And customers can decide for themselves if they want to patronize a place that does or does not allow smoking on the premises. I think people are getting fed up with government telling them what they can and cannot do
Indianapolis, IN (Vocus) March 7, 2010
Rep. Charlie Brown just doesn’t get it. Legislated smoking bans are not only unnecessary, they are an affront to the personal rights of smokers and non-smokers, alike, and they cost tax revenues and jobs and result in more failed businesses, says the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
Brown keeps introducing bills like a current amendment to Senate Bill 175 that bans smoking in all public places except casinos and horse tracks. He has been voted down repeatedly in the past without serious consideration. This time, the bill – complete with Brown’s amendment - is headed for debate in a conference committee hearing scheduled for next week.
Chris McCalla, legislative director for the IPCPR, called Brown “misguided and misinformed.”
“Rep. Brown is wrong when he says there is a ‘dire need’ to protect Indiana’s citizens from secondhand smoke. Study after study exists that prove secondhand smoke is not harmful. Even the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says so. OSHA has established safe levels for secondhand smoke that are 25,000 times safer than air quality in most bars and restaurants,” said McCalla.
McCalla said it is the right of every business owner to declare their businesses smoke-free or not.
“It is not up to government to make that decision,” he declared. “And customers can decide for themselves if they want to patronize a place that does or does not allow smoking on the premises. I think people are getting fed up with government telling them what they can and cannot do,” McCalla said.
In response to Brown’s claims that smoking bans do not hurt revenue at bars and restaurants, 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 due to lost revenues,” he said.
McCalla also said a smoking ban that includes cigar stores, smoke shops and cigar bars would have a ruinous effect on those family-owned neighborhood businesses.
“Twenty-six percent of Hoosier adults smoke,” said McCalla. “That may not be a majority of Indiana voters, but it’s more than enough to make a difference come election time. Legislators need to remember that.”