Saturday, June 30, 2007

UK Smoking ban ignites anger

Every one of us in America can take a lesson in what it means to live in a free country from England - they are fighting the government smoking ban there with a passion.

What happened to America? Why aren't more people standing up to fight these control freaks and zealots who enact smoking bans against us?

From England's The Sun paper:

UK -- CAMPAIGNERS for the right to smoke today launched a High Court challenge over the Government's smoking ban.

The ban, which comes into effect on Sunday, applies to almost all enclosed public places including offices, factories, pubs and bars, but not outdoors or in private homes.

The pressure group Freedom2Choose lodged papers at the Royal Courts of Justice in London as they began their campaign for a judicial review.

A judge will now decide whether there is an "arguable case" raising genuine issues of law that should go to a full hearing.

Bob Feal-Martinez, for Freedom2Choose, said the case raised "questions of personal liberty" and highlighted the dangers of "a democracy becoming a dictatorship".

He said: "We are seeing the erosion of the personal liberty in this country people like my father and grandfather fought to achieve.

"Next on the agenda is alcohol, closely followed by food.

"If people don’t stand up for their rights and against governmental intereference, we will get a dictatorship, not democracy."

The Freedom2Choose legal challenge is based on the argument that the new smoking ban violates human rights laws.

And campaigners were not the only ones to lash out at the ban - a billionaire nightclub owner vowed to flout the new rules.

Dave West, who owns the Abracadabra restaurant and HeyJo erotic-themed club in central London, said he would allow people to smoke freely.

He has hired Cherie Blair to challenge the ban and advise on how it could breach the human rights of staff and guests at his club and restaurant.

Mr West, 63, fears the new legislation will force him to close.

He said today: "It will be business as usual at my exclusive restaurant and nightclub and with the backing of Cherie Booth QC in the High Court of Justice and the European Court, everyone - including the press - can smoke as usual, and when the old bill comes in I’ll pay everyone’s fine.

"And not just for the first day, but until hell freezes over.

"When the police come in, as they will, we shall puff in their faces, show them the writ with Cherie’s name on it and tell them to come back another time."

Smoker's Rights Forum

Friday, June 29, 2007

Smoking Ban Is Misguided Fascism

This letter to the editor from a New Mexico newspaper is interesting because it comes from a non-smoker. There are plenty of non-smokers, just like him, who want to see smoking bans lifted or revised to be made fair, which would allow individual business owners to decide if their establishment should allow smoking or not.

We still know second-hand smoke is not harmful, and does not cause cancer (based on the recent World Health Organization study), but I would be willing to concede that if a business owner did not want me to smoke in their restaurant or bar, then I would not. Conversely, everyone must agree that if a bar owner decides to make his pub allow smoking, than we must all respect his policy, and indeed his rights in a free society.

Letter to the Editor:

By John M. Jewett, Socorro
special to Mountain Mail

SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) -- This is my second letter to the editor regarding the smoking ban and will contain a few excerpts from my previous letter.

I would again like to make it clear that this smoking ban does not affect me at all. Nonetheless, what does affect me and many others is the method of legislation that was employed in passing this law.

I am a World War II veteran and I take exception to this law. I find it hard to believe that any small group of lawmakers in this country today can have the power to enact a law that so severely controls the masses without referendum.

It is my feeling that this smoking ban was passed by a wimpy legislature that bowed to a dictatorial governor with no regard for the U.S. constitution and without input from the constituency. This in turn destroyed our freedom of choice. Our lawmakers have now enacted a stringent and oppressive law where one size fits all, except for private clubs, which is government control of business and industry. This is the definition of fascism. Fascism is, of course, one of the foundations of any dictatorship.

It should always be remembered that ever since the birth of our nation, wars were fought and paid for in blood to preserve our American democratic way of life and all of its freedoms.

I find this current policy of legislation in New Mexico to be scary, with a potentially dangerous trend for the future. The present subject of controversy, as everyone knows, is the smoking ban, but it could be any number of other subjects. If this new policy is allowed to prevail, we the people could be faced with more undesirable, regulatory laws that further the loss of freedom.

I am certain that this smoking ban was necessary when applied to public buildings; however private enterprise of any kind should not come into the picture. Owners of private businesses should be allowed to make their own decisions concerning smoking.

I am thoroughly convinced that a smoking ban law could be enacted that would be reasonably palatable for everyone. In essence, this recently-enacted smoking ban could be and should be revised to meet all of the people’s needs and not just for any one select group, and bring back our freedom of choice.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pub embassy dodges smoking ban

A pub landlord hopes to get round the new smoking ban by turning his premises into the official British embassy of a remote Caribbean island.
Bob Beech wants to turn The Wellington Arms in Freemantle, Southampton, into the UK base of the uninhabited Redonda.

It follows the pub already being granted status as a consulate of Redonda by the island's king and Mr Beech receiving a Redondan knighthood.

But his plans are likely to be thwarted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The landlord said: "We came up with the idea that this pub could become the British consulate for the Kingdom of Redonda - and the king thought it was a good idea.

"We had a ceremony for that and I was made a knight.

"Subsequent to that it was decided that we wanted to become an embassy. Our legal team are waiting to hear if that's possible.

"We intend to go ahead with the full benefits of an embassy."

Those benefits could include not having to enforce the smoking ban when it comes into force on Sunday 1 July.

The ruler of the tiny Atlantic island, King Robert the Bald, sent the island's official cardinal to grant consulate status on the pub.

Cardinal Elder, also a regular drinker at the pub, said: "If it works we won't have to enforce the smoking ban - I think it will good for the pub and the Kingdom of Redonda."

But a Foreign Office spokeswoman said that Redonda was a territory of Antigua and Barbuda and therefore was not entitled to an embassy or high commission in the UK.

Councillor Gavin Dick, of Southampton City Council, said environmental health officers would be advising Sir Bob of the legal position when the smoke free legislation is implemented.

He added: "If they are not granted embassy status, which requires formal accreditation by the Foreign Office, then they will be covered by the new law, which we will be enforcing."

Monday, June 25, 2007

England predicts Smoking Ban will cost businesses thousands

The ban on smoking in England goes into effect on July 1, and business owners are extremely angry:


BUSINESSES could face escalating costs as a result of the smoking ban that starts on July 1.

In particular, the pub trade is set to be hit hard as many landlords who have not already done so face the prospect of putting up smoking shelters or having to pay fines for not complying with legislation.

The warning comes from Blackburn-based law firm Napthens, which believes that on average pubs can expect to spend £10,000 on preparing for the ban while there are going to be cost implications for other businesses.

There are more than 730 pubs, restaurants and hotels in Blackburn, Hyndburn, Darwen and the Ribble Valley that will need to get ready for the ban or they could be hit with fines of hundreds, or even thousands of pounds.

However, Chamber of Trade chiefs have hit out at the claims and said that businesses in the area have been given plenty or warning time to get ready for the change in law.

Naomi Holt, a licensing expert at Napthens, said: "There are many costs that businesses will have to look at, from the legal costs of preparing for the ban to the possibility of having to build exterior shelters to cater for smokers.

"The regulations state that smoking will no longer be permitted inside any public building or work place or, in any structure that consists of a roof and walls which are less than 50 per cent permanently open, even if the structure is outside.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

West Virginia Business Owners Angered over Smoking Ban

From the Charleston Daily Mail:

WINFIELD - Putnam County's smoking ban generated lots of heat as a crowd of citizens commented on the policy during a public hearing.
The regulation that was tightened earlier this year bans smoking in all public buildings, including taverns, gaming centers and bars.

The Putnam County Board of Health called the special meeting after some business owners became upset over the results of the ban. About 75 people attended Tuesday night's meeting.

A meeting last month drew an overflow crowd of about 100 people to the health board's offices, where officials commented that the fire marshal probably wouldn't approve the cramped conditions.

So Tuesday night's meeting was moved to the Putnam County Courthouse.

"It was unorderly," board member Brac Brown said of the previous hearing. "What we wanted to do is give the citizens an opportunity to have their opinions heard."

Steve Scott, vice president of operations for Mimi's restaurants, which has 30 video lottery establishments in West Virginia, started by telling the board the smoking ban isn't working.

"We can pinpoint every dollar we've lost because of the smoking ban," he said.

Harold Arbaugh, owner of Lisa's in Teays Valley, agreed.

"Economically, we are losing to Kanawha County," Arbaugh said. "I can get in my car, drive 10 minutes and be comfortable."

Others in attendance said the ban was against their fundamental rights both as business owners and as citizens. Sharon Hammond, owner of Silkey's in Winfield, told the board that the regulations have gone too far.

"If you're going to take smoking out of the bars and out of the restaurants, why not take them off the shelves?" she said.

Linda Hodges of Hurricane chimed in.

"If you take them off the shelves, you will see a fight," Hodges said.

Hodges, who said she has family members affected by the ban, continued.

"You can't come into my home and tell me whether or not to smoke. It's my property. I pay taxes on it," she said. "They pay taxes on their businesses. They deserve the same rights."

Southern Pride Lounge owner Rod Campbell expressed the same concerns.

"I'm paying $1,700 a year, and it doesn't matter," Campbell said of his east Hurricane business. "You're going to tell me what to do with my business."

Much of the discussion centered on the same issues brought to the board in May, including that the smoking ban should not affect adult-only facilities. Several speakers also mentioned that they were not properly informed of the ban before it was put into place.

"We didn't even know this was going to happen," Hurricane resident Sally Holstead said. "We needed to know what we know now: that you people are trying to make decisions for us when you're not even elected officials."

"You're leaving the smokers with one option: replace you all from the governor down," said Hurricane citizen H.D. Raines.

The crowd erupted in applause and shouts following his statement.

Joe Haynes, the Putnam County Commission representative on the Board of Health, said he is certain that the board will bring the ban to a vote.

"The best thing that can come out of this is for us to sit back down, debate the issues and ultimately decide what's best for Putnam County residents," Haynes said.

He also said that the board has only a few options: to rescind it completely, amend it for adult establishments or give business owners the opportunity to decide for themselves.

"Predict what's going to happen? I wouldn't dream of it," he said.

Haynes also emphasized that the board was only concerned with the health of its citizens, and health issues would be significantly considered during the vote.

Sneekers Nightclub owner Bill Lanham told the board that no one in attendance was in favor of keeping the ban in place. When he asked if there were any ban supporters in the room, not a single hand was raised.

"West Virginia's supposed to be 'open for business,' not closing businesses," Lanham said.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Alfonso Larriva The Smokers Rights Hero Continues Fight

The Arizona Republic
Jun. 15, 2007 05:53 PM

The smoke will finally clear from four Phoenix bars where the owner was fighting the statewide smoking ban on a technicality.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Pendleton Gaines on Friday granted the state's request for a preliminary injunction to stop smoking at the bars owned by Alfonso Larriva.

Larriva, the first business owner to run afoul of the smoking ban that went into effect May 1, argued that windows converted into vents with louvered slats meant his bars were not technically "enclosed areas" and therefore smoking was allowed.

Gaines was not persuaded by the semantical argument, which focused primarily on the definition of "window" and "enclosed."

"It is an effort to defend the indefensible and explain the inexplicable," he said. "I don't think you can take the glass out of a window and make it something else."

In granting the injunction, Gaines said the state has a strong likelihood of winning further arguments if the case goes to trial. The state is seeking more than $100,000 in fines for dozens of smoking violations at Larriva's four bars - Metro Sportz Bar, Boomerang, Maverick Saloon and River City Pockets.

The state argued that every day that smoking continues at those bars, Larriva's competitors could lose business and the state loses credibility.

"We are losing confidence with the public that we have the ability and are effective and can get folks subject to the law complying with the law," said Will Humble, deputy assistant director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. Humble pointed out that Larriva had sent a letter to other bar owners suggesting ways that they, too, could get around the law.

Gaines, a smoker himself, said he agreed that there was a strong public interest in stopping smoking at the bars. Voters passed the law in November, he noted, and it doesn't really matter if everyone likes it or not.

"It may be that a lot of people think it is a dumb law," Gaines said, noting that there is a price to living in a democracy.

"You either believe in a democracy or you don't believe in a democracy, but the people have spoken," he said.

In defending himself, Larriva and his attorney, Douglas Erickson, offered engineering definitions of enclosed spaces and dwelled on how the slats on the openings meant they were no longer windows but vents. Larriva also testified that other state employees with the liquor department and gaming department agreed with him that the law was stupid and that he had found a loophole.

Larriva is the only business owner that has been cited since the law went into effect, though officials have received nearly 1,500 complaints about smoking violations. Humble said that the health department has received more than 50 complaints about Larriva's businesses.

After the hearing, Larriva said that he is weighing an appeal. He is also considering how he can further modify his bars to comply with the law, such as by putting in a large door that could open up a full wall of the building.

The injunction goes into effect when signed by the judge, which is expected within the next 10 days. In the meantime, Humble said health officials will continue to visit Larriva's bars to see if they are coming into compliance and continue to issue citations.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bloomington looks at reversing smoking ban

Illinois - Finally, some sense among the madness. The Bloomington city council wants to reverse their indoor smoking ban. The reason?

"I think it is an infringement of property owner rights to operate their businesses. We interfere with businesses enough without trying to legislate morals," said Alderman Allen Gibson.
[Cited Source]

That is what we have been saying at Smoking Lobby every since the first smoking ban came into effect!!

"Gibson said he would like to see business owners make decisions for their own property."

Why can't we make decisions for ourselves any more in this society? Why must everything which "is good for us" be legislated upon us? Can't we just make up our minds in what used to be a free society?!??

Smoker's Rights Forum

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Civil Disobedience: Guitarist Slash Lights Up

Some great news from a concert in Wales yesterday:

Rock guitarist Slash flouts the smoking ban

FORMER Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash proved he was far too rock and roll for Wales’ smoking ban – lighting up on stage in the capital last night.

While fans were told to go outside for a cigarette, Slash and frontman Scott Weiland chain-smoked their way through their hard-rock band Velvet Revolver’s set at Cardiff’s International Arena.

Flouting Wales’ ban on smoking in any enclosed space, which includes theatre stages, could mean the rock legends are now in line for a £50 fine each.

The CIA could face an even heftier fine of up to £2,500 for not stopping them smoking.

It is thought the American band’s breach of the ban is the first since Wales’ new legislation came into force on April 2.

The CIA was today unavailable for comment.

Cardiff council confirmed it would be investigating.

Velvet Revolver, which has three former Guns ‘n’ Roses members – English-born Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum – and Scott Weiland, the former lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, were playing in the city as part of their Re-Evolution tour.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Ohio Bar Owners Say Smoking Ban Is Snuffing Out Business

Matthew Borghese - AHN News Writer
Cincinnati, OH (AHN) - Bar owners in Ohio say a statewide ban on smoking in public places is bringing small businesses to the breaking-point. Owners of small bars, bowling alleys and other establishments say an exemption should be written in to help bring back customers.

A coalition of 300 bar owners will lobby the state government to install exceptions allowing places that receive no more than 10 percent of their revenue from food, such as bars and taverns, to allow smoking.

Patrick Carroll, president of the Buckeye Liquor Permit Holders Association explains, "Too many places are losing too much money. Some are on the verge of closing their doors." The group has collected almost 1,500 signatures pushing for an exemption for bars.

According to the Cincinnati Post, the group must collect 140,000 signatures to force the legislature to consider it. About 400,000 signatures would be needed to put the issue on the ballot if lawmakers refuse.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Ohio Smoking Ban Destroys Business

The numbers are coming in, and we are starting to see just what the smoking ban Nazis are doing to our free market society.

"Since Ohio’s smoking ban began being enforced, business is down about 20 percent at Martini & Nuzzi’s bar in Maumee, where owner Cheryl Jiannuzzi now spends time sweeping up cigarette butts from the sidewalk, and customers such as Jeff Husnick of Toledo and Chris Havermale of Perrysburg fume."

Complaints pile up since Ohio's smoking-ban enforcement began

Friday, June 1, 2007

Battle over Fort Wayne smoking ban moved to federal court

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) -- A lawsuit over a smoking ban to take effect in Fort Wayne Friday has been moved to federal court.

The move requested by city attorneys cancels a state court hearing scheduled for today where opponents hoped a judge would prevent the smoking ban from going into effect.

Nearly 20 Fort Wayne businesses are suing the city over the ban, saying the ordinance is too vague and too broad.

City attorneys say federal courts have jurisdiction because opponents say their constitutional rights are violated by the smoking ban. A hearing in federal court could be scheduled for today or tomorrow.

Fort Wayne's smoking ban would be one of the strictest in the state. It would bar smoking in almost all indoor city workplaces, including all bars, restaurants and bowling alleys.

(Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.)