INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana General Assembly adjourned last week before acting on a proposed statewide smoking ban that would have cost the state untold jobs and tax revenues, said the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
This session's rejected smoking ban was the fourth bid by Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary, Indiana to ban smoking in all public places except casinos and horse tracks.
"Our Indiana association members and their customers had a lot to do with effectively defeating this proposed legislation," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR. "They contacted their state representatives and senators in opposition to the bill because it was discriminatory, unnecessary and it would have cost jobs and tax revenues."
McCalla explained that legislated smoking bans are not only unnecessary, they attack the personal rights of smokers and non-smokers, alike. It is the right of every business owner to declare their businesses smoke-free or not, he added.
"It is not up to government to make that decision," declared McCalla, "and customers can decide for themselves if they want to patronize a place that does or does not allow smoking on the premises. I think people are getting fed up with government telling them what they can and cannot do," McCalla said.
In response to Brown's claims that smoking bans do not hurt revenue at bars and restaurants, McCalla cited the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis regarding the proven negative effects on businesses from legislated smoking bans.
"The Fed has found that, based on impartial data generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, significant employment declines result from forced smoking bans, especially in bars and restaurants due to lost revenues," he said.
McCalla also said a smoking ban that includes cigar stores, smoke shops and cigar bars would have a ruinous effect on those family-owned neighborhood businesses.
"The General Assembly did the right thing at the right time for the state of Indiana and for that we are grateful. If the issue is raised again in the future, however, we will be ready once again to defend our rights and the rights of all the state's citizens and help defeat any such bills," McCalla said.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Source: Cigar Advisor