IPCPR Says North Carolina Legislators Unaware of OSHA Position on Secondhand Smoke

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North Carolina legislators supporting a proposed statewide smoking ban may not be aware that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration has established safe levels for secondhand smoke in the workplace and that business, jobs and tax revenues are in jeopardy with such a proposal, according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

North Carolina legislators supporting a proposed statewide smoking ban may not be aware that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration has established safe levels for secondhand smoke in the workplace, according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

State Representative Hugh Holliman of Davidson County and others are backing a measure currently under review in committee that would prohibit smoking in virtually all businesses, including restaurants and bars, private clubs, public places and indoor work sites. According to media reports, Holliman has said 'the health dangers from secondhand smoke can no longer be ignored, even in a state rich in tobacco heritage.'

Craig Cass, a member of the Board of Directors of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association and partner in four Tinder Box cigar stores in Charlotte, NC suggests that Holliman and others may not be aware of OSHA's position on secondhand smoke.

"OSHA has established safe levels for secondhand smoke that are well above levels found in restaurants and bars - even cigar bars. In fact, these levels are up to 25,000 times safer than the OSHA standards according to tests conducted by The American Cancer Society and other independent organizations," Cass said.

Cass suggested that the OSHA-declared safe standards resulted from the Surgeon General's report of 2006 which concluded more than 100 times that, contrary to the publicity generated by anti-tobacco forces, the results of its tests were 'insufficient' to determine the health aspects of secondhand smoke. Cass also referred to a large-scale study conducted by the World Health Organization that concluded its results were consistent with there being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker.

"Not only are Rep. Holliman and others disagreeing with OSHA, the U.S. Surgeon General and WHO, they are also disagreeing with our founding fathers who wrote the United States Constitution which lays out property rights that allow business owners to decide whether or not to allow smoking on their premises. Many business owners have already decided to go smoke-free. That's their right and that's the way it should be. That's why legislated smoking bans are anti-constitutional, anti-business, and anti-jobs," said Cass.

Cass cited the Federal Reserve Bank and the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the proven negative effects on businesses from legislated smoking bans.

"Based on impartial data generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Fed has found that significant employment declines result from forced smoking bans, especially in bars and restaurants," he said. "That means businesses die, workers lose their jobs and the state and nation lose federal, state and local tax revenues."

Cass explained that "The IPCPR is a group of some 2,000 retailers, manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars, pipes and related items. Most of them are mom-and-pop operators - small business owners whose neighborhood businesses serve their respective communities. Their customers enjoy the pleasures of a premium cigar just as many people savor fine wines. Our members have every right to sell these legal products and to allow their adult customers to enjoy those products on premise and off," Cass said.

Contact:
Tony Tortorici
678/493-0313

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