenues and individual rights at risk with any smoking ban, Hutchinson business owners should be able to keep their right to decide for themselves whether or not to allow smoking on their premises," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.

McCalla echoed those who have said that a straw vote on the April ballot would be confusing and a waste of taxpayers' time and money.

"I can appreciate that the Council is seeking input from the public but they are getting that every day and don't need the proposed straw vote. We respectfully suggest that the Council move on to considering things that truly matter, like how they are going to run the city with lower revenues due to declining home values, employment and sales taxes. And, by the way, those revenues would be even lower if an expanded smoking ban resulted in lower tobacco sales that would result in even lower tax revenues for the city, county and state," McCalla said.

"It should not be a foregone conclusion that an extended smoking ban is inevitable in Hutchinson as some have suggested. Reasonable people can see that the rationale behind smoking bans is based on a disregard for the constitutional rights of others and the spreading of misinformation regarding the effects of secondhand smoke by anti-tobacco forces," he said.

Tony Tortorici


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