People Ban: KS Pratt and Pratt County


Kansas Pratt and Pratt County Update

IPCPR Advises Kansas Locales to Drop Smoking Ban Consideration

PRATT, Kansas? November 10, 2008 — As Pratt and Pratt County commissioners consider instituting a smoking ban throughout the city and county, the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association reminded legislators that business owners have the constitutional right to decide such matters themselves and that the health aspects of secondhand smoke are grossly misrepresented.

Both the city and county commissioners are expected to decide soon whether or not to take up the smoking ban issue by the end of this year and have requested comments from the public.

“Our position is simple:? Governments have the right to decide whether or not smoking should be permitted in government buildings and on government property, just as business owners have the right to decide the same regarding their own property.? However, government does not have the right to tell business owners how to run their businesses,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.

“Many businesses have already decided to not allow smoking on their premises.? That’s their choice and they have the right to do so.? Other businesses, like cigar stores, cigar bars and others, depend on the ability of their customers to enjoy an occasional premium cigar for social and celebratory purposes.? They don’t need government telling them what they can or cannot do,” he said.

McCalla also questioned the quality of claims being made regarding secondhand smoke.

“The Surgeon General’s Report of 2006 has been twisted and misinterpreted by anti-smoking forces.? That 707-page report stated no less than 108 times that evidence regarding the health aspects of secondhand smoke is inconclusive.? The Environmental Protection Agency issued a report on secondhand smoke in 1992 that is still used by tobacco-control groups even though the report was vacated in 1998 by a federal judge because its conclusions were not supported by reliable scientific evidence,” McCalla said.

McCalla further pointed out that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established safe exposure levels for secondhand smoke and wrote in 1997 that “field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that it would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that (those levels would be exceeded).”? In addition, he pointed out that Oak Ridge National Laboratory testing wrote that results of air quality testing of secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants “were considerably below limits established by OSHA.”

“So, it is with all due respect that we strongly recommend that the city and county commissioners decide against pursuing a smoking ban in Pratt and Pratt County,” said McCalla.


Tony Tortorici

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