Premium Tobacco Retailers Say Proposed Macon Smoking Ban Puts Jobs, Businesses at Risk

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Loss of jobs and personal rights under an ever growing Big Brother nanny state are what some members of Macon's City Council are promoting, according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers.

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Loss of jobs and personal rights under an ever growing Big Brother nanny state are what some members of Macon’s City Council are promoting with their continuing push to make Macon smoke-free, according to the Georgia Premium Retail Tobacconists Association and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

Both of the Georgia-based associations of premium tobacco retailers have warned the Macon City Council that the ordinance it is considering to restrict smoking in bars and restaurants would be putting local jobs and small businesses at risk for no valid reason.

“We are against all legislative smoking bans and in favor of business owners’ rights to determine the smoking policy in their establishments. This is no time to be putting jobs and small businesses at risk,” said Bill Spann, chief executive officer of the Columbus, Georgia-based IPCPR.

Jim Luftman, president of the Atlanta-based GPRTA, agrees.

“Business owners have the right to declare whether or not smoking would be allowed on the premises just as customers have the right to patronize them or not. Legislated smoking bans take away those rights from both groups,” Luftman said.

Spann supported his position with data showing loss of business due to legislated smoking bans.

“No less authority than the Federal Reserve Bank, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is on record showing that smoking bans cost jobs and hurt businesses while putting them at a disadvantage to other competing businesses in surrounding areas,” said Spann.

“When government takes away from restaurant and other business owners their right to decide how to run their businesses, it is exceeding its authority and acting unconstitutionally. It is attacking the rights of smokers and non-smokers, alike,” he added. “And it’s all so unnecessary.

“Safe levels of secondhand smoke have been set by OSHA - the Occupational Safety and Health Administration - and they are 25,000 times safer than the air quality levels normally found in bars and restaurants that allow smoking,” he said.

According to Spann, many of the IPCPR’s retail members sell their premium tobacco products to restaurants and bars who, in turn, sell them to their customers.

“To legislatively ban smoking in Macon restaurants and bars will severely reduce these sales which will translate into reduced excise, sales, and income tax revenues for Macon and the state of Georgia,” he said.

Spann and Luftman urged all Macon residents to contact their council representatives and ask them to vote against the unnecessary smoking ban.

Tony Tortorici


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