Premium Cigar Association Supports D.C.Smoking Ban Proposal … Almost
IPCPR Okays Underage Smoking Prevention but Nixes Smoking Bans
Washington, D.C. January 20, 2010 – The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association has come out in support of proposed Washington D. C. Council legislation to reduce under-aged smoking and against the same piece of legislation that would impact smokers’ rights outside businesses.
The proposal would assess new penalties on under-aged youth for purchasing or possessing tobacco products. At the same time, the bill allows shop owners to post no-smoking signs in front of their establishments to include 25 feet of their front door or from the sidewalk.
"As owners of premium cigar stores, we have very few people coming into our stores who are underaged and, if they try to make a purchase, they are carded without exception. So the part of the legislation regarding underaged youth and tobacco is not a problem for us, unlike the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids which, ironically, opposes this aspect of the legislation," said Chris McCalla, Legislative Director of the IPCPR. "It’s the other part of the legislation that bothers us – no smoking outside of buildings – even though it contains no enforcement provisions."
McCalla pointed out that the vast majority of premium cigar and pipe smokers are courteous and mindful of people around them when they are smoking. However, he said, legislated smoking bans of any kind are anathema to the group and its individual members.
"Anyone who says there are no safe levels of secondhand smoke, including that which is found outdoors, is totally misinformed. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set safe standards for secondhand smoke. Those OSHA standards are 25,000 times higher than air quality levels found in restaurants and bars. So, whatever wisps of smoke may occasionally waft into a building cannot possibly be unsafe, according to OSHA," McCalla said.
Referencing those people who cite the Surgeon General’s report regarding the alleged adverse health effects of secondhand smoke, McCalla said: "There is absolutely no evidence presented in the report that supports this claim. These misinformed people have been brainwashed by neo-prohibitionists and tobaccophobes into believing otherwise," he said.
"If store owners don’t want smoking in their places of business, they have the right to declare their property smoke-free. And if these property owners don’t want people to smoke outside of their places of business, they have the right to ask people not to smoke there. We support that. But enacting legislation that gives the government authority over these individual property rights we do not support," he said.
"Not only is it not justified from a medical standpoint, it is not a justified deprivation of our personal rights from a constitutional standpoint. Next thing you know, the government will be running our nation’s auto companies, financial institutions and the entire health industry – or trying to."