St. Louis, MO (PRWEB) February 15, 2009
The 'Show-Me' state is showing it won't be pressured by anti-smoking activists into legislating unnecessary smoking bans, according to the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association.
While some city, county and state legislators may be revisiting the possibility of new smoking bans in Missouri, smokers and non-smokers alike have been voicing their opposition to forced smoking bans, especially in places where children are not allowed or adults have an option to go elsewhere.
"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" said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.
McCalla cited a 2007 survey by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that showed only 13 percent of the state's adults avoided restaurants where smoking is allowed.
"That means there are plenty of restaurants 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," he said.
When anti-tobacco activists make overstated claims regarding the health aspects of incidental secondhand smoke, McCalla points to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as well as the Surgeon General.
"OSHA - our federal government's watchdog agency over the health and safety of workers - puts the alleged health aspects of incidental secondhand smoke into perspective when it sets safe limits well outside of the range one would find in a typical bar or restaurant, for example" McCalla said. "And the Surgeon General's report says more than 100 times that evidence of the health aspects of incidental secondhand smoke is 'inconclusive.'"
McCalla cited the Federal Reserve Bank and the Bureau of Labor Statistics 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.
McCalla explained his group's interest in issues dealing with legislated smoking bans.
"The IPCPR is a group of some 2,000 retailers, manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars, pipes and related items. Most of them are mom-and-pop operators - small business owners whose neighborhood businesses serve their respective communities. They have every right to sell their legal products and to allow their customers to enjoy those products on premise and off," McCalla said.