Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Media Makes Up Your Mind For You On The PA Smoking Ban

I just read this article from the Tri-State Observer, some dishrag yellow paper published in Pennsylvania. What happened to objectivism in journalism? I think this writer is a little too excited about the fact that 30% of the population of his state just had their constitutional rights spat upon. First of all, there's the title of the page, "It's a Fact! Pennsylvania's New Clean Indoor Air Act" Is an exclamation point necessary here? Really? This person is way too excited before the story even starts.

The first sentence of the article is what I find the most highly objectionable though: "... making Pennsylvania the 33rd state to lawfully protect the public and hospitality workers from secondhand smoke exposure." I would have written this a little differently. How about " ... making Pennsylvania the 33rd state to hide behind a flawed state-level legislative system to illegally rescind the rights of 1/3 of all its citizens to enjoy a legal hobby". See how my I write it with one slant, and the journalist writes it with another? That's called bias, and subjectivism, and just like this writer, it has no place in modern ethical journalism!

I don't want to start a tirade about the appalling lack of journalistic integrity in our media, but come on, this is just piss poor writing. And what about the "quote" they got later on - "The Pike County Tobacco-Free Coalition asked several local restaurateurs how they feel about the smoke-free legislation. The response was unanimously welcoming." Really? What did you do, ask two people who work in the restaurant next door who don't smoke? You're telling me every restaurateur in your area loves it when the state passes a law telling them how to run their business? And did you really use an effective sampling technique when you took that poll? Lazy, sloppy, and disgusting journalism.

I would love to see this paper write about life before the civil rights movement, back when the gov't took rights away from black people, before they targeted smokers. "It's a fact! Negroes ain't welcome here anymore! Pennsylvania is the 33rd state to protect white people from the dangers of bad, nasty, scary black people." That is pretty much the same article they just wrote about us smokers. And you thought it couldn't happen in America?

Article repeated from the Source in case they pull it:

PIKE COUNTY, PA - Governor Ed. Rendell has signed a statewide smoking ban, making Pennsylvania the 33rd state to lawfully protect the public and hospitality workers from secondhand smoke exposure. The smoking ban covers restaurants, office buildings, theaters, arenas, sports facilities, mass transportation, and more.

The Clean Indoor Air Act allows for some conditional exemptions including bars when annual sales of food is equal to or less than 20% of combined gross sales, and a percentage of casino gaming floors.

Governor Rendell advocated such a ban as a way to cut health care costs. In June 2006, the Surgeon General released a report o­n the health consequences of exposure to second-hand smoke, stating that involuntary exposure is a serious public health hazard that can be prevented by making public places completely smoke-free. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes several forms of cancer. Tests have also shown this form of smoke to be particularly dangerous to children.

The Pike County Tobacco-Free Coalition asked several local restaurateurs how they feel about the smoke-free legislation. The response was unanimously welcoming.

The smoking ban will take effect 90 days from the June 13, 2008 signing, with fines for violators ranging from $250 to $1000

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Iowa Lawmaker Says Smoking ban rules overstep legislative intent

From Des Moines, Iowa:

The state’s proposed rules to regulate a statewide smoking ban treats hundreds of bars as restaurants, which means customers won’t be able to smoke in outdoor patio areas, some business owners and a few legislators said today.

"In my mind and in the minds of just about every single legislator I’ve talked with in the past week – and that’s about 20 or so – this is an absolute perversion of the legislative intent. Period," said Rep. McKinley Bailey, a Webster City Democrat.

The state's administrative rules are intended to help clarify and implement laws and spell out details of enforcement. The Legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee discussed the proposed rules for the smoking ban today.

The Legislature this year approved a ban on smoking in almost all public places, including bars and restaurants, effective July 1. One provision in the law allows bar owners to permit smoking in their outdoor patio areas but prohibits restaurants from allowing outdoor smoking.

The rules, also effective July 1, say that bar food is limited to ice, pre-packaged snacks, popcorn, peanuts and the reheating of commercially prepared foods that do not require assembly, such as frozen pizza.

Under that definition, bars that have a grill and serve a burger, for example, would be considered a restaurant.

The draft rules were recommended by the Iowa Department of Public Health, along with a number of other state agencies, including the attorney general's office and the Department of Inspections and Appeals.

"This is a clear case where a state agency is going beyond the scope of the intended legislation," said Tom Baldwin, owner of Drink, a Clive bar.

Roughly 3 percent of Drink’s sales are from food. But because of the proposed rules, the facility would be considered a restaurant for the purposes of enforcement of the statewide smoking ban, he told the rules committee today.

The Iowa Board of Health is expected to vote on the rules at 2 p.m. today The rules are likely to be put into place by July 1 even though a public comment period will continue through Aug. 6, said Don McCormick, a spokesman for the Department of Public Health.

State officials involved in the rules committee could revise them as a result of public input, even after the July 1 start date, he said.

More information on Iowa Anti-Smoking Laws:

RULES: The rules, including information about the rule-making process and how to send state officials a comment about the law, can be found at

Smoking ban details

PLACES WHERE SMOKING IS BANNED: Bars; restaurants; restaurants' outdoor seating areas; financial institutions; public and private educational facilities; health care provider locations; laundries; schools; public transportation facilities, including buses and taxicabs, and the ticketing, boarding and waiting areas of these facilities; reception areas; aquariums, galleries, libraries and museums; retail food production and marketing establishments; service establishments; retail stores; shopping malls; entertainment venues, including theaters, concert halls, auditoriums and other similar facilities or sports arenas; polling places; convention facilities and meeting rooms; waiting rooms; public buildings and places of public assembly owned, leased or operated by the state; private residences when used as child care facilities or health care provider locations; and child care facilities.

PLACES WHERE SMOKING IS ALLOWED: Outdoor areas of bars; veterans organizations, except at functions where the general public is invited; farm tractors and trucks; fairgrounds; designated areas of National Guard facilities; designated areas of correctional facilities; areas of casino gambling; some hotels; tobacco stores; semiprivate rooms in long-term-care facilities; many outdoor areas that are places of employment; most limousine services; and homes, except those used as child care facilities.

Smoking ban enforcement

FINES: A person caught smoking in a banned area is subject to a $50 fine. Employers or caretakers of public places who fail to enforce the law are subject to a $100 fine for the first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for other violations within one year.

EMPLOYERS: An employer who fires, refuses to employ a worker, or retaliates against an employee who complains about a violation is subject to fines of $2,000 to $10,000.

SIGNS: The proposed rules outline the responsibilities of property owners or government officials to post no-smoking signs.

COMPLAINTS: The state's health department designates each law enforcement department in the state to help with enforcement. A toll-free number will be set up for people to complain about violators. Complaints may also be filed with state officials online at

RULES: Once legislation is signed by the governor it becomes part of the Iowa Code. Some laws require or authorize a state government agency to adopt administrative rules, which are the regulations the agency uses to implement the law.

EXPEDITED: The state's standard rule-making process takes at least 108 days and frequently lasts six months or longer. Because the smoking ban was signed into law by Gov. Chet Culver on April 15 and takes effect July 1, state officials are using an emergency rule-making process.

HEARINGS: The process involves public hearings and public comment periods. State health officials will hold at least five public meetings throughout the state. The public may comment now through Aug. 6. The dates of the public meetings will be posted online at

PUBLIC: Even though the rules may be adopted, public comments made before the Aug. 6 deadline will be considered and could play a part in revisions to the rules. Revisions would probably be made in October.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bar in Ohio Continues Last Fight for Freedom in America

The owner of Zeno’s Victorian Village, 384 W. Third Ave, a bar in Columbus, Ohio is still fighting to stop the smoking ban. They will be the first bar to challenge the right of the city to enforce the statewide smoking ban at a hearing Wednesday.

From the news story:

Zeno’s first encounter with the city came early on, with an investigation that started a year ago this month and resulted in a warning letter sent in late July. In October, the establishment was fined $100. That fine was paid.

In early December, the city fined Zeno’s $1,000. That’s double the base level for a second fine. The law allows the city to double the fine when inspectors believe the violations are “ intentional,” said John Richter, supervisor for Columbus’ smoke-free program.

The business has not paid that fine and instead requested the administrative hearing to take place Wednesday. A hearing officer will make recommendations to the Board of Health, which will take up the matter at its next meeting.

In the meantime, city started a fourth investigation in March, resulting in yet another fine, this time for $2,000, Richter said.

Each investigation was prompted by a complaint called into the city.

Dick Allen, owner of Zeno’s, could not be reached.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hackers target pro choice websites

Looks like the anti-smokers are at it again. Long time members of will remember when this site was hacked 2 years ago by some non-smoking zealots, and the site was down for a while. Couldn't stop me for long! We were back up within hours. Looks like they're going after a few groups in the UK now, just rec'd this press release:

The websites of two prominent pro choice organisations campaigning against smoking bans were yesterday targeted by hackers in a "pharming" incident that redirected traffic to the NHS Smokefree website. The DNS poisoning, a high level and sophisticated hacking technique, affected all UK based internet service providers.

Andy Davis, Vice Chairman of Freedom to Choose, one of the affected websites, says: "It appears that Freedom To Choose has annoyed someone high up, it seems they don't want the truth to get out."

Stephanie Stahl, President of Forces International, claims: "To re-direct our UK visitors to an anti-smoking website shows that the antismoking movement must be very nervous about the information our pro-freedom groups provide. Domain names are sacred on the free-spirited information super highway; we trust that those responsible for this serious violation will be identified and held accountable. "

Both groups campaign against government interference in private life and property, maintaining that blanket smoking bans are based on fraudulent scientific claims about passive smoking. According to Andy Davis: "5 out of 6 studies show second hand smoke to be entirely harmless. In the UK the ban is needlessly devastating the hospitality and entertainment industries, yet modern air filtration can remove 99.97% of airborne particles and make indoor air cleaner than outdoor, regardless of smoking."

The hacking incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and is under investigation. In the meantime, both and have restored normal service.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Smoking Ban Increases Accidents 12 Percent

Ban on smoking causes crashes - study

A ban on smoking in American bars has increased the number of accidents apparently caused by drinking and driving.

US jurisdictions with a smoking ban have seen, on average, a nearly 12 percent rise in the number of drink-related accidents at the wheel, researchers say in a paper published in the Journal of Public Economics.

It's based on data from 2000 to 2005, drawn from counties that enforced a ban on smoking in bars during this period and from accident statistics before and after the ban was introduced.

Researchers found that instead of heading to their local bar for a drink and a puff, smokers ventured farther afield in search of a place where lighting up is still allowed

They may not be drinking more than before but they are certainly driving more - and that's what is increasing the risk of a crash.

The study said: "Banning smoking in bars increases the fatal accident risk posed by drunk drivers.

"Our evidence is consistent with two mechanisms -- smokers searching for alternative locations to drink within a locality and smokers driving to nearby jurisdictions that allow smoking in bars."

According figures cited in the report, nearly a one-third of the US population lives in cities, counties or states where there are restrictions on smoking in bars.

Study authors Scott Adams and Chad Cotti of the University of Wisconsin say the increase in drunk driving has to be weighed against "potential positive health impacts" from smoking bans, and this may take years to determine. - Sapa-AFP


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wisconsin Statewide Smoking Ban Snuffed Out in Legislature

WISCONSIN - Hopes for a statewide smoking ban are once again on hold. The Assembly ended its session Wednesday without giving the bill a vote, which means the debate is likely over until 2009.

Appleton's working smoking ban won't be going statewide after lawmakers failed to cast a vote on an issue that's been divisive, especially among bar and restaurant owners.

"I'm disappointed. I think for everybody across the street, on a fairness question, it would be nice to see it on a level playing field," Mark Dougherty of Mark's East Side Restaurant said.

Dougherty supports a statewide ban. He says the local smoking ban has brought in more business to his restaurant.

Still, others say if a tavern doesn't sell food the losses are there.

"I don't think just because I'm hurting my neighbor in another community needs to be hurting also. There has to be some sort of compromise," Brian Striegel of Camelot Bar said

The Wisconsin Tavern League fought for a phase-in period of up to three years for bars. Others felt there should be exemptions for ventilation systems or rooms open only to smokers.

Still, one lawmaker isn't giving up. Representative Steve Wieckert plans to bring back the smoking ban bill next January.

"The bill has to start from ground zero, so to speak, next year," Wieckert said. "It has to be introduced, but we can say it has the support of both committees previous session."

With bans already in Minnesota and Illinois, it's an issue eventually state lawmakers will have to vote on.

"They're just standing in the way of progress here. I think they should take it on instead of putting it off. Wisconsin should lead it a little more," Dougherty expressed.

Article Source

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Smoking Ban Proposed For Renters

Proposed Legislation To Prevent Renters From Smoking In Apartments

March 3, 2008

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA — A new smoking ban is in the works that could make it illegal to smoke in your own apartment.

New legislation is being proposed by democratic senator Alex Padilla of Van Nuys that would allow, not require landlords to ban smoking inside their rental units.

The Rental Association of Sacramento Valley supports the legislation and has already mailed out thousands of informational leaflets to apartment complexes in the Sacramento area.

Cory Koehler Deputy Director of the Renters Housing Association discussed benefits of the legislation, " there's the reduced costs, reduced cleaning cost, reduction of fire danger to the property and really a healthy living environment for other residents."

Some renters like Enrique Rojas disagree with the proposed legislation, " that law doesn't make any sense at this point, I understand bars maybe they should ban it in bars but not in your own apartment. I don't believe that's right."

The smoke-free housing bill has been read in the committee and unlike similar bills that have been proposed in the past, housing experts say this has a better chance of passing because it is not mandated and up to each landlord to ban smoking or not.