Property Rights: LA Alexandria Page 2

Louisiana Alexandria Update…

Premium Cigar Group Calls Alexandria, LA Positions on Smoking Bans ‘Irrational’

COLUMBUS, Georgia? October 6, 2011
While Alexandria, Louisiana’s City Council last week passed an expanded smoking ban to include city bars effective Jan. 2, 2012, administrators at the city’s Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital announced implementation of a total anti-tobacco policy effective July 1.? The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association sees the separate actions as ‘irrational’ attacks on smokers, small businesses, jobs and tax revenues based on unsupported claims and questionable science.
“The city’s expanded smoking ban will negatively impact bars, taverns and other small businesses. This is no time to put such establishments at risk as well as the jobs and tax revenues they provide.? We are against legislated smoking bans that come from Big Brother and the nanny state. Instead, we favor and uphold the rights of property owners to decide for themselves the smoking policies for their respective businesses,” said Bill Spann, chief executive officer of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
The IPCPR is an association of some 2,000 small businesses, most of them mom-and-pop tobacco shops and manufacturers of premium cigars, pipes and related accoutrements.
Spann suggested that the council was responding to political pressure from well-funded anti-smoking groups. “These anti-smoking extremists tend to manipulate questionable statistics that don’t stand up to scrutiny,” he said.
As for the hospital’s position against smokers, Spann expressed surprise that administrators would act apparently on personal prejudices and irrational conclusions regarding so-called thirdhand smoke.
“There is a prevailing myth that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke and that the smell of secondhand smoke on clothing – called by some as ‘thirdhand smoke’ – is somehow harmful.? Both statements are false,” he said.
According to Spann, the U. S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established safe levels of secondhand smoke that far exceed real life exposure levels.
“OSHA’s safe level for secondhand smoke is actually 25,000 times higher than levels of air quality found in the typical bar or restaurant that allows smoking,” he pointed out. “And if you believe that thirdhand smoke is harmful, you probably believe that eating poppyseed bagels will turn you into a heroin addict.”
Spann urged residents of Alexandria – smokers and non-smokers alike – to contact their city council representatives and hospital administrators to reconsider their position on smoking bans and, instead, support the rights of individual business owners to decide for themselves whether or not to smoke.
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Tony Tortorici

Premium Cigar Retailers Say ‘No’ to Proposed Alexandria LA Smoking Ban

Alexandria, Louisiana? August 9, 2011 – The crossroads of Louisiana may well be at a crossroads of its own when it comes to recognizing the rights of its citizens and local businesses.

Alexandria sits in the geographic center of the state of Louisiana.? City leaders passed a smoking ban in restaurants one year before the state did in 2007. Now some city officials are considering a total ban, a move that would eliminate the exemption of Alexandria’s bars and gaming establishments from the statewide ban.

“Statewide, the only places you cannot smoke are restaurants. For several years now, a small group of prohibitionists have consistently failed in their efforts to expand the state’s smoking ban to include bars.? Although we are grateful that cigar shops and cigar bars are exempt from the state ban, the Alexandria proposal is simply a local attempt to get around the state’s defiant rejection of a more restrictive smoking ban,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director for the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

McCalla said that legislated smoking bans are an affront to the rights of citizens and businesses alike.

“We fully support the right of individual business owners to choose to make their establishments smoke free or not. However, when the government steps in and tells them how to run their businesses, it has gone too far. That’s what legislated smoking bans do,” he said.

The IPCPR is an international association of retailers and manufacturers of premium cigars, pipes, tobaccos and related accoutrements with dozens of members throughout the state of Louisiana.

“Extending the smoking? ban in this Central Louisiana city could have a negative economic impact throughout the state where we have dozens of members – small businesses that employ local workers and pay local salaries,? and local, state and federal taxes. Why, in these perilous economic times, would any legislator – local, state or federal – take up a virtually meaningless yet job-killing issue like extended smoking bans?” McCalla asked.

McCalla also challenged claims being made by prohibitionists who seek support for their position.

“They are making health-related claims that are outrageous and indefensible. They are quoted in the local media as saying lives are being lost because of the limited smoking ban. This is a ridiculous claim that needs to be challenged.? They can’t substantiate it, because it’s not true. They say a compromise should be reached on the subject.? Well, when Americans start compromising their rights and freedoms, they are embarking on a slippery slope toward lost freedoms of all kinds,” asserted McCalla.

McCalla urged Alexandria residents to tell their city council representatives that an expanded smoking ban is not needed, not necessary and unwanted in this Rapide Parish city.

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