Pierre, South Dakota (PRWEB) February 1, 2009
If South Dakota's state lawmakers realized they would be laying waste to their state's already rickety economy by tightening the smoking ban currently in place, they would never even consider such an action.
That's the opinion of Deadwood, South Dakota tobacconists John and Vaughn Boyd. The husband and wife team own and operate the Deadwood Tobacco Company and Cigar Bar. They are members of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association that represents more than 2,000 small business owners, mostly mom-and-pop cigar store owners like the Boyds, and premium cigar manufacturers.
"There is no doubt that most of the two million tourists we get in Deadwood every year would find someplace else to go if they couldn't smoke in our casinos," said John Boyd. "We have some 1,300 residents in this town and most of them work in those casinos or in businesses that depend on them. All of these jobs would be at stake with any significant downturn in casino business as would tens of millions of dollars in state and federal payroll, sales and other tax revenues."
Boyd pointed to North Sioux City casinos which have enjoyed increased business since Iowa adopted its smoking ban. Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics included in a report by the Federal Reserve Bank found statistically significant employment declines resulting from smoking bans, especially in bars and restaurants.
"The argument that a tighter smoking ban would better protect children from secondhand smoke is ludicrous because children aren't even allowed in casinos, smoke shops and cigar bars," said Boyd.
At the same time, Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR, questioned the quality of claims being made by anti-tobacco forces regarding secondhand smoke. McCalla said smoking bans such as South Dakota's are usually based on false or misleading information about secondhand smoke.
"Read the Surgeon General's report and not just the biased comments and summaries of the report and you will see that it is filled with what it calls 'inconclusive evidence' regarding secondhand smoke," said McCalla.
"In fact, 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. And air quality testing conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory confirms that levels of secondhand smoke in most bars and restaurants are well within limits established by OSHA," he said.
tony (at) tortoricipr (dot) com
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