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Utah State Update

Tobacconists Say Utah Legislators Head for Unintended Consequences with HB0170
Salt Lake City, Utah? February 12, 2011 – The unintended consequences of HB0170 for professional tobacconists and their pipe-smoking adult customers is not unlike ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater,’ according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
The original version of HB0170 prohibited the sale of any kind of flavored tobacco product. As amended, it exempts cigars, but still includes aromatic pipe tobaccos as illegal to sell or purchase in Utah.
“As we understand it, the bill is intended to keep under aged youth from purchasing smokeless and other tobacco products,” said Fred Cvar who, along with his wife, Joan, own The Tinder Box in Salt Lake City.
“We have always been against the sale of any tobacco products to anyone under the age of 19 and there are plenty of laws that already prevent that,” Cvar added. “HB0170, unfortunately, also would prevent the sale of virtually all pipe tobaccos to our mature adult customers.? Such tobaccos, cut and blended especially for use in briar and meerschaum pipes have been enjoyed in all societies around the world since the 1600s.”
“We join our Utah tobacconist members in strongly urging Utah state representatives to include such pipe tobaccos in the exemptions to this bill which, if necessary at all, should have a laser-like focus on elimination of sales of all tobacco products to under aged persons,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
The IPCPR is a non-profit organization of more than 2,000 cigar store owners and manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars and pipe tobaccos.
McCalla said most IPCPR members are owners of small, mom-and-pop operations that pay taxes and employ local people.? Elimination of adult oriented aromatic pipe tobaccos from the Utah marketplace, he said, would result in virtual elimination of pipe tobacco sales to adults which will reduce legitimate tax revenues for the state and, more importantly, result in lost jobs and failed businesses.
“The last thing Utah needs is lower tax revenues, lost jobs and closed businesses,” McCalla said.
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Contact:????????????????
Tony Tortorici
678/493-0313
tony@tortoricipr.com


Utah Legislators Ill-advised in Moves Against Tobacco, Says Premium Cigar Association
Salt Lake City, Utah February 25, 2010 – The efforts of some Utah state legislators to out-do one another in their efforts to ban and tax legal tobacco products work against each other and are going to backfire, says the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
“These kinds of proposals are ill-advised and should be dumped as bad ideas,” according to Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR which maintains that business owners should be left to decide for themselves to ban or not to ban and that Governor Gary R. Herbert has promised “no new taxes of any kind.”
“Increased tobacco taxes would bring a burden of higher costs and broken promises to nearly 10 percent of the Utah adult population that smokes, most of whom will simply buy their tobacco online or out of state to avoid paying these new taxes,” according to McCalla.
“Not all tobacco products are the same. Premium cigars and pipes are different from, say, cigarettes in that they are discretionary products enjoyed only occasionally like a fine wine or single-malt scotch. As a result, they should be taxed differently.”
McCalla suggested that the current 35 percent excise tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes could be replaced by a 50 cent tax cap per hand-made cigar. He said such a tax is generating positive results in five other states, including Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The IPCPR is a non-profit organization of more than 2,000 cigar store owners and manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars and pipe tobacco.
McCalla said most IPCPR members are owners of small, mom-and-pop operations that pay taxes and employ local people. Legislated smoking bans, he said, result in lower sales of premium cigars, pipe tobacco and other tobacco products which reduce tax revenues for the state and, more importantly, result in lost jobs and failed businesses.
“The last thing Utah needs is lower tax revenues, lost jobs and closed businesses,” McCalla said.
The public is being scammed by what McCalla called “neo-prohibitionists and tobaccophiles hell-bent on spreading lies to build their own power.”
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has, indeed, established safe levels of tobacco smoke and those levels are up to 25,000 higher than normally found in any bar or restaurant,” McCalla pointed out.
Instead, McCalla suggested that the free market continue to set its own rules by having business owners decide whether or not their establishments should be smoke-free.
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Contact:
Tony Tortorici
678/493-0313
tony@tortoricipr.com


Mood of America Says No New Taxes in Utah, Reminds Cigar Group
Salt Lake City, Utah January 27, 2010 – As Utah legislators contemplate raising taxes on tobacco products, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association is reminding them that voters across the board are against new taxes and favor delivery on campaign promises.
Some Utah state representatives and senators are talking about new tobacco taxes even as Governor Gary Herbert has proclaimed that there shall be no new taxes of any kind.? The IPCPR, a non-profit association of some 2,000 retail tobacconists and manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars, pipes, tobaccos and related accessories, called this the kind of “disconnect” that is leading to voter revolts across America.
“Utah voters are among the most savvy in the country,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.? “They know when they are being led down a primrose path intentionally or otherwise by their legislators who say one thing and do another.? And, when legislators do what the voters don’t want done, new, more responsive legislators are elected by those voters.”
McCalla said it was important for Utah legislators to realize that the reasons they have been given by anti-tobacco groups to call for across the board tax increases on all tobacco products reflect the misguided conclusions of poorly informed special interest groups.
“First, the governor said ‘no new taxes of any kind’.? Increased tobacco taxes would bring a burden of higher costs and broken promises to nearly 10 percent of the Utah adult population that smokes, most of whom will simply buy their tobacco online or out of state to avoid paying these new taxes.
“Second, not all tobacco products are the same.? Premium cigars and pipes are different from, say, cigarettes in that they are discretionary products enjoyed only occasionally like a fine wine or single-malt scotch.? As a result, they should be taxed differently.”?
McCalla suggested that the current 35 percent excise tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes could be replaced by a 50 cent tax cap per hand-made cigar. He said such a tax? is generating positive results in five other states, including Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island, Iowa and Wisconsin.
“Third, human behavior can’t be legislated.? Some lawmakers say increased tobacco taxes will prevent youths from smoking. That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water.? Our IPCPR retail members are adamantly diligent about selling their products only to age-appropriate adult customers.? For other retailers, there are plenty of laws on the books that, enforced properly, will accomplish that same objective. Besides, those neo-prohibitionists who make unsubstantiated claims of youth smoking are basing their estimates on overly vivid imaginations.”
McCalla urged Utah legislators to drop their consideration of “job-killing higher tobacco taxes that will actually result in lower tax revenues because people will find ways to avoid paying those new taxes.”
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Contact:??????????????
Tony Tortorici
678-493-0313
tony@tortoricipr.com
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Anti-smoking efforts losing big in Legislature
03/07/2009
As two tobacco tax bills languish on Utah’s Capitol Hill, the $4 million fund for advertising and marketing of a smoking cessation program is also being raided.
This combination is especially disturbing to anti-tobacco advocates.
“We knew that every agency was going to have cuts across the board,” said Beverly May, regional advocacy director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “But this wasn’t just a cut — it was an elimination.”
May and others lament the siphoning off of the $4 million, which paid for targeted newspaper, radio and TV ads, along with advocacy work in the schools — directing smokers to the state’s quit-line and discouraging youth from picking up the habit.
The double-whammy against anti-smoking efforts means that the tobacco giants can protect their profits and their market, said Michael Siler, of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network. He added that as smokers die off, a new crop is needed.
“We have $345 million in tobacco-related health care costs in the state a year,” Siler said. “A majority of those costs are paid by the state, by hospital systems from compensated care and by citizens in the form of additional taxes.”
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. set the bar high before the legislative session, advocating a $3-per-pack tax on cigarettes and removal of the sales tax on food.
While Siler and May focus more on health impacts, lawmakers and tax watchdogs warily eye the state’s bottom line.
Lawmakers have reached consensus to raise the vehicle registration fee $20, for a $50 million budget boost, Senate President Michael Waddoups said.
But tobacco tax fervor has all but fizzled in the halls of power.
“There’s an excellent chance for the cigarette tax,” said Waddoups. Just not this year, he added.
A 50-cent to $1.50 additional tax per pack could serve as a backstop next year if the economy continues to slide, Waddoups added.
The fiscal note on Rep. Paul Ray’s HB219 projects $25.9 million in revenue from the $1.30-per-pack tax in 2010. And yet, with four days left in this year’s session, the bill has yet to land on the House floor for debate.
“It would become the Evanston, Wyoming economic recovery act,” said Royce Van Tassell of Ray’s bill.
Van Tassell, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association, envisions smokers banding together to purchase cartons of cigarettes out of state if Utah’s smokes get too pricey.
He also considers it bad policy to impose a hefty tax on a narrow group of people.
Sen. Allen Christensen’s SB114, similar to Ray’s, was defeated last month in committee.
Siler and May suspect more than sheer economics at work, noting the large number of tobacco lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Three lobbyists contacted by The Tribune said their contracts would not allow them to speak to the news media.
“I don’t think it’s a conspiracy on the part of legislators,” Siler said. “But I think its a conspiracy on the part of big tobacco.”
Last fiscal year the state collected $46,410,880 in cigarette taxes
and $7,314,289 in tobacco products tax. Both are in the general fund.
http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_11856515

Health department myths of secondhand smoke
By: Richard Okelberry
3/21/08
A recent Utah Statesman article by Jascee Bennett, tobacco coordinator for the Bear River Health Department, titled “Dispelling the myths about secondhand smoke (SHS),” not only failed to present the entire “truth” about secondhand smoke, but was occasionally downright false and misleading. I would never argue that SHS is not harmful but it is important to establish how harmful it truly is with respect to other every day gases and chemicals. Because it is impossible for a society to make clear decisions without true and factual information I would like to provide some counterpoints to Jascee Bennet’s opinions.
Bennett claims that SHS “gases and particles contain more than 40 known cancer causing agents.” While it is true that studies have shown that many of the chemicals and gases in SHS may contribute to cancer, the only actual known cause of cancer is radiation. Additionally, it should be noted that many of the gases and particles found in SHS are also found in a wide range of other daily products. Most byproducts in SHS are often so miniscule they are considered by scientists to be only trace amounts that barely exist on the brink of our ability to detect them. So we need to ask, as with almost any product, at what point do the levels become truly dangerous and therefore unacceptable? Mercury, for example, is also considered very dangerous to humans, yet we find it regularly in seafood. Rather than pulling all seafood from the store shelves, we are instead advised to eat seafood in moderation. SHS on the other hand has been so successfully demonized by anti-smoking groups, regularly use false or misleading information that people have come to believe that even the smallest amounts will kill.
As an example of the double standard, even the vapors from the gasoline you put in your car have been known to cause Toxic Psychosis, which is an effect similar to those caused by mescaline, LSD and psilocybin, all powerful psychoactive drugs. Of course, this fact would hardly compel a single person to put away their car and start riding a bike. The question is, have we become a society so scared of our own shadows that we will eventually end up banning anything that has even the slightest possibility of doing us harm?
I find it strange that with the current controversy over SHS at USU nobody has considered the dangers presented by Radon, which is currently the number one cause of lung cancer in the U.S.
Bennett also makes the often quoted statement that SHS “also has twice as much nicotine and tar compared to the smoke that a smoker inhales.” This statement is purposely designed to imply that non-smokers are actually at a greater risk of illness than smokers, an idea that is plainly ridiculous. If you believe this, then you must also believe that smokers have some strange forcefield that protects them from the very SHS that they themselves are creating. It should be noted that the study claiming this was done by allowing cigarettes to burn down while capturing the smoke in a small concentrated area to keep it from replicating how smoke would naturally disperse. All the studies done on SHS levels in common public areas have never come close to those lab-produced levels.
Bennett ends her first myth by stating that SHS kills 53,000 non-smokers each year. Unfortunately, this does not mention that the two studies used to give those figures were done in 1991 and 1992, long before clean air acts and current public non-smoking measures where enacted. Not only is this another attempt to exaggerate statistics for maximum emotional effect but it also fails to mention that this statistic was discredited when it was thrown out of a case by a district court judge for using “inadequate science, failing to demonstrate a statistically significant relationship between secondhand smoke and diseases.”
The second and third myths deal with whether or not SHS outdoors is dangerous. The article states that multiple studies can be found at repace.com to confirm the fact that secondhand smoke is more dangerous than common air pollution. James L. Repace is a biophysicist that makes a living as a “Secondhand Smoke Consultant.” Rather than being an unbiased researcher, Repace compiles statistics for organizations with an anti-smoking agenda.
The American Lung Association (ALA) statistics disputes these claims. If we assume that the writer believed the discredited estimate that claims 53,000 non-smokers annually die from secondhand smoke, we should also assume she would trust the ALA report that claims 70,000 lives a year are lost because of common air pollution. One would assume that considering her position, Bennett should have known that authorities on the subject believe that more people die from air pollution than SHS.
Considering that the air quality in Cache Valley can become far worse than the national average during inversions, it seems apparent that the writer would have trouble proving that walking by someone who is smoking a cigarette outside the Hub is worse for an individual than inhaling high levels of ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide (just to name a few) for prolonged periods.
Finally, Bennett speaks to the myth that people have a constitutional right to smoke, stating, “The privacy interest protected by the U.S. Constitution includes only marriage, contraception, family relationships and the rearing and educating of children.” This is plainly incorrect; rather than giving an example of Supreme Court opinions, she has given a listing of the types of cases that have led us to our current understanding of Constitutional privacy. Any first year political science student will tell you that our legal system is based on case law, meaning one ruling can be applied to similar cases. The Supreme Court only hears cases they feel will have the broadest effect, while leaving specific decisions to lower courts.
What we as a society do with these truths will ultimately determine how free we are as a society and will dictate whether or not we will still be allowed to drive our cars, have a Twinkie, drink a beer or use tobacco on occasion. If nothing else, we all need to be vigilant against false information, especially when it is handed out by government employees and officials. Because we are all somewhat guilty of harming others, we should always be considerate when deciding which liberties and freedoms should be banned and how far we should intrude into personal privacy.
While I can’t speak for Bennett or the Bear River Health Department, I personally would choose being in a room full of 100 smokers for an hour before going into a closed garage with a single running car for 10 minutes. How about you? Hopefully, some day common logic will trump emotion and social bias.
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Richard Okelberry is from River Heights, Utah. For more information about secondhand smoking myths, visit www.lincolnsblog.com.


Utah lifts VFW smoking ban
05/13/2007
By Brock Vergakis
Salt Lake City – Standing behind the nautical-theme bar at Veterans of Foreign War Post 3586, Sandy Bonner savors the Newport cigarette she’s smoking while a small crowd of customers in their 20s watches a basketball game in a nearly empty room.
Business is slow, she says, but two weeks ago it was worse.
That’s because on April 30 a ban on smoking in VFW halls and other fraternal organizations that had been in place since January was lifted.
“We’d lost probably 50 percent of our customers,” Bonner said between cigarettes. “It’s coming back – but it’s not completely back.” As cities and states nationwide increasingly ban smoking in bars, restaurants and public parks, Utah has taken the uncommon approach of temporarily lifting a ban.
Lawmakers and VFW officials say it was the right thing to do to make sure VFW posts are playing by the same rules as other bars, which must go smoke-free in 2009.
“We knew that this was coming eventually,” said Norm Nelson, state VFW commander. “We don’t really care that it came, we just wanted everyone to be treated fair. That’s why we wanted to get smoking back in.” Public health advocates, however, are dismayed that Utah – which has the nation’s lowest percentage of adult smokers – would retreat from a law intended to protect the public’s health.
“We haven’t seen something like this where an implementation date is actually postponed,” said Steve Weiss, spokesman for the American Cancer Society. “We were certainly hoping that the Legislature would hold firm in protecting workers and patrons from second hand smoke.” But after a slew of veterans descended on the Capitol in February complaining that post revenues were plummeting as a result of the smoking ban, lawmakers agreed to allow smoking in VFW halls and other fraternal organizations again.
“No one is disputing the health issue of tobacco today. We know it’s dangerous. That’s not the issue here. At this point we’re strictly looking to give businesses the economic parity to the clubs,” Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, said during legislative debate.
At the time, Oda said one VFW hall was forced to close because it lost so much revenue after the smoking ban was put in place.
That doesn’t tell the whole story, Nelson said.
“They were having trouble before. I think this was just the icing on the cake for them to close,” he said.
At other posts, including one in Ogden, north of Salt Lake City, business improved after the smoking ban was instituted, Nelson said.
“They decided to stay with the no-smoking ban and their participation hasm increased. Those who smoke just run outside for a minute and come back in,” he said.
But at Post 3586, bartenders and customers say allowing smoking again has already had a significant impact. Most of the post’s customers who drink aren’t veterans, but people in their 20s and 30s who live or work nearby.
“It killed our business when it was nonsmoking,” said Brian Bateman, who tends bar at the post’s upstairs bar where people come to play pool and sing karaoke. “It was like tumbleweed blowing through here.” Bateman said he had to get a second job to pay his bills during the smoking ban. Even his friends who smoke, like John Anderson, stopped coming in as frequently to see him.
“We would just go down the street to another bar,” Anderson said. “I sure watched a lot of people leave. Now, they’re coming back.” Sen. Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, sponsored the state’s original ban on smoking in bars and fraternal organizations. He opposed allowing smoking again in VFWs, but says he’s not worried about it having a widespread effect on public health.
“I think it was a minor step backward,” he said. “But it probably will not create a lot of added death.” However, as Bateman lit up cigarette after cigarette behind the bar, he said he knew his health was suffering because of it.
“If you work in a bar, you’ve got to be a smoker. It’s peer pressure,” he said. “I actually liked the ban because it cut down on how much smoking I do.”
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Feed us facts on ingredients, not legislation

October 22, 2006
By Jay Evensen, Deseret Morning News
The E. coli-in-spinach scare came at just the right time — the right time, that is, to put some perspective on the trans fatty acid scare.
The perspective is this: It’s pretty darned hard to go through life knowing exactly what’s going to hurt you and what isn’t. And, therefore, it’s fairly ridiculous for governments to try to micromanage what we consume.
If the point is to protect us against ourselves, good luck. Next thing you know, someone will be suing Popeye.
Meanwhile, the best we can do (statistically, anyway) is to follow common sense. Even at that, history teaches there is a high likelihood we’re all going to die someday.
I know, that’s startling news to read on a peaceful Sunday morning.
In some ways, this is a difficult column to write. A decade or so ago I was defending my support of the nation’s first smoking bans in buildings, airports, etc., against people who assured me the government, if it won that fight, would soon come after the things we eat. And, well, here we are.
But if I have to admit that some supporters of smokers’ rights were correct, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to continue expanding bans on cigarettes in public places (as Salt Lake City currently is contemplating). Nor does it mean it’s wrong to draw the line somewhere, such as at the dinner table.
Simply put, we know beyond a reasonable doubt that some things are harmful, not just to the people who consume them but to people who are around the people who consume them. If the person in the seat next to me is eating an unusually tasty order of french fries, I’m not likely to get hurt no matter how much I inhale.
But if I’m gorging myself on fatty foods all the time, not exercising and gaining lots of weight — well, I shouldn’t need a bureaucrat to tell me I’m heading in the wrong direction.
This has become an issue in recent weeks, because the health commissioner in New York City, backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has proposed a citywide ban on the use of trans fats in all restaurants. Chicago has at least looked at a similar ban, and other cities are likely to follow suit. The New York mayor even brought Robert De Niro into the debate, noting the actor owns several restaurants that don’t use the fats.
Bloomberg stood right next to De Niro and admitted he loves oily popcorn, fries and other fatty foods but that he eats them without trans fats, which are made by a chemical process first developed in the 19th century to make certain oils last longer.
Does this mean he pigs out on this stuff using saturated fats? Frankly, that doesn’t sound too smart, either.
I’m no expert, but it seems there is conflicting scientific data on what trans fats can do. This much seems certain: Trans fats add significantly to cholesterol levels and, subsequently, heart problems. But then, saturated fats can do the same if you eat tons of them all the time.
Common sense ought to dictate that people eat more fruits and vegetables and get plenty of exercise. But you can’t legislate that. At least, you shouldn’t.
Meanwhile, if government begins outlawing trans fats, it needs to look seriously at all the other potentially harmful ingredients in things we eat. There’s no end in sight once you embark on that road. And, as with DDT, cyclamates and other substances thought to be horribly unsafe, further research may produce different results.
Why not simply rely on a good dose of education and some faith in the market, which seemed to work well in alerting people about the problems with spinach and lettuce? Require labels on foods that contain trans fats, if you must, including at restaurants. The market already gives us no-caffeine Coke, and a growing number of products have “no-trans fats” labels. We should be allowed to make our own choices, and pay the consequences either way.
Jay Evensen is editor of the Deseret Morning News editorial page. E-mail: even@desnews.com


Gutted Smoking Ban Bill Advances

February 28th, 2006
Richard Piatt

In the final hours of the 2006 Utah Legislature, an anti-smoking bill is little more than embers. Major changes made this morning may be enough to snuff the bill out completely.

Smoking is bad wherever you are: That’s the message the Utah Legisalture wishes they could turn into some kind of law, somehow. On Utah’s Capitol Hill, this year’s proposal would have expanded Utah’s clean air act to include private clubs and bars, but not everyone agrees with telling bar owners what they have to do.

Rep. Margaret Dayton, (R) Orem: “Until we’re willing to outlaw it, I would say private property rights should trump that. And I will be voting against this bill and hope you will too. ”

That’s in spite of obvious health consequences to non-smokers and employees at the clubs.

Rep. Ann Hardy, (R) Bountiful: “To me this has to be a health issue. Anyone who has seen a loved one die of lung cancer, they would not even question banning smoking in public places.”

But the issue became so political that the original Senate Bill was changed. Highland Republican John Dougall added a smoking ban on playgrounds, near children, and where people are waiting in line outdoors. Then, Clearfiled Republican Curtis Oda proposed a version that bans smoking only in a few private clubs. Both changes had the effect of gutting the bill, and some think it makes it too vague.

Rep. Becky Lockhart, (R) Provo: “There’s wind out there. There’s air, there’s a whole world of air, and a lot in here.”

And the bill’s sponsor urged reluctant support.

Rep. Brad Last, (R) Saint George: “You get something, it’s better than nothing, and I think the substitute is better than nothing.”

What happened to this bill is happening to a lot of bills–dying a potentially slow death amid a fight over money and pet projects. This one may or may not come up again.


Clubs say smoking ban lacks support
Senate bill: Their poll agrees with the Trib’s that Utahns are against forcing bars to be smoke-free
By Dawn House
The Salt Lake Tribune

Bar and private club owners lined up Tuesday against a bill that would ban smoking in their establishments, and unveiled a poll showing that respondents are opposed to more restrictions on tobacco.
SB19, which would bar smoking in private clubs, taverns, fraternal meeting places, country clubs and rental facilities for such events as weddings, awaits a vote before the full House. The Senate passed the measure 17-12.
The statewide poll, commissioned by the Utah Hospitality Association, shows that 69 percent of those questioned think smoking should be allowed in private clubs, 79 percent say they are satisfied with current regulations restricting smoking in public places, and 69 percent think the decision about smoking in private clubs should be left to managers and owners.
“The people of Utah understand the rights of private business owners,” Bob Brown, president of the hospitality group, said in a news conference at the Capitol. “.It is clear that individual establishments should have the right to decide whether or not to allow smoking.”
The latest poll is one of several showing Utahns are opposed to more smoking restrictions, said attorney Phillip W. Dyer, who represents the hospitality group. This includes a poll by The Salt Lake Tribune, conducted in January, which found three out of five respondents were against making private clubs and bars smoke-free.
The hospitality poll, conducted Feb. 8-12, questioned 505 registered voters – 92 percent of whom identified themselves as nonsmokers or former smokers, Dyer said.
Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield, said some proponents of the bill are using straw-vote surveys that “are not scientific” to prove their point. Oda said he will oppose the bill when it comes before the House.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said he has suspicions about polls conducted on behalf of organizations with specific agendas. He thinks the House is split on the issue, “but we’re working to get this over the top and into law.”
Waddoups said the measure addresses the health issue of secondhand smoke, and will protect waitresses, bartenders and musicians who must work in smoke-filled environments.
For its part, Brown said the hospitality group has collected 5,000 signature cards from bar and private club employees indicating they oppose a ban on smoking in their places of business.
Souzzann Zink, a smoking cessation specialist, said the most important reason to pass SB19 is to reduce medical care costs for everyone.
“Restrictions on smoking are proved to decrease the number of people who start smoking and to increase the number who quit,” she said. “Because 78 percent of Utahns who smoke want to quit, making it easier to start – in clubs and bars – means adding expensive smokers to our health-care costs, for life.”
dawn@sltrib.com


Senate OKs smoking ban

January 21, 2006
Glen Warchol

But whether it will clear the House is uncertain.

The Utah Senate on Friday approved a bill that would prohibit smoking in private clubs.

The bill (SB19) is sponsored by Sen. Mike Waddoups, who says it addresses a workplace health issue of secondhand smoke. Waddoups says the law will protect waitresses, bartenders and musicians who must work in a smoke-filled environment.

“Secondhand smoke is definitely a health hazard. There are things we can do to protect citizens’ lives and health,” said the Taylorsville Republican.

Waddoups said many workers and club owners are in favor of the ban. But Steve Barth, a lobbyist for the hospitality industry, said his members oppose the measure, as do most of their workers.

Propelled by Friday’s 17-12 Senate approval, the bill now goes to the House, where its future is uncertain. Last year, the Senate narrowly passed the measure, which then lay dormant in the House until the session ended.

But House Speaker Greg Curtis, who voted against the bill last year, said he likely will back Waddoups’ anti-smoking bill this time. He says he is persuaded by the concern for the health of employees and musicians.

“I’m probably headed toward supporting the bill,” Curtis said.

Still, many House members are troubled by what they see as an invasion of personal freedom, including Majority Leader Jeff Alexander.

“If a person chooses to go to a private club and chooses to smoke, that’s their choice,” Alexander said. “Likewise for those who choose to work in a private club.”


Most Utahns reject ban on smoking in clubs

January 16, 2005
By Amy Joi Bryson
Deseret Morning News

A new poll shows a majority of Utahns reject a ban on smoking in private clubs and bars, preferring to leave the decision up to club management.
A Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates shows 57 percent of those surveyed feel the decision to allow smoking in bars or private clubs should rest there, as opposed to 40 percent who favor a statewide ban.
“I love this poll,” said Bob Brown, vice president of the Utah Hospitality Association, which represents close to 60 clubs and taverns.
“I think the majority of Utah just told us that individual choices and freedoms are most important. If people don’t want to deal with smoking, they have the choice to just not go in there. They are tired of Big Brother government telling them what to do.”
The results, however, don’t discourage Sen. Michael Waddoups, R-West Jordan, the lawmaker sponsoring amendments that would invoke the ban.
“It is just like every other issue. You have to get it out for public debate,” he said, adding he doesn’t believe there has been enough discussion to adequately inform residents of the health hazards.
In fact, Waddoups said the results are better than he had hoped for given there’s been so little discussion on the issue so far.
“Most people don’t go to clubs in this state, so they would say sure, let the clubs decide, not realizing it is a problem for people who have to work in this environment.”
Tom Guinney, a Salt Lake Valley Board of Health member who also is a partner in the Gastronomy chain, agrees.
“The surgeon general said in 1964 that smoking is not a good idea. The debate on that was over 20 years ago. Secondhand smoke kills over 200 people a year in the state of Utah and costs us $275 million. It is protection of customers and a workers’ rights issue.”
Gastronomy, in fact, is hosting a 2 p.m. Sunday press conference at the Oyster to make an announcement related to the smoking ban issue.
The statewide poll, conducted Jan. 3-6, tapped 623 households and included 430 respondents who said their religious preference was that of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which proscribes smoking tobacco. Of those 430, 338 described themselves as “very active,” 55 said they were “somewhat active” and 37 said they were not active. The poll surveyed 426 respondents who described their political ideology as very conservative or somewhat conservative.
Brown, who owns Cheers to You, said the results show that the notion of “freedom of choice” prevails among Utahns, despite their political or religious makeup.
“These places — only adults go in. We are all adults, so why can’t we make a decision for ourselves? I think Utah just said we are adults and let us make the decision.”
The proposed statewide ban on smoking in private clubs and taverns comes in the midst of a Salt Lake Valley Board of Health consideration to adopt regulations that would prohibit smoking in certain outdoor venues, such as Hogle Zoo, public playgrounds and baseball diamonds.
New York and California have statewide smoking bans that prohibit lighting up in bars and clubs, while Florida is smoke-free except in those bars that do not serve prepared food.
Across the country, states have adopted a variety of indoor smoking bans, and since 2003 the trend is catching on to impose more restrictions on smokers, including outdoor prohibitions.
Arizona voters may be asked next year in a ballot initiative to invoke a statewide ban prohibiting smoking in public places, and closer to home Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson wants to ban smoking at the Salt Lake City International Airport, where puffers use ventilated rooms.
Utah was the first state in the nation to go “smoke free” in 1995, when its indoor clean air act took effect.
It prohibits smoking in restaurants, stores, bowling alleys and businesses, but exempts private clubs, taverns, guest rooms at hotels and motels and fraternal and religious organizations.


Smoking ban breaches liberty

As one fortunate enough to be able to ski yearly in the Salt Lake area, I oppose the campaign to outlaw smoking in the state’s bars and private clubs as well as the airport (“Rocky is targeting smoking at airport,” Jan. 6).

Bars and private clubs are not public places but private establishments. Adults, of their own free will, choose to either patronize or work in these venues or not. The owners or members pay the rent, salaries and taxes. In a free society, they should decide to forbid or allow what is a legal activity.

We must not allow petty tyrants to strip us of our personal liberties “for our own good” or in the guise of public health.

Stephen Helfer
Cambridge, Mass.
January 15, 2005
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,600104839,00.html

Read more:? 2005 Smoking Bill Snuffed Out For Good

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