Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Shoppers Boycott Smoking Ban In UK

Why can't more American smokers take after this kind of civil disobedience? If we could organize a few boycotts like these Brits are doing we could really have a voice. Note also, many non-smokers are with our cause, because they don't want to live in a fasict state of political correctness!

Shoppers are threatening to boycott a Preston mall amid anger at a smoking ban in its outdoor car park.

Fishergate centre bosses who banned smoking in the open-air car park say people caught lighting up will be banned from shopping there for six months and fined £50.

A string of readers – many non-smokers – have contacted the Lancashire Evening Post to say the measures were too heavy-handed and would discourage them from visiting the centre.

A poll on the LEP website also showed 68% of people thought an outdoor ban was a step too far.

Smoking has been illegal in public buildings and substantially-enclosed spaces like covered bus shelters since July 1.

The laws do not apply to open-air parking but Fishergate managers say they are entitled to enforce their own rules as it is a private car park.

Andrew McCann from Penwortham said the car park ban was political correctness gone mad.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Smokers Protest Higher Taxes

I saw a mailer that was sent out by Philip Morris the other day - they want to get smokers to write their legislators and protest the upcoming TAX increase. I suggest all smokers register here immediately:

Congress is proposing yet another tax on adult smokers. This time, it would raise the cost of cigarettes by $0.61 per pack.

Tell Congress enough is enough! Take action now. Fill out the registration form here to send your email to Congress today! Or call toll-free (866) 527-4494 to speak with your legislators.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

PA Senate rejects House version of statewide smoking ban

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A bill that would have barred smokers from lighting up in Pennsylvania's restaurants, bars and casinos stalled Monday as the state Senate overwhelmingly rejected the House's version of the measure, delaying final passage until at least the fall.

Senate Republican Leader Dominic Pileggi cited concerns about enforcement costs and a provision that would allow local governments to enact stricter local smoking ordinances among his reasons for urging defeat of the measure, which was rejected by a 36-13 vote.

"This is not an attempt to derail this bill," Pileggi, R-Delaware, said on the Senate floor. "It is only an attempt to work out the differences between the Senate and the House, which are significant."

Erik Arneson, a spokesman for Pileggi, said after the vote that a conference committee of House and Senate members would likely meet in the fall to try to resolve the dispute.

The House voted 141-62 to send its bill to the Senate after the fourth consecutive day of debate over how strict to make the smoking ban sought by Gov. Ed Rendell. The governor has included the ban in his "Prescription for Pennsylvania" initiative aimed at lowering the cost of health care, broadening its availability and improving its quality.

Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo had no immediate comment on the Senate vote.

Both House and Senate versions would ban smoking in most public places and workplaces, including arenas, stores, restaurants, and convention halls. But the Senate allowed full or partial exceptions for more establishments, including a quarter of casino gambling floors, bars where food is one-fifth or less of gross sales, addiction treatment centers and nursing homes and other adult-care centers.

Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, said the House had improved the Senate's version and urged his colleagues to support the House bill.

"If we (reject the bill) today, we're not going to deal with this bill for months, and it goes a long way to try and kill this bill," Greenleaf said.

Rep. Mike Gerber, D-Montgomery, who sponsored the House version, said a joint House-Senate committee might be needed to craft a bill that both chambers could support.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Elkhart Smoking Ban Debate to Begin

Another anti-smoking, anti-freedom activist "do-gooder" has decided to impose his will on an entire city in the latest facist experiment gone awry in America. This idiot, Richard Pedler, started the "Elkhart Clean Air Coalition" just so he could tell people where and when to smoke. But Richard Pedler better be careful - when you create a Facist state, you never know when they will come for you next ...

INDIANA - Elkhart Smoking Ban Debate to Begin

The "City with a Heart," is the latest to worry about your lungs.

Next week, the Elkhart City Council will hold a public hearing on a proposed ban on smoking in public places.

The hearing will take place on Tuesday, July 17th, at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

The council’s Health and Public Safety Committee will then reconvene on Wednesday the 18th for a possible vote on the measure.

If Elkhart is the next Indiana community to go smoke free, it apparently won’t go quietly.

"I'm not saying smoking is good for you,” says Al Usenick, the owner of the Franklin Street Tavern; “but it’s a choice that I should have the right to make.”

While bars have typically been exempt from smoking bans in other local communities, that doesn’t mean that will be the case in Elkhart.

"Its always puzzled me why people think that patrons of bars should be exposed to second hand smoke when patrons of restaurants shouldn't,” said Richard Pedler of the Elkhart Clean Air Coalition.

“Second hand smoke is second hand smoke. It doesn't matter who you are it will kill you, indiscriminately.”

On the other hand, there are some indications that Elkhart’s lack of a smoking ban has been good for the health of the economy.

"We had businesses that said they really noticed an up tick when St. Joseph County passed their ordinance,” said Kyle Hannon with the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce. “There were some up by the toll road that said yeah, that benefited them greatly."

The chamber doesn’t oppose the idea of a smoking ban, although it does object to the idea of bans being passed on a city by city basis.

“Our chamber has taken a position that if there is a smoking ordinance it needs to be county-wide or state-wide,” said Hannon.

The Elkhart Clean Air Coalition not only shares that concern, it hopes the passage of an Elkhart City ban would lead to consideration of a county-wide ban.

"Our coalition approached the county first,” said Pedler. “We approached them back in January."

Pedler said he was told that the county would only be interested if the cities were interested.

"And so I think the message is, the cities are interested,” Pedler concluded.

A final vote on the proposed Elkhart city smoking ban could come sometime in August.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

PA Smoking Ban to be Weakened

In a minor victory, the Pennsylvania Senate came to their senses and decided to drop the restrictive ban on smoking they were going to pass, and are moving towards a weaker smoking ban which allows more exceptions. Not nearly enough, of course.

HARRISBURG -- The state House yesterday changed tactics on legislation that would ban smoking in public places and workplaces, including offices, restaurants, taverns and casinos.

House members spent two hours Friday arguing about House Bill 1541, a restrictive bill offered by Rep. Michael Gerber, D-Montgomery. It allows for only limited exceptions where smoking would be allowed.

But yesterday, House members decided to shift their attention to Senate Bill 246, a weaker smoking ban that the Senate approved 10 days ago. The House could begin discussion of that bill as soon as tomorrow.

Yesterday, Mr. Gerber said he wants to make Senate Bill 246 tougher by going back to the original language offered by its sponsor, Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery. Both Mr. Gerber and Mr. Greenleaf want the legislation to permit smoking in only a few places, such as private clubs, retail tobacco shops, a portion of the rooms in a hotel or motel, and in private homes as long as the homes aren't used for day care.

Rep. Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne, however, plans to offer amendments to permit smoking in more places than that. "There is division in our [House Democratic] caucus over the bill," Mr. Gerber admitted.

Mr. Gerber's goal is to send a smoking-ban bill to Gov. Ed Rendell for signature before legislators leave for the summer. Mr. Rendell has insisted on banning smoking in most workplaces and public places as part of his Prescription for Pennsylvania, which also includes a push for health insurance for the 800,000 adults in the state who are not now covered.

Mr. Rendell said yesterday he hopes the bill that is sent to him for signature is tougher than the one the Senate approved. It permits smoking in private clubs (described as adults-only fraternal and social organizations); cigar bars, restaurants and taverns where food sales are less than 20 percent of the business; on 25 percent of a casino's gambling floor; and private rooms in nursing homes and treatment facilities.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Smoking Allowed even with Smoking Ban

Michigan bars may be able to allow smoking despite the state-wide smoking ban. The catch? They have to pay a fee ... it was always all about money ...

In an article from the MSU State News:

A pair of bills introduced to the state House of Representatives would let certain Michigan bars and restaurants to allow their customers to smoke, even if a state law banning smoking in public places is passed.
Introduced June 21, the bills would work in tandem with the proposed statewide smoking ban, requiring bars and restaurants that want to allow smoking to apply for a permit.

In its current form, the bill would require bars and restaurants to pay a $600 fee for the initial permit with a $500 renewal fee.

"We're listening to both sides of the debate," Rep. Steve Beida, D-Macomb said. "We're sensitive to the fact that there are some unique market niches."

The bills would significantly affect businesses which are marketed as smoking bars, such as hookah bars and cigar bars.

While there is a large tendency to lean toward the overall abolition of smoking in public places. Beida said an overall ban would be unfair to niche businesses that rely on smoking for a large portion of their revenue.

This feeling was echoed by Rep. Paul Condino, D-Oakland, who co-sponsored the smoking permit bills.

"I'm very supportive of the smoking ban," he said. "I don't see it as an alternative, I see it as a supplement."

Condino recognized the importance of smoking for certain businesses and said these bills would allow places like cigar and hookah bars to continue their livelihood.

A statewide ban on public smoking is a big concern for Donald McGrath, owner of Blue Midnight Hookah Lounge, 330 Albert Ave.

"The bill as it is written would put us out of business," McGrath said of the proposed public smoking ban.

The public health concern of being exposed to secondhand smoke is nonexistent for a business such as Blue Midnight, he said.

"In our situation, it doesn't apply," he said. "We don't have nonsmokers. We are, by definition, a smoking establishment. Smoking is our business."

According to 2006 data from the National Restaurant Association, 22 states have banned smoking in all public places. Seventeen states, including Michigan, have some restrictions, and 12 states have no bans or restrictions at all.

If the smoking ban bill and the smoking permit bills pass, Michigan will join Colorado, New York and New Jersey as states who have exemptions in place for certain businesses to allow smoking, even with a general smoking ban in public places.

While the specific concerns for niche smoking bars are addressed, Condino emphasized other establishments could also apply for the permit.

In order for a bar or restaurant to be granted the proposed permit, Condino wants to require a smoking section to be completely separated by a full wall, not a partition, which he said is inadequate.

"What we want to be able to do is prevent a situation that would appall me as a parent," he said, explaining his concern over his children being exposed to secondhand smoke in restaurants, where smoke creeps beyond the smoking section.

For smoking to be permitted in restaurants and bars that serve food, Condino said there "would have to be a separate structure."

The bills do not specify any requirements for bars or restaurants to be approved, nor do they say how long they last until they must be renewed.

The permit fee is up for debate as well.

Both Beida and Condino emphasized the debate on the smoking issue is still very much alive, and the smoking permit bills are still open to amendments as they move through the state Legislature.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Thousands defy smoking ban in mass protest

Thousands of smokers defied the introduction of the smoking ban across England yesterday by lighting up in pubs, claiming that the legislation was an infringement of civil liberties.

Councils, which have the power to fine smokers who light up inside work places, pubs or any public building, admitted that not a single fine was issued as they tried to implement the ban in a "softly, softly" way.

One pub defying the ban was the Dog Inn in Ewyas Harold, near Hereford, whose landlord is Tony Blows, part of the campaign group Freedom2Choose. He argued that as his pub was also his home he should be entitled to smoke anywhere within it.

"I'm doing it for the simple reason that this is my home. My wife and I work 200 hours a week in this pub. It's private property. There's no way they can stop us doing it," he said.

About 1,000 fellow publicans had also allowed their customers to light up yesterday, he claimed.

Mr Blows added that he would refuse to pay any fine, which can be up to £2,500 for publicans or other businesses that allow smoking on their premises. "I want my day in court. And I am prepared to go to prison, if needs be. At least I can smoke there."

There are about 1,200 council enforcement officers who will help police the ban, but few of them were on duty yesterday. A spokesman for the Local Government Association said only repeat offenders would be fined, and only after a warning.

He said: "Councils are taking a softly, softly approach to enforcing the ban as experience from Scotland and Wales shows it to be self-policing. Councils have made it clear that people will not be issued with a fine for their first offence."

In Scotland, where the smoking ban was introduced in March last year, just three individuals were fined in the first month. Since then, the rate of penalties has increased, with 238 individuals issued with fixed penalty notices in the first three months of this year.

Health officials greeted yesterday's ban with celebrations, saying it would significantly help reduce deaths from second-hand smoke.

Prof Ian Gilmore, the president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: "I am blissfully happy. From a personal point of view, I can now go into any pub without inhaling smoke. And from a professional point of view, it is the culmination of over 40 years of work from doctors. It will save 11,000 lives every year."


Monday, July 2, 2007

Smoking Ban in England Starts July 1

A ban on smoking in public places in the United Kingdom comes into effect from July 1.

Local authorities are preparing to enforce the ban and anyone lighting up illegally will face a fine of up to 200.

As a last minute gesture, smokers' parties have been held, something unheard of before, with free cigarettes and a tobacco-themed disco featuring only tobacco-related hits.