IPCPR Casts Doubt on Need for Statewide Indiana Smoking Ban

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Proponents of a statewide Indiana smoking ban should take another look at the so-called facts on which they are basing their opinions, said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

Proponents of a statewide Indiana smoking ban should take another look at the so-called facts on which they are basing their opinions, said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

"Reasonable doubt by fair-minded people is being cast on results of surveys that are based primarily on anti-tobacco spin rather than scientific evidence," said McCalla who represents more than 2,000 premium cigar manufacturers and retailers - mostly mom-and-pop operators of cigar stores.

McCalla said that the studies showing lower rates of health issues in areas impacted by smoking bans represent coincidental factors that should not necessarily be attributed to the bans.

"The anti-tobacco people are grasping at straws when they flatly credit such results to smoking bans. So many factors are involved in such unscientific studies that it is impossible to confidently claim such health benefits from smoking bans," McCalla said.

For example, McCalla said, more businesses than ever are declaring themselves smoke-free. He emphasized that that's the way it should be and that legislated bans are not the way to go.

"Business owners have the right to decide whether or not to allow smoking on their premises. And no one is forcing employees or patrons to go into a place of business where smoking is allowed if they don't want to. Let the market decide, not government legislators. These are not times to be putting more businesses in jeopardy," he said.

McCalla was referring to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics included in data available from the Federal Reserve Bank that found statistically significant employment declines resulting from smoking bans, especially in bars and restaurants.

Those who claim negative health factors associated with secondhand smoke should also check their information, McCalla said.

"Read the Surgeon General's 2006 report and not just the biased comments regarding the report and you will see that the report is filled with what it calls 'inconclusive evidence' regarding secondhand smoke," said McCalla.

"Based on that report, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration established secondhand smoke standards well above the range which might be found in any bar or restaurant. In addition, air quality testing in such workplaces conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and even the American Cancer Society confirms that results of air quality testing of secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants was well within limits established by OSHA," he said.

Contact:
Tony Tortorici
678/493-0313

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