Premium Cigar Association Says Orange County Smoking Ban May Be Illegal

Apparently without any public hearings or prior publicity, Orange County Mayor Richard T. Crotty secretly signed an executive order late last year that has kept tens of millions of dollars from pouring into the local economy. At the same time, the jobs of thousands of county workers are being threatened, according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

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Orlando, Florida (PRWEB) May 28, 2010

Apparently without any public hearings or prior publicity, Orange County Mayor Richard T. Crotty secretly signed an executive order late last year that has kept tens of millions of dollars from pouring into the local economy. At the same time, the jobs of thousands of county workers are being threatened, according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

Crotty signed an executive order that prohibits tobacco use by anyone in any workplace or public area on or in county property. The order was effective January 1, 2010. In addition, county employees are required to sign a ‘Tobacco Usage’ affidavit that swears they don’t smoke or be subject to a $25 fee per pay period – up to $650 per year. The alternative is for the employees who choose to smoke more than four cigars per year to quit their jobs.

“This is an outrageous misuse of power and should be overturned as soon as possible. It goes way beyond the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act and may well be illegal because of that. Smokers and non-smokers alike should demand that the order be rescinded and that their politicians stop telling them how to live their lives,” said Jeff Borysiewicz, owner of Corona Cigar Company in Orlando, Florida and Board member of the IPCPR.

He pointed out that tourists and local citizens alike can’t smoke or use any tobacco product on county property – indoors or outdoors.

“That includes the Convention Center, county-owned sidewalks, parking lots, streets, public parks, boat ramps and docks and other county buildings, indoors or out,” said Borysiewicz who has been working to bring the IPCPR convention to Orlando but has hit a brick wall with the mayor’s draconian smoking ban.

“This convention alone attracts some 5,000 attendees and generates an estimated $10 million in economic impact wherever it is held. Imagine how many other conventions, meetings, visitors and tourists are deterred from coming to Orlando or any of the cities in Orange County because of this extreme ban,” he said.

The IPCPR has more than 2,000 members worldwide, nearly 300 of which are located throughout the state of Florida. Most of the members are owners of mom-and-pop neighborhood cigar stores.

“The Mayor apparently has a cozy relationship with well-funded anti-smoking organizations when it comes to allowing people to use legal tobacco products that generate massive amounts of taxes that benefit state and federal government programs like children’s healthcare. Ironically, soon after he signed the order, Orlando County received nearly $7 million in federal stimulus funds that went to the county health department to prevent tobacco usage instead of being used to create jobs,” he added.

Borysiewicz urged all Orange County residents to show their opposition to this executive order by calling, writing or sending emails to County Mayor Crotty and Commissioners S. Scott Boyd, Fred Brummer, Linda Stewart, Bill Segal and Tiffany Moore Russell.

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