We do not represent ‘big tobacco.’ Our members have every right to sell their legal products to adults and their customers should have every right to enjoy those products on premise and off where permitted by business owners, not by legislated decrees. The legislature should be spending their time creating jobs, not sacrificing them to special interest groups
St. Louis, MO (Vocus) February 28, 2010
With Missouri’s unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent, the state’s legislators have taken their eyes off job creation as a priority and are pandering to powerful neo-prohibitionists and anti-tobacco interests instead, said the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
Statewide smoking bans have been proposed in the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives that would prohibit smoking in restaurant, bars, shopping malls, gambling facilities and other public places. The House bill was crafted by the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society, two organizations that receive millions of dollars from companies that produce nicotine replacement products.
“Jobs are lost and businesses suffer as a result of legislated smoking bans, and a statewide ban would further add to Missouri’s labor miseries,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.
McCalla cited the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis regarding the proven negative effects on businesses from legislated smoking bans.
“The Fed has found that, based on impartial data generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, significant employment declines result from forced smoking bans, especially in bars and restaurants,” he said.
“The marketplace is deciding what businesses should allow smoking or not, and that’s the way it should be. Government shouldn’t be taking away the rights of business owners to run their enterprises as the market dictates, not big government. There are plenty of restaurants and other businesses that already have declared themselves smoke-free, so there’s no need to take away the rights of other business owners by forcing them to ban smoking on their premises,” McCalla said.
“For those questioning overstated claims regarding the health aspects of incidental secondhand smoke, I would refer them to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA has set acceptable levels for secondhand smoke up to 25,000 safer than normally found in restaurants and bars,” he added.
McCalla explained that the IPCPR is a group of some 2,000 retailers, manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars, pipes and related items, most of whom are mom-and-pop operators – small business owners whose neighborhood businesses serve their respective communities.
“We do not represent ‘big tobacco.’ Our members have every right to sell their legal products to adults and their customers should have every right to enjoy those products on premise and off where permitted by business owners, not by legislated decrees. The legislature should be spending their time creating jobs, not sacrificing them to special interest groups,” McCalla said.