IPCPR Says Texas Legislator Tilts at Tobacco Windmills

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The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association today suggested that Texas State Representative Myra Crownover (R-Denton) may be misinformed with regard to her third effort to initiate a statewide smoking ban.

The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association today suggested that Texas State Representative Myra Crownover (R-Denton) may be misinformed with regard to her third effort to initiate a statewide smoking ban.

"Businesses have been ruined by smoking bans and employees have been laid off because of them, according to the Federal Reserve Bank. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Fed concluded that smoking bans, wherever they occur, hurt businesses, especially bars and restaurants," said Chris McCalla, legislative director for the IPCPR, an international association of more than 2,000 manufacturers and retailers of premium cigars, most of whom own mom-and-pop small businesses in their respective communities.

McCalla takes the position that public policy like smoking bans put small businesses in jeopardy of jobs, tax receipts and profits and should not be considered at any time, especially during economically perilous times as now.

"With all due respect to Representative Crownover and other legislators who also may have been misinformed, I would think the Texas legislature would be looking for ways to help the economy, not hurt it," he said.

McCalla also said that claims regarding the health aspects of secondhand smoke are easily exaggerated.

"The most recent Surgeon General's report actually stated that its results were inconclusive regarding secondhand smoke. As a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration - which protects employees in the workplace - established secondhand smoke standards well above the range which might be found in any bar or restaurant," said McCalla. "Even testing by the American Cancer Society and the independent Oak Ridge National Laboratory confirms that results of air quality testing of secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants are 'considerably below limits established by OSHA.'"

McCalla pointed out that many bars, restaurants and other businesses have already declared themselves to be smoke-free.

"And that's as it should be," according to McCalla. "Business owners have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to make their establishments smoke-free and employees and patrons can also make their own decisions about working or patronizing them. We don't need government to tell us what to do and take away our rights at the same time."

Contact:
Tony Tortorici
678/493-0313

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