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North Carolina North Carolina Update

Will smoking issue burn again?
January 18, 2012

It’s been a pleasant two years for those among us who like to eat out or visit a tavern, but don’t care for the smell and taste of cigarette smoke. North Carolina’s ban on indoor smoking in restaurants and bars turned the calendar on its second anniversary Jan. 2.
While the smoke in the state’s restaurants and bars has cleared in the past two years, the controversy spawned by the law has not. And an effort to amend the law could become an issue again before the Legislature.
Don Liebes of The Gate City Billiards Country Club in Greensboro has dropped his court system challenge of the law, Liebes told the Enterprise recently. But Liebes and – he says – others have formed a special interest group and hired a lobbyist in a coming effort to persuade the General Assembly to revise the law. Liebes wants to correct some of what he sees as its unconstitutional provisions.
Liebes contends the law is unfair to for-profit clubs such as his because it allows indoor smoking exemptions for cigar bars, country clubs, fraternal organizations and social organizations. Liebes also contends that his business – which he renamed to add “country club” after the law took effect – has been signaled out by Guilford County Health Department officials for enforcement actions.
It will be interesting to see how much headway Liebes and his group, the N.C. Bar, Pub and Tavern Association, make in getting the law revised. The group has hired Dean Plunkett, a Raleigh-based lobbyist who is known for his work on behalf of the N.C. Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. Plunkett may well snag the ears of some legislators who could push revisions to the law.
One revision we’d see as reasonable is an exemption for business establishments that prominently label themselves as allowing smoking. Under such a requirement, the public clearly would be made aware of smoke in the air. Nonsmokers could steer clear, but smokers could enjoy their habit without the inconvenience of going outside to smoke.
Yes, those who don’t like our idea – such as Guilford Health Director Merle Green – and who say the point of the law is health protection for workers as well as patrons just aren’t persuasive. If the smoking ban was totally about health matters, then why were any exemptions allowed at all? If the law is going to allow exemptions, we see the one we pose as being as valid as any.

Smoking bans and government intrusion.
July 16, 2010

Jeremy Richards interviewed on the Lockwood Phillips radio show.
(Starts 28 minutes into the show.)

Click here to open your media player and listen.

July 16, 2010Jeremy Richards interviewed on the Lockwood Phillips radio show.(Starts 28 minutes into the show.)

Read More about Jeremy Richards, Director of Historical Research, Citizens Freedom Alliance, Inc.

Treat Me Like a Dog: What Human Health Care Can Learn from Pet Care. Watch the video from Reason TV.

IPCPR Urges Courtesy, Not Ban, at Bus Shelters In Winston-Salem, NC
Winston-Salem, North Carolina July 16, 2010 – The Winston-Salem (NC) Transit Authority is considering a ban on smoking in bus shelters but the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association says it has a better idea – post courtesy messages, instead.
The WSTA Board recently discussed the issue and plans to bring it up again at their next meeting, in response to a complaint by a single rider.
“The world is upside down,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR. “There’s no need to ban smoking in bus shelters and, even if it were enacted, there would be virtually no practical way to enforce it. Just because one person complained, doesn’t mean thousands of other bus riders who happen to be smokers should be inconvenienced.”
The single complaint centered on the shelters on Hawthorne Road, near Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, where Center employees often go to smoke, away from the non-smoking hospital grounds.
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said McCalla. “Instead of an outright ban, simply post signs reminding smokers to be considerate of others when there is a need for them to share a shelter with non-smokers. Smokers, by and large, are a considerate bunch and will appreciate the civil tradeoff.”
McCalla said it had nothing to do with alleged health factors regarding secondhand smoke.
“The oh-so-brief encounters of random whiffs of smoke will not harm anyone. After all, even the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor has established safe levels of secondhand smoke. Some people just don’t like the smell of smoke, but there’s no reason that the rights of smokers should be trumped by a few non-smokers. Besides, a good cigar or pipe usually emits quite an enjoyable odor.”
McCalla asked, “What if someone complained about the odor of cheap perfume or wet dogs? What if someone complained about seriously obese people taking up more than their share of seating space in the shelters and on buses?
“Imposing a smoking ban in bus shelters is the first step on a slippery slope that could lead to even more ridiculous conclusions,” he said.
Instead, McCalla believes posting signs urging smokers to display courtesy to non-smokers with whom they share bus shelters is the civil way to manage the situation.
“This way, everybody wins.”
Tony Tortorici

Second Smoking Ban Appeal Denied For Triad Business
Shayla Teater??
Greensboro, NC — The owner of a local billiards club has once again lost an appeal for a smoking ban fine.
The owner of Gate City Billards Country Club went before the Guilford County Board of Health for a second time Wednesday. This time he was appealing the constitutionality of the smoking ban.
Don Liebes cited the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. It says that a state can’t pass a law if it does not equally protect all the citizens within it’s jurisdiction.
“Yet it does not protect the employees if the business is non-profit or if they are federally tax exempt,” said Liebes.
In a March 30th hearing, Liebes argued that he should not be fined because he added the term “country club” to his business.
The board disagreed, saying it did not meet the requirements for being exempt.
He says he will continue to allow smoking in his establishment.

State won’t test workers for smoking
May 7, 2010
RALEIGH — Thousands of North Carolina state employees admitted they were smokers and signed up for a higher-priced health coverage under the threat of random testing to see if they were sneaking a butt.
But so many workers opted to admit their vice and stay in the higher-price plan that administrators doubt they’ll find many cheaters. Legislators and plan administrators this week dropped plans to test for smokers trying to beat the system.
The State Health Plan covers nearly 670,000 public employees, retirees and their family members.
Starting in July, smokers will receive less-generous coverage. Workers could opt for the more-generous coverage if they signed a statement that they don’t smoke or entered a program to help them quit.

Police: Smoking at Asheville bar leads to knife assault
January 26, 2010
ASHEVILLE — Police say a dispute over smoking at an Asheville bar led to the assault of two employees with a knife.
Gregory Alan Nash, 45, refused to leave the Bier Garden at 46 Haywood St. on Sunday evening.
Nash began yelling at employees when he was escorted outside, then pulled out a knife and cut two of them on their abdomens and arms, according to police.
The suspect was running down Haywood Street as officers arrived. Two officers caught and arrested him. The two bar employees were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Nash, who listed his address as a homeless shelter on N. Ann Street, was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, being intoxicated and disruptive, resisting arrest and trespassing.
Nash was jailed under a $12,500 bond.

Ohio judge tosses bar’s smoking ban violation
March 9th, 2010
by Vicky Eckenrode
Up now is a story about the first penalty imposed on an area bar or restaurant under North Carolina’s new smoking ban.
The Juggling Gypsy said it will fight the penalties, taking to the courts if necessary.
Another interesting court decision about a smoking ban came out of Ohio recently where a judge said a bar cited for violating the state’s workplace smoking ban did not have to pay more than $33,000 in fines.
In his ruling, the judge said the state’s health department exceeded its authority by making the bar responsible for its patrons’ behavior, according to an Associated Press article.
What’s interesting for us here in North Carolina, is Ohio’s three-year-old law is similar to the one North Carolina implemented at the beginning of the year.
Like in Ohio, bars (and restaurants in N.C.) are expected to post no-smoking signs, get rid of ashtrays and ask customers who light up to put out their cigarettes.
But in the Ohio judge’s ruling, he stated the business owners were not responsible for customers’ behaviors.
“They can ask patrons that are smoking to leave. Outside of these things, there is little property owners can do,” the judge wrote, according to the AP article.
He also wrote enforcers cannot automatically issue a violation.
“The Department of Health is going to have to do something that they have never done before: They’re going to have to investigate the site before they fine,” the judge wrote, according to The Columbus Dispatch’s Dispatch Politics. “They’re going to have to talk to the individual smoker.”
Ohio has issued more than 2,000 citations under its smoking ban law and imposed about $1 million in fines.
No smokers have been fined.
The state plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Bar owner circulating anti-smoking ban petition
by Meghan Torjussen
22 January 2010
It hasn’t been around very long, but some bar owners say North Carolina’s smoking ban is bad for business. A petition is circulating to repeal the law that prohibits smoking in bars.
Deborah Tinae owns Smitty’s Tavern in Monkey Junction. Although the smoking ban has been in place for less than a month, she’s seen profits slide.
Tinae has been going door to door, bar to bar, asking for signatures to help repeal the state’s ban. So far, she says she has received a good response, although some have chosen not to sign. Tinae has about 2,000 signatures from all over our five-county area.
It’s only been 20 days since the smoking ban took effect. Still Tinae says she realized after only two days, her business was going south.
“If it keeps going the way it is right now, we’re not going to be in existance very much longer,” she said. “We’re going to try and hang on as long as we can, keep pounding the pavement and keep calling till someone will take notice.”
Tinae plans to keep going until she has 20,000 signatures. Some bar managers downtown say they haven’t really seen a decrease in their business. As for Tinae, she says its an owners right to decide what happens in their bar. She is a non-smoker.

Legislators of North Carolina,
May 28, 2009
???? Morris Sheppard, a congressman from Texas who co-sponsored the original amending legislation for Alcohol Prohibition in 1918 predicted in 1930: “There is as much chance of repealing the 18th Amendment as there is for a hummingbird to fly to the planet Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail.”?
???? Nationwide alcohol Prohibition had been ushered in after a wave of massive hoopla in the 1910’s.? Helped along by unquestioning media lackeys, well funded Anti-Alcohol fanatics belonging to groups like the Anti-Saloon League and Women’s Christian Temperance U nion had prodded state legislatures to pass, first, state prohibition laws and, later, to ratify a constitutional amendment to prohibit the making, selling, and transporting of alcoholic beverages in the USA.
???? What happened next is a story that is largely familiar to many Americans.? Prohibition ushered in a national tragedy as illegal speakeasy bars opened throughout the US, women (who had historically stayed away from bars) took to the bar culture in much greater numbers, the mafia grew stronger as crime bosses now had a product which could provide them with massive profits, and deaths related to alcohol actually increased, through both mob murders and accidental alcohol poisonings.?
???? Congressman Sheppard had believed in 1930 that Prohibition was destined to remain a permanent fixture in the Constitution.? Yet, by 1933 nationwide alcohol Prohibition was dead, both the victim of a mass movement to repeal it and of its own failure to truly stamp out alcohol use.
???? And yet, alcohol Prohibition was not the only prohibition movement in those days.? There was an anti-tobacco movement that paralleled the movement against alcohol.? An organization called the Anti-Cigarette League of America campaigned against cigarette sales in particular.? Ultimately, between 1890 and 1930, 15 states enacted laws banning the sale, manufacture, possession, or use of cigarettes, and 22 other states considered such legislation.? Even the legislature of North Carolina considered cigarette prohibition laws in 1897, 1901, 1903, 1905, 1911, 1913, and again in 1917.? The anti-cigarette laws fell victim first to the battlefields of WWI, then to the speakeasies of Prohibition, and finally to the soup lines of the Great Depression.? By the 1930’s, as the Great Depression wreaked havoc on the nation, the poorly enforced anti-cigarette laws still on the books were repealed.?
???? Legislators, the old saying that “there is nothing new under the sun” is certainly true regarding the Anti-tobacco movement.? For over four hundred years efforts have been made to prohibit tobacco use in various ways.? Some examples:? In the 1600s, Pope Urban VIII threatened excommunication for those who smoked or used snuff in holy places. In 1633, Ottoman Sultan Murad IV banned smoking, and as many as 18 people a day were executed for breaking his law.? The first recorded smoking ban in America occurred in 1632, when Massachusetts introduced a ban on smoking in public places. In 1639, Gov. Willem Kieft of New Amsterdam outlawed smoking in what later became New York City (some 363 years before nanny Mayor Bloomberg followed suit).?
???? Historically, smoking bans almost always fail.? Bar owners especially have to flout the laws or lose business.? Flouting of the law has become rampant in places like Nanny Bloomberg’s New York.??
???? And, while we’re at it, let’s include other failures in Iowa and Illinois.? This is what the 62 representatives and 30 senators of North Carolina have signed onto.? This is what they want for NC.
???? North Carolina’s smoking ban is one of the most bizarre in the country.? Not only is the North Carolina smoking ban weird (what is the logic in banning smoking in bars and restaurants but exempting virtually every other business), it is also based on a false premise.? In the legislative findings of House Bill 2 it is stated:? “The General Assembly finds that secondhand smoke has been proven to cause cancer, heart disease, and asthma attacks in both smokers and nonsmokers.”? There are glaring problems with this statement as some eighty percent of studies (including long-range studies like the WHO study and the Enstrom and Kabat study) on the effects of secondhand smoke (ETS) show either no risk or no significant risk.?
???? As for the heart disease, a recent study put out by researchers from the RAND Corporation, Congressional Budget Office, University of Wisconsin, and Stanford University found “no evidence that legislated U.S. smoking bans were associated with short‐term reductions in hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction or other diseases in the elderly, children or working‐age adults.”
???? As for asthma attacks in both smokers and nonsmokers, that is shaky too. Interestingly, the asthma rates in the US have actually INCREASED as smoking rates have gone down.?
???? House Bill 2 also reads, “In 2006, a report issued by the United States Surgeon General stated that the scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”? This is erroneous too.? That was not what Surgeon General Richard Carmona’s report actually stated.? Carmona did say that, in a press release, not the actual report itself.? There are reasons to be suspicious of what Carmona stated too.? Carmona is a known tobacco prohibitionist who has publicly stated several times that he wants to see tobacco outlawed in the US, which would really disrupt the economy of NC!? In addition, saying that there is no “risk-free level of exposure” is not even logical.? That would mean that ETS would be one of the most deadly substances in the world, every bit as deadly as some of Saddam Hussein’s poison gases.?
???? I will end by posing some questions, especially to the 62 reps and 30 senators who voted for this insane piece of California-style trash legislation.? Are North Carolina law enforcement officers to be drafted to enforce this ill-fated nanny dictate?? If so, how many speeders and drunk drivers will not be caught on North Carolina highways due to officers busting smokers in restaurants?? How many meth labs will operate undeterred since officers will be ticketing smoking veterans and elderly people in bars?? How many robberies and murders will go unsolved because officers will be across town wasting their time policing this ridiculous ban in hospitality establishments?
Let’s have some logic here.
Jeremy Richards, Ph.D.

General Assembly bans smoking in all restaurants and bars
By James Romoser | Journal Reporter
May 13, 2009
The N.C. General Assembly has passed a statewide ban on smoking in all restaurants and bars.
The bill now goes to Gov. Bev Perdue, who is expected to sign it. The ban would take effect Jan. 2, 2010.
The N.C. House voted 62-56 this afternoon to agree to the N.C. Senate’s version of the smoking ban. Until today, the two chambers had disagreed on the scope of the ban.
Last month, the House passed a version that would ban smoking in restaurants and most other workplaces, while exempting adult-only businesses such as bars. The Senate then passed a version banning smoking in restaurants and bars, but not in any other workplaces.
Some House members urged the House today to vote against the Senate’s version so that the bill could go to a conference committee. But House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, supported a vote in agreement with the Senate’s version.
He said that the bill is not perfect but is a step in the right direction for protecting workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
“I think this bill has come a long way – it’s had as much debate as any bill has ever had,” Holliman said. “Certainly I think by removing workplaces, it’s not the bill that we would like to have, but maybe that’s an argument for a later date.”
Gov. Perdue called today’s vote “important and historic.”
“I have vigorously supported efforts to reduce and eliminate smoking and this bill will help more North Carolina citizens avoid the dangers of secondhand smoke,” Perdue said in a statement.

A Spirited Debate on Smoking
By John Hood
RALEIGH – I’d rather be called a ghoul than a lich.
What’s a lich? In fantasy literature, it’s typically the reanimated corpse of some dead king or sorcerer. Rather than just being an individual menace, the lich seeks to control the minds and actions of vast hordes of other beings.
Naturally, I’d prefer not to be compared to any manifestation of the evil undead. Since I chose a very public career involving political controversy, however, it would be unrealistic not to expect a few insults now and then. Particularly when the issue involves unpopular personal behavior, such as the lawful consumption of tobacco products, passion tends to crowd out propriety.
Regarding two proposals in the General Assembly this year, to raise tobacco taxes and to ban smoking in most North Carolina restaurants, proponents have raised the argument that the state should discourage smoking because Medicaid and other tax-funded health programs spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to treat smoking-related illnesses. In response, I and other opponents have pointed out that the best available evidence shows that smoking does not impose a net cost on taxpayers, so the neo-prohibitionists’ reasoning is based on a false premise.
For that, we have been called ghoulish.
It’s an unfair charge, to start with. We advocates of personal freedom didn’t start this. We didn’t claim that the state should tax or regulate private behavior based on some utilitarian calculus of social costs and benefits. We believe that individuals in a free society should be able to make decisions on their own, based on their perception of costs and benefits to themselves, their family and friends, and others with whom they interact.
Our belief in freedom derives, in part, from our fundamental recognition that it is wrong to treat fellow human beings as means rather than as ends. To sacrifice another’s life, liberty, or property to engineer some outcome you want is wrong. If you wish to limit your exposure to tobacco smoke, you have many proper mechanisms at your disposal. You can choose where to live, work, and shop based on posted smoking policies. You can forbid people to smoke in your home. And you can demand reasonable smoking policies for government facilities of common usage, such as courthouses and other public buildings.
But because tobacco smoke is not a general environmental pollutant, wafting over from a smoker’s property to present a significant health risk to others, that’s as far as it should go. You shouldn’t be able to tell others what they can do on their own property. The proper rule, as usual, is to mind your own business.
The neo-prohibitionists don’t respect the equal rights of their fellow citizens. Instead, they see themselves as possessing superior knowledge and wisdom, which should give them the authority to force smokers and restaurant owners to comply. That’s what makes them paternalistic – the prohibitionists see themselves as parents and the rest of us as children.
Recognizing that spelling out their pretensions of superiority might hurt their cause, the prohibitionists decided to concoct an elaborate, plausible justification for paternalism based on an estimate of the costs imposed by smokers on taxpayers. This argument was a major element of state government lawsuits against the tobacco companies more than a decade ago, the settlement of which yielded higher taxes and the abomination known as Golden LEAF. And it’s a claim heard a lot around the General Assembly this session.
The prohibitionists got their math wrong. They didn’t account for the net fiscal impact of smoking, which includes the cost of tax-funded pension payments and of treating other illnesses. As the AP just reported once again, serious analysis does not show a net cost to taxpayers from smoking.
Robbed of their claim to save taxpayer money, the prohibitionists are left with a transparent desire to rob you of your freedom – for your own good, of course. But seeking control over the private lives of others is wrong, regardless of the intention.
They can call me ghoulish if they wish. I’ll call them a lich. What a lovely debate we’re having.
Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation and publisher of

Smoking-ban supporters try to restore bill’s restrictions
April 23, 2009
Supporters of a ban on smoking in indoor workplaces in North Carolina are trying to restore a provision that would include adult-only businesses under the ban.
The smoking ban was approved by the N.C. House earlier this month — but only after the bill was amended to exempt bars and other places that are not open to people younger than 18.
The bill is now before the N.C. Senate.
The Senate Health Committee will take up a substitute bill that will eliminate the exemption and restore the ban to its more restrictive form, according to the chairman of the health committee, Sen. William Purcell.
The health committee had planned to consider the bill yesterday, but the topic was postponed at the last minute because of a concern from the Wilmington film industry that the bill would not allow actors to smoke while being filmed for a movie.
“I don’t really like promoting smoking in movies, but on the other hand, the movie industry is very important to the state,” said Purcell, D-Scotland.
Legislators will rewrite the bill to deal with the issue of smoking on screen, and then the health committee will hold a hearing on the bill next week, Purcell said.
The holdup demonstrates how far-reaching the proposed smoking ban is — and how it has rattled many interest groups and employers. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, would outlaw smoking in nearly all buildings where people are employed or the public is invited.
The exemption for adult-only businesses is particularly controversial because restaurant owners worry that it would create an uneven playing field. If the exemption stands, family restaurants that also have bars would be forced to ban smoking throughout their buildings, while adult-only bars could continue to allow smoking.
Democratic leaders in both the House and the Senate prefer a smoking ban without the adult-only exemption.
But the exemption makes the bill more palatable for some moderate Democrats, especially ones from tobacco-producing districts.
Most Republicans oppose the bill.
If the Senate approves the more-restrictive version of the bill, without the adult-only exemption, it will return to the House. Holliman said yesterday that he believes that if that happened, the more-restrictive version could get enough votes to pass in the House.
Supporters argue that all businesses should be subject to the ban in order to protect all employees from the health hazards of second-hand smoke.

Amendments weaken smoking ban

April 1, 2009

A smoking ban was weakened on the House floor today.

Rep. Hugh Holliman, the Democratic majority leader and bill sponsor, took different stances on four amendments that exempted different types of businesses:

CIGAR BARS: Rep. Wil Neumann, a Gaston County Republican, proposed exempting cigar bars. Holliman did not object. Adopted 93-24.

ADULTS-ONLY: Rep. Nelson Cole, a Rockingham County Democrat, proposed exempting restaurants and bars that do not allow minors. Supporters said it would gut the bill. Adopted 70-46.

SINGLE OWNERS: Rep. Paul Stam, a Wake County Republican, proposed exempting small home-based businesses. Holliman called it “far-fetched” but did not oppose it. Adopted 113-3.

GROWERS: Rep. Thom Tillis, a Mecklenburg County Republican, proposed exempting tobacco growers, processors and dealers. Holliman did not object. Adopted 115-2.

In addition, Holliman said another amendment would likely be proposed Thursday exempting Veterans of Foreign Wars halls.

Bars exempted from smoking ban

A proposed smoking ban now mostly applies to restaurants, not bars.

After an hour and a half of discussion, an amendment to exempt dining facilities that do not allow minors from a statewide smoking ban passed 70-46.

Restaurants could still allow smoking as long as they did not allow patrons under the age of 18.

The practical effect would be that many bars could still allow smoking, while family-oriented restaurants such as Applebee’s would go smoke-free.

The amendment had been proposed by Rep. Nelson Cole, a Rockingham County Democrat whose district includes Commonwealth Brands.

The amendment also requires the restaurant can prohibit smoke from migrating into the non-smoking section, but Cole said that would be virtually impossible without having a separate building.

Here is a list of all the NC legislators, divided by who supports the ban and who opposes it…

Read More:? NC State Alert Page 1

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