Tobacconists Warn Bloomberg Again About Extending Smoking Ban

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The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association today warned Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg – again – about his desire to extend New York City’s smoking ban to include the city’s parks and beaches. The IPCPR first blew the whistle on the mayor’s intentions back in July, 2010 when it issued its first news release on the subject.

because people take their cigarette butts and the packages and just throw them away.

The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association today warned Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg – again – about his desire to extend New York City’s smoking ban to include the city’s parks and beaches. The IPCPR first blew the whistle on the mayor’s intentions back in July, 2010 when it issued its first news release on the subject.

Actually, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, New York City’s health commissioner, proposed the broad-reaching ban in 2009. At the time the mayor said he would consider it. Now, the proposal has his full support, has been introduced to the city council and, if passed, would affect more than 1,700 parks, playground and recreational facilities, in addition to the city’s seven beaches and 14 miles of shoreline.

“We’re against legislated smoking bans of any kind,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director for the IPCPR, “and so should everyone else, because they take away fundamental rights of citizens everywhere. In public places like these, common courtesy should prevail, not heavy-handed, misguided legislation.”

According to published articles, one of the reasons the mayor is quoted as supporting the proposal is “because people take their cigarette butts and the packages and just throw them away.”

“There already are littering laws that take care of that concern. Enforce the laws already on the books before you create meaningless and damaging new ones,” McCalla said.

The IPCPR is comprised of some 2,000 members, including owners of retail cigar stores and manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars and related accoutrements.

“Our members are small businesses, mostly mom-and-pop operations that employ thousands of people. We pay local, state, federal and payroll taxes. Our customers enjoy premium cigars like most people enjoy fine wine. The more you limit the places they can enjoy a good cigar, the quicker you put us out of business and eliminate all those jobs and the taxes they generate,” McCalla said.

McCalla cited a Federal Reserve study that showed how smoking bans have proven to be economic dampeners.

“An Illinois smoking ban in casinos saw a decline in casino revenues of 21 percent while neighboring state casinos – all without smoking bans – had revenues stay flat or make slight gains even during a slowing economy,” he said.

“The myths surrounding secondhand smoke – especially in an outdoor environment - have played on the ignorance and gullibility of the public. Even the Surgeon General’s report says the health effects of secondhand smoke are inconclusive. And that was indoors” he said, “where OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration - has set safe levels of secondhand smoke at up to 25,000 times that which is found in the average bar or restaurant! “

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Tony Tortorici
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