Cigar News for October 2011 - Second Edition
Written by Puff Staff

Monday, 10 October 2011

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Alexandria, Louisiana’s Anti-smoking Efforts Catch IPCPR’s Attention


Alexandria, Louisiana, recently joined the long list of U.S. cities with anti-smoking policies in place, as its city council amended a smoking ban that will now include bars. The ban, which goes into effect on January 2, 2012, is not the city’s only anti-smoking move, however, as officials at its Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital said they would institute a complete anti-tobacco policy beginning on July 1 of next year.

Although Alexandria’s latest policy changes are certainly points in favor of the anti-smoking crowd, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) holds a completely different view. The IPCPR spoke out against the actions, calling them irrational and baseless. Approximately 2,000 members make up the IPCPR, a not-for-profit organization which was formed to represent tobacconists and suppliers against unjust legislation.

IPCPR CEO Bill Spann commented on the amended smoking ban in the official press release from PRWeb: “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.” As for why the council was so quick to vote in favor of the ban on smoking in bars, Spann stated that anti-smoking extremists used loose, biased statistics and political pressure to influence voting.

Regarding the Alexandria hospital’s total anti-smoking policy set to begin next year, Spann believes officials acted without any concrete evidence supporting the move. He said: “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.”

Spann used the safe levels of secondhand smoke instituted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to support his argument, stating: “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. And if you believe that thirdhand smoke is harmful, you probably believe that eating poppyseed bagels will turn you into a heroin addict.”

Instead of simply accepting the new policies, Spann encouraged Alexandria residents to contact city council members and hospital officials to voice their displeasure. Rather than implementing new smoking bans that encroach on the rights of individuals, Spann said the decision to institute such policies should be left up to the business owners themselves. Hopefully, if there is enough pressure applied, these unjust bans will be reconsidered before they are put into effect.

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