Sunday, February 13, 2005

Fri Feb 11, 2005
Groups hope to snuff out smoking in apartments

Hi, I wanted to share this with everyone. We DO have a voice. It's beginning to work!


Friday, February 11, 2005
Groups hope to snuff out smoking in apartments

Dear Shantell:

I am sorry that my response to you is about 30 minutes past your deadline. Hopefully you will still find it useful.
Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Group - - Respect Freedom of Choice!
Groups hope to snuff out smoking in apartments

Smoking in one's home is an individual choice. Landlords and management companies are in business to make a profit, the same as any other business. I first became acquainted with the campaign for smoke free apartments on the American Cancer Society's web page a few months ago. If the ACS would devote as much time and money on cancer research (their original purpose) as they spend persecuting smokers, the medical profession might be able to find a cure in our life times.

Landlords are already charging a significant markup on apartments, along with security deposits to protect their property. I believe this new campaign is being promoted only by anti smoking organizations. No matter how much ground smokers have given to non-smokers, it is never enough for American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, the CDC, Smoke Free Kids, etc. These gigantic charitable and government organizations continually need to promote new campaigns to ensure continued funding.

The anti organizations are not concerned with the interests of private businesses, as they have made very apparent by their blatant disregard for the interests of restaurant and bar owners in their obsession to force legislature banning smoking all over our country.

The Smoke-Free Environments Law Project at was not initiated by apartment building management companies or landlords. The TCSG is responsible for this project.

The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc. (TCSG), since its inception in 1972, has been a non-profit research, training and social policy organization dedicated to promoting the individual autonomy of older persons and advancing their well-being in society. TCSG has pursued this goal through a wide variety of projects, including serving since 1985 as an Administration on Aging-funded National Support Center in Law & Aging.

If landlords choose to delegate some or all their apartments smoke free, as you pointed out in your news story today, they will be initiating new problems for themselves with the enforcement of their policies. The additional man hours involved will be cutting their profit margins. Also, new leases will be required to legalize smoke free rentals. I believe the long range result of smoking/non smoking rentals will be increased cost to the renter. Hotel and travel lodging accommodations charge smokers and non-smokers the same rate. They are aware of cleaning costs, but choose not to penalize smokers. Auto rental agencies also have smoking and non-smoking vehicles, but charge all renters the same rates.

Smokers still represent about one quarter of our population. Most smokers were slow to anger, but are becoming increasingly stubborn and angry about blatant taxation, denormalization and social engineering discriminating against smoking adults choosing to use a legal product.

If apartment buildings and complexes decide to delegate all or some of their rentals as non-smoking, that is their choice. Smoke is not a magic substance that filters through glass and walls, contrary to what the anti-smokers would have people believe. Designating smoking and nonsmoking apartments will create new complications and expenses for the owners. Additional security deposits for smokers will only encourage renters to enforce their right to inspect potential rental properties to be sure the premises have really been cleaned and painted before committing to a lease. If this is what landlords should decide choose, it will be their choice.

I think the entire idea is ridiculous.
Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Group - - Respect Freedom of Choice!

From: "Shantell Kirkendoll"
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 8:24 AM
Subject: smoke-free apartments

Thanks for your response to my email. I was sorry we didn't have the chance
to include your input in the story but hope you'd be willing to give some
perspective to a follow up story.
I'd like to hear your point of view on whether it's feasible, or appropriate
to control smoking in buildings.
What are you concerns about the campaign?
Are you completely opposed to the move, or would say, one or two smoke-free
buildings within a multi-building complex, be reasonable?
If you're able to respond by 3 p.m. Friday I'd be grateful.

Shantell M. Kirkendoll, Health Writer

The Flint Journal
200 E. First St.
Flint, MI 48502


Groups hope to snuff out smoking in apartments

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
By Shantell M. Kirkendoll • 810.766.6366

GENESEE COUNTY - No pets. No smokers?

A smoke-free apartments campaign is under way urging landlords to ban smoking in their buildings to reduce their tenants' exposure to secondhand smoke.

The Genesee County Health Department; Smoke-free, Multi-Agency Resource Team; and the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project of the Center for Social Gerontology announced the campaign Tuesday.

Landlords were sent a survey this month to determine how many smoke-free apartments are available. The listing will be posted on the Web site

"The information on the Web site also makes it clear that going smoke-free saves money for landlords," said Kay Doerr, a member of the Genesee County Board of Health. "Smoke-free policies reduce maintenance costs and risk of fires."

But landlords say smoke-free policies could create a new headache.

"It would be almost impossible to police," said Becky Abbott, manager of River Hollow and River Forest Apartments in Flint Township, which prohibit smokers from lighting up in hallways and stairwells. "We aren't in their apartments every day. Do you follow the smell of smoke?"

The smoke-free apartment campaign began this month in Genesee, Ingham, Ogemaw, Sanilac, Washtenaw and 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula.

Genesee County is one of three in Michigan that legally bans smoking inside most workplaces. Hotels, bowling alleys and restaurants are the exceptions.

But SMART Coalition Coordinator Ann Golden, a health department staff member, said residents have complained to the county about secondhand smoke seeping into their apartments.

People with asthma and lung diseases have requested information about smoke-free places to live, she said, but no list has been available.

In Michigan, one in four adults is a smoker and nearly 15,000 die annually from tobacco use. The Michigan Surgeon General estimates secondhand smoke causes another 1,800 to die yearly.

"This is the new frontier in combating secondhand smoke," said Jim Bergman, director of SFELP, in Ann Arbor.

"People who live in apartments and condominiums have a need and a right to be protected from secondhand smoke that insidiously creeps into their apartment from a neighboring unit."

For now, the campaign aims to persuade landlords to voluntarily adopt smoke-free policies, Bergman said in a news release, and they've made no moves to create legislation.

"Currently very few landlords are aware they have a legal right to adopt smoke-free policies in their buildings and that there is no 'right to smoke,' " he said.

Renters who smoke don't have much recourse, said a legal expert. Private landlords can ban smoking, said Kary Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

Already some Genesee County landlords are charging smokers higher security deposits to cover cleanup costs after the smoker moves, said Robert Bessert, vice president of Piper Realty in Flint.

An extra $150 is standard, he said. Usually, apartments need two coats of paint, instead of a single coat, and blinds and ceilings get soiled by smoke too.

"A one- or two-year lease won't make much of a difference," Abbott said. "A lady who lived here 15 years smoked. Needless to say, the walls were discolored. Crayon yellow."

Georgetown Park in Fenton does not ban smoking in its apartments, but it's beginning to field questions about smoke-free units, said property manager Jolene Sarlund.

"It's a great idea, and I'd love to do it if, honestly, just to save time picking up cigarette butts every day," she said. "Still I think from the management side, (a smoking ban) would be a nightmare to enforce."

Sharon Stroud, property manager at Kings Lane in Burton, said she has reservations about the smoke-free campaign on principle.

"Even though it's a rental, it's still the privacy of their home," she said.

On the Web:

Friday, February 11, 2005 6:12 PM
Apartment Smoking Bans

Hi Shantell,

I didn't have time to tell you earlier that I thought your story today was excellent. It was very informative and unbiased. Anti-smoking groups always leave big holes in their cases against smokers. The poor lady who lived in her apartment for 15 years might have a serious complaint against the landlords of her apartment, if they didn't paint it in all that time. The standard length of time between repainting any living space is about six years....for everyone. If "insidious smoke" is accused of creeping into adjoining apartments, imagine what grease and odors from cooking must do! This is just another ploy of antis to further complicate our lives in their greed for power and money.

Once again, thank you for considering the pro-smoker viewpoint. I didn't see your e-mail until shortly before your deadline. You are doing a great job and thank you for considering all viewpoints.

Garnet Dawn

Feb 10, 2005
State Supreme Court snuffs Pierce County smoking ban - Washington state

A great victory for Pierce County, but now smokers need to address the state legislature before it is too late. Neither of the proposed bills are acceptable.


State Supreme Court snuffs Pierce County smoking ban
By Rebecca Cook
Thursday, February 10, 2005
The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Supreme Court struck down Pierce County's smoking ban today.

The ban was the strictest in the state, covering bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, casinos, hotels, private clubs and most other nontribal businesses.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health imposed the ban in January of last year, but three weeks later it was overturned by Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald E. Culpepper, who said the agency lacked the authority to enact it.

The state Supreme Court agreed, saying the health board's smoking ban conflicted with the state law. The state's less restrictive Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in most public places, but exempts restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and casinos.

"The (health board's) resolution, by imposing a complete smoking ban, prohibits what is permitted by state law: the ability of certain business owners and lessees to designate smoking and nonsmoking locations in their establishments," Justice Charles Johnson wrote in the unanimous opinion.

"I'm so happy!" said Janis Johnson, owner of the Pegasus Restaurant in Tacoma, where smoking is permitted. She said she ran through the restaurant telling everyone "we won!" when she heard the news.

"This has been a long, hard-fought battle," said Johnson. "They did the right thing."

The smoking ban was challenged in court by the Entertainment Industry Coalition, representing businesses where smoking is allowed. The high court denied the coalition's request for attorneys' fees from the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health, because it said the health board's defense was rational and not frivolous.

Two bills in the Legislature this year would expand the state's clean air act. One would ban smoking anywhere minors are allowed, including restaurants but excluding bars; the other would mimic the Pierce County ban and prohibit smoking in all indoor public places statewide. Gov. Christine Gregoire said this week she will sign either one, though the less-restrictive ban stands a better chance of passing.

The Supreme Court case is Entertainment Industry Coalition v. Tacoma-Pierce Co. Bd. of Health, No. 75675-9.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

Feb 10, 2005
My Opinion - Weyco - Have We Taken A Step Backward?

I wonder how many people have considered the possibility that this anti-smoking move by Weyco may have been orchestrated by the Antis and Nannies. This issue has indirectly succeeded in taking smoking bans one step further. If smokers and friendly non-smokers continue along this path, we will be acknowledging our acceptance of restrictions to no longer take breaks, smoke during working hours or smoke on the grounds of any employer.

It seems to me, that by giving this Nazi company so much attention, smokers are initiating the concept among employers and government that we do not object to being forbidden to smoke anywhere but in our own homes. Smokers are being tricked into volunteering acceptance of more restrictions. The CDC, American Lung Assoc. and Cancer Society must be laughing and toasting to our stupidity.

Unions were instituted at a great cost to many who believed in decent standards for working people and were willing to fight for their beliefs. I personally do not believe in present day unions, but they are still an excellent source of checks-and-measures for employers. The mere existence of unions has forced employers to respect employer/employee-relation standards. Our currently recognized practice of work breaks and lunch have not always existed. We are taking a giant step backward by continuing to set our sites on just defeating Weyco-type corporations. I hope Weyco has already served it's purpose in alerting the public and media of just how far everyone's civil rights have deteriorated, and that smoking bans are immoral. However, we cannot prostrate ourselves in relation to other smoking issues to win one battle. I think we need to consider the overall results.
Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Group - - Respect Freedom of Choice!

Feb 10, 2005
Study: Youth Smoking Impairs Thinking, Memory

Below is another ridiculous study. Is this where Yale researchers currently concentrate their energies? Our anti smoking health professionals are really grabbing at straws with this one. They used 73 teens for their test. This study suggests to me that previous studies regarding reduced intelligence among teens, exposed to smoking environments, haven't been very conclusive or convincing to the public.

The fact that they were testing the 41 smoking kids after tobacco cessation is rather obscured in Join Together's story. I imagine the boys being tested felt the tests were stupid and were thinking about going outside for a cigarette. (I've also included the actual report on the study below.)
Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Group - - Respect Freedom of Choice!
Study: Youth Smoking Impairs Thinking, Memory

Nicotine has been shown to sharpen concentration among adults, but the opposite may be true for young smokers, according to researchers at Yale University.

A study of 41 adolescent smokers and 32 nonsmokers found that the smokers performed worse in tests of working memory, used when keeping in mind and manipulating information. Young male smokers performed especially poorly in tests of selective and divided attention, and memory was disrupted further when study subjects stopped smoking.

"Adolescent smokers were found to have impairments in accuracy of working memory performance," Jacobsen said. "These findings underscore the importance of efforts aimed at preventing smoking initiation in adolescents. They also show adolescents who are trying to quit smoking may need additional educational support."

The study was published in the Jan. 1, 2005 issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- _ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T4S-4F1HPHV-D&_user=10&_handle=B-WA-A-W-WA-MsSAYVA-UUW-AAAUZUVUCW-AAUYAYVYCW-EAAYDAWUU-WA-U&_fmt=full&_coverDate=01%2F01%2F2005&_rdoc=13&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%234982%232005%23999429998%23542260! _cdi=4982&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=9766b03c9596a8c8ae4388dd9939e7c8
Effects of smoking and smoking abstinence on cognition in adolescent tobacco smokers

Leslie K. Jacobsen (a, b), John H. Krystala (a), W. Einar Mencle (e), Michael Westerveld (c, d), Stephen J. Froste (e), and Kenneth R. Pughb (b)

a Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
b Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
c Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
d Department of Child Study, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
e Haskins Laboratory, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Received 27 February 2004; revised 15 June 2004, 28 September 2004; accepted 20 October 2004. Available online 15 December 2004.

In adult animals and humans, nicotine can produce short-term cognitive enhancement and, in some cases, neuroprotection. Recent work in animals, however, suggests that exposure to nicotine during adolescence might be neurotoxic. We tested for evidence of acute and chronic effects of tobacco smoking on cognition in adolescents who smoked tobacco daily and were compared with adolescent nonsmokers.

Verbal working memory, verbal learning and memory, selective, divided, sustained attention, mood, symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and tobacco craving were examined in 41 adolescent daily smokers and 32 nonsmokers who were similar in age, gender, and education. Analyses were controlled for general intelligence, reading achievement, parental educational attainment, baseline affective symptoms, and lifetime exposure to alcohol and cannabis.

In adolescent smokers, cessation of tobacco use increased tobacco craving, symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and depressed mood. Adolescent smokers were found to have impairments in accuracy of working memory performance irrespective of recency of smoking. Performance decrements were more severe with earlier age of onset of smoking. Adolescent smokers experienced further disruption of working memory and verbal memory during smoking cessation. As a group, male smokers initiated smoking at an earlier age than female smokers and were significantly more impaired during tests of selective and divided attention than female smokers and nonsmokers.

Adolescent daily tobacco smokers experience acute impairments of verbal memory and working memory after smoking cessation, along with chronic decrements in cognitive performance that are consistent with preclinical evidence that neurotoxic effects of nicotine are more severe when exposure to nicotine occurs at earlier periods in development.

Thu Feb 10, 2005
Study: Youth Smoking Impairs Thinking, Memory
From Michael McFadden:

Good catch Dawn! :)

The study also nicely (and probably deliberately) declines to examine cross confounding with alcohol use. Why do I say "probably deliberately" ? Just take a look at the detail in the paragraph below, and then think about how easy it would have been for them to throw in a question about alcohol use. It wasn't done. Why? What possible reason could there be for ignoring such an obvious confounder OTHER than the fact that it would hurt their Antismoking conclusion.

Check the note after the paragraph as well:

Across test sessions, smokers performed significantly less accurately than nonsmokers during the binaural 1-back (smoker’s D′ = 2.9 ± .4, nonsmoker’s D′ = 3.1 ± .4), dichotic 1-back (smoker’s D′ = 2.4 ± .5, nonsmoker’s D′ = 2.8 ± .5), and dichotic 2-back (smoker’s D′ = 1.7 ± .5, nonsmoker’s D′ = 2.3 ± .5) tasks (Table 2). Examination of the contribution of performance during smoking and abstinence conditions to these effects of group showed that group differences in performance were smaller during the smoking condition than during the abstinence condition, except for the dichotic 2-back task, for which the effect of group was significant during both smoking and abstinence conditions

This is where Garnet's catch was good: "except for the dichotic 2-back test" In other words, they ran a whole bunch of different numbers, and it sounds like the ONLY one where smokers did significantly more poorly when they weren't deprived of smoking was in this one obscure test.

Now, the whole idea of a 95% confidence in research is that you're saying that, at least as far as pure statistical chance goes (which has NOTHING to do with causality or how "good" the study was) there's less than one chance in twenty of the result being pure luck. This is where Garnet's catch was good: "except for the dichotic 2-back test" In other words, they ran a whole bunch of different numbers, and it sounds like the ONLY one where smokers did significantly more poorly when they weren't deprived of smoking was in this one obscure test. Now, the whole idea of a 95% confidence in research is that you're saying that, at least as far as pure statistical chance goes (which has NOTHING to do with causality or how "good" the study was) there's less than one chance in twenty of the result being pure luck.

That works fine if you're doing a single study. But if you do TWENTY studies or examine TWENTY variables.... well, there's a damn good chance that at least ONE of them will meet 95% on pure luck.

- Michael

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Wed Feb 9, 2005
Good News - Senate rejects bill to ban smoking in public places - Virginia

Garnet Dawn

"The 26-14 vote was a clear indication that lawmakers aren't ready to further restrict the state's top cash crop."
The Roanoke Times

By Kevin Miller
(804) 697-1584
Wednesday, February 09, 2005

RICHMOND - The full Senate snuffed out a bill Tuesday that would have banned smoking in most public places and businesses, including restaurants.

Bill sponsor Sen. Bill Mims jokingly predicted that the golden tobacco leaves painted on the Senate chamber ceiling would not fall to the ground should the Senate vote to enact tough anti-smoking laws. But the lopsided 26-14 vote moments later made it clear that Virginia lawmakers aren't ready to further restrict the state's top cash crop - or the people who choose to buy it. Senate Bill 1191 - the so-called "Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act" - would have prohibited smoking in most enclosed, indoor areas used by the general public.

Those wishing to light up in a business or public building would be restricted to specially marked smoking rooms walled off from nonsmoking areas.

That meant restaurants, convenience stores and other businesses would have to go smoke-free or at least create separate, enclosed areas for smokers.

The bill would not have applied to stand-alone bars, private residences, hotel rooms designated as smoking rooms or businesses in which all employees vote to allow smoking.

Mims said second-hand smoke causes an estimated 50,000 deaths a year in the United States. Children, adults suffering from heart problems and the elderly are most at risk of smoke-related illnesses, he said.

"It's also about the rights of every Virginian," Mims said. "If you are a smoker, you have the right to smoke in private, you have the right to smoke outdoors and you have the right to smoke in certain limited areas indoors in public places. And if you are not a smoker, you have the right to remain free of the poisonous effects of second-hand smoke."

The bill's opponents, meanwhile, said business owners already have the right to restrict smoking - and are doing so in response to public demand.

Critics said government should not interfere with the free market or take away the rights of proprietors to make their own decision.

"The place where decisions need to be made is the marketplace, not on the floor of the legislature," said Sen. Charles Hawkins, a Chatham Republican and one of the Senate's fiercest defenders of tobacco interests.

Four Republicans joined 10 Democrats to support the bill. Democratic Sen. John Edwards of Roanoke and Republican Sen. Brandon Bell of Roanoke County voted for the measure.

Included among the naysayers were Democratic Sens. Creigh Deeds of Bath County and Roscoe Reynolds of Henry County and Republican Sens. Steve Newman of Lynchburg and Emmett Hanger of Augusta County.

Tue Feb 8, 2005
More college students smoking - Number of smokers at Illinois increased 4 percent since 2003


I've been wanting to post this article for a few days, but there has been so much other news lately. It proves pro-smokers' viewpoint that no amount of threats, legislation or taxation is going to eradicate smoking. College students are ignoring the antis and kids are still going to "go out behind the barn" to try cigarettes and smoke. Put that in your pipe, American Lung Association, CDC, American Cancer Society, Smoke Free Kids, etc., and smoke it!

Garnet Dawn
More college students smoking
Number of smokers at Illinois increased 4 percent since 2003

By Courtney Klemm
Friday, February 4, 2005

During her free time, Ashley Cragg, junior in LAS, can often be found smoking one cigarette out of the half a pack she consumes daily.

"I started as a social smoker in high school," Cragg said. "The next thing you know, I'm addicted. But I like it. I like smoking and I don't care (about harmful effects)."

According to the University of Michigan's recent Student Life Survey, the number of college smokers is continuing to rise. It is now predicted that about 30 percent of college students used tobacco at least once in the past 30 days, according to the Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium Web site.

Ilene Harned, coordinator of the alcohol and other drugs office at McKinley Health Center, said that although the University has lower rates than the national average for those who have smoked in the past 30 days, the percentages for 2004 are higher than those in 2003.

30.6 percent of University students surveyed in 2004 said they had smoked in the past 30 days, as compared to 26.4 in 2003, Harned said. However, she did note that these rates were down from 33.4 percent in 1999.

"There are many social and recreation smokers," Harned said. "They think it's easy to quit, but once they get to a certain point, it's hard to stop."

Cragg attributed the rising percentages to overall growing rates of smokers.

"I think there's a bigger population of smokers in general," she said. "Plus a lot of freshmen come to college and start. Alcohol and cigarettes go hand in hand."

Harned said many smokers who come to McKinley were already noticing short-term effects of cigarette use.

"We've seen an increase in physical health problems," she said. "More have asthma and respiratory problems. One reason students want to quit is their physical condition isn't as good."

However, Harned said, quitting is not just about the physical withdrawals. Cigarettes also become psychologically addictive and habitual. They are more complicated than people think, she said.

Cragg said she felt most young smokers are aware of the dangers of smoking but don't give it a second thought.

"I don't like getting lectured about it because I know it's bad for me and it could kill me," she said. "I'm 21 years old. I'm not dumb to it. My grandpa died of cancer from smoking all his life. It's not like I haven't seen what it's done to people."

Some students feel strongly about not participating in the popular habit despite temptations at social scenes.

"It never really appealed to me," said Jonathan Bentz, senior in ACES. "My parents had me try it when I was younger, so I would have a bad taste of it."

Bentz said he thinks campaigns and programs are not going to decrease smoking rates until people decide personally not to smoke.

"People are going to do it no matter what," Bentz said. "You can show them pictures of (cancerous) lungs or rotting teeth, but it's not going to affect people all the same way. We have the right to choose how we live our lives."

Tue Feb 8, 2005
Illinois targets 48 drug firms - Madigan alleges Medicaid fraud

I was very glad to read this story. Though it does not directly addressing smoking issues, to paraphrase a well know quote, "Any enemy of my enemy (big pharmaceutical companies) is my friend". Also, several states are using Medicaid deficits as an excuse to raise taxes again on cigarettes.


Illinois targets 48 drug firms
Madigan alleges Medicaid fraud

By John Chase and Bruce Japsen, Tribune staff reporters. Tribune staff reporter Ray Long contributed to this report
Published February 8, 2005

Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan's office on Monday sued dozens of major drugmakers, accusing them of defrauding the state by overcharging government programs and Illinois Medicare customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Madigan's suit, which targets 48 big drugmakers including Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories and Baxter International Inc., is the latest assault in a wave of attacks on the pharmaceutical industry. Prosecutors in at least 19 other states over the last two years have brought a series of similar complaints as part of an ongoing effort to rein in the soaring costs of prescription drugs.

Filed late Monday in Cook County Circuit Court, Madigan's suit accuses the firms of engaging in a "scheme" for more than a decade by bilking the Medicaid program and Medicare participants out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The companies are accused of intentionally misreporting and inflating the figures that are used to calculate Medicaid reimbursement rates.

The complaint, which does not seek a specific dollar amount, but asks for millions in restitution, alleges that the drug companies charge doctors, hospitals and pharmacies far less for medicines than the prices the firms publish for those drugs. Those published prices are then used by health-care providers when seeking reimbursement from the state for the care of Medicaid patients.

Madigan alleged that the arrangement creates a financial incentive for health-care providers to prescribe certain medicines.

"Drug companies have manipulated the average wholesale prices," Madigan said in a statement.

Suit outlines alleged `scheme'

The suit highlights an example of what Madigan claimed was evidence of how Illinois is being cheated:

The Pharmacia Corp., which has since become part of Pfizer Inc., reported to the state in April 2000 that the average wholesale price for its breast cancer drug Adriamycin was $241.36 a month and sought reimbursement from Medicaid at that rate for patients who received it. But, according to the suit, the drugmaker was actually selling the medicine to others for as low as $33.43.

According to the attorney general's office, about 1.8 million Illinois citizens, or 14 percent, were enrolled in Medicaid in December 2004. The state pays all prescription drug costs for Medicaid patients.

States have been dealing with significant budget shortfalls, some of which they blame on the costs of Medicaid health insurance programs for the poor, which analysts say have jumped by more than 25 percent in recent years, largely because of pharmaceutical prices.

Officials with the major pharmaceutical companies had not seen the complaint by late Monday and declined to comment on Madigan's charges.

But, reacting to similar charges leveled in lawsuits filed by other states, officials at both Baxter in Deerfield and North Chicago-based Abbott denied any wrongdoing.

A spokeswoman for Baxter said federal and state agencies specify what formulas they use to reimburse health-care providers.

"Over the last several years, Baxter has been named together with dozens of pharmaceutical companies in a number of lawsuits involving average wholesale pricing," said Baxter spokeswoman Deborah Spak. "We have acted in a responsible, lawful and transparent manner and are vigorously defending these suits. It is important to keep in mind that we as a manufacturer do not determine the amount of reimbursement to health-care providers."

Abbott spokesman Jonathon Hamilton said the firm has consistently complied with all pricing laws and regulations.

"Abbott has properly and lawfully provided information to the government and to the independent drug reporting services on which the government relies in setting reimbursement," he said.

Madigan's suit comes as the issue of taming drug pricing and industry marketing tactics tops the list of issues this year for the National Association of Attorneys General. While leading a two-day meeting in Chicago last month, Vermont Atty. Gen. William Sorrell, the group's current president, said the subject is the most important for the organization.

Congressional investigators have alleged that the pricing system used by drugmakers has resulted in overpayments by government insurers of at least $800 million annually, while patients--through their co-pays-- spend an extra $200 million a year.

Although other states have brought actions against pharmaceutical firms, Madigan chief deputy Barry Gross said the attorney general wanted to file a suit in Illinois because the state's laws on such matters are stronger than most other states.

"We believe the Illinois consumer laws provide a strong argument in opposition to the drug companies' claims," Gross said.

Mail-order pact released

The attorney general's suit was filed less than an hour before the state was forced to deal with another matter related to prescription drugs: Illinois' contract with the mail-order pharmacy Caremark Inc.

Late Monday, Comptroller Dan Hynes released a copy of the full terms of the state's $200 million-a-year contract with the pharmaceutical giant, which the firm had tried unsuccessfully to keep secret.

A Cook County judge last week ordered the release of the contract, siding with Hynes and Madigan, as well as the Chicago Tribune and the Illinois Press Association. The Tribune and two Republican state senators had filed separate requests for contract details under the Freedom of Information Act.

Cook County Circuit Judge Mary Anne Mason rejected Caremark's argument the contract contained trade secrets that should not be revealed and gave the company until 5 p.m. Monday to appeal. Gerard Carney, spokesman for Caremark, said the company would honor the ruling.

The newly released documents included terms that showed the state will pay the company $6 for each prescription filled by retail drugstores, an amount that could cost the state up to $1.2 million. The $6 figure and other details released Monday already were aired last year during a public hearing in the House.

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

Mon Feb 7, 2005
Dismissed Weyco smokers hit major TV shows - Michigan


Here are two updates on Weyco. It's going to be in the news for a while.

A Michigan senator said he will "introduce legislation today that makes it illegal to fire an employee for engaging in legal activity outside the workplace", and a 14-year employee got to tell her side of Weyco's employment practices. Another point of interest is that Michigan lawmakers did pass a bill to protect smokers about ten years ago, but it was vetoed by the governor at that time.

Garnet Dawn

Dismissed Weyco smokers hit major TV shows
Fired staff to be on NBC, CBS and ABC today
Published February 7, 2005
By Sharon Terlep
Lansing State Journal

A state lawmaker from Lansing wants to change employment rules in Michigan that allowed an Okemos company to fire employees for smoking off the job.

Sen. Virg Bernero, a Democrat, said he will introduce legislation today that makes it illegal to fire an employee for engaging in legal activity outside the workplace.

Meanwhile, four fired employees of Weyco Inc. are taking their story public this morning with appearances on national news shows.

"When this happened, I said, 'You can't do this to me,' " Anita Epolito told the State Journal on Sunday, speaking publicly for the first time about her firing.

Epolito, of Haslett, is scheduled to appear on ABC, CBS and NBC today with her three fired co-workers and Bernero.

"I felt so violated that something I do in the privacy of my home that is legal can get me fired," she said.

During her 14 years as a receptionist and special events coordinator at Weyco, Epolito said, she called in sick no more than five times and never received health insurance from the company.

Officials at Weyco, an insurance benefits administrator, have said they won't employ smokers because of the increased cost of health care due to the effects of smoking.

Gary Climes, Weyco's chief financial officer, said Sunday he had nothing to say about the proposed change in the law. If passed, it wouldn't affect the Weyco firings because they already have taken place.

"We're not going to lobby against it," Climes said.

The company instituted a policy on Jan. 1 that makes it a firing offense to smoke. Weyco notified employees of the change in November 2003. One employee quit before the policy took place. Epolito and her coworkers were fired after refusing an anti-smoking test.

The case already has drawn international attention and spurred debate over Michigan employment law.

The state's at-will employment law gives bosses the right to fire people for nearly any reason, or for no reason.

Michigan also lacks "smoker's rights" laws found in 29 other states.

Bernero's bill would prohibit firing anyone for legal leisure time activities, including smoking. There would be exceptions for behavior that affects an employee's performance or creates a conflict of interest, Bernero said.

The bill will go to a Senate committee for review. A timeline has not been set.

"The question is, 'Where do you draw the line?' " Bernero said. "The way it is now, you can be fired for coloring your hair or wearing a blue shirt on Sunday."

Bernero said he believes he'll get support for the bill from lawmakers in both parties.

State Sen. Michelle McManus, R-Lake Leelanau, said she's willing to consider the bill.

She's not overly empathetic, however, with employees who get fired because they violate company policies - no matter what those policies are.

"If you know that going into the situation, you're aware of what could happen," she said.

Contact Sharon Terlep at 377-1066 or .
On the national news
• Four employees fired last month by Okemos-based Weyco Inc. because they smoke are scheduled to appear between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. today on ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "Early Edition" and NBC's "Today Show."
Michigan lawmakers passed a bill protecting smokers about 10 years ago, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. John Engler, said ACLU of Michigan spokeswoman Wendy Wagenheim.

Workers told 'no smoking,' even if it's at home
February 2, 2005, 4:20 PM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A Michigan company's decision to show the door to workers who smoke, even if it's on their own time, has alarmed privacy and workers' rights advocates and raised concerns about whether pizza boxes and six packs are the next to go.

Okemos-based Weyco Inc., a medical benefits administrator, said its offer of smoking cessation classes and support groups helped 18 to 20 of the company's nearly 200 workers quit smoking over the past 15 months.

But the four who couldn't -- or wouldn't -- no longer had jobs on Jan. 1.

"We had told them they had a choice, and they chose to leave basically before the policy took effect," said Weyco chief financial officer Gary Climes. "We're not saying you can't smoke in your home. We just say you can't smoke and work here."

Such policies basically say employers can tell workers how to live their lives even in the privacy of their own homes, something they have no business doing, said Lewis Maltby, president of The National Workrights Institute in Princeton, N.J., a part of the American Civil Liberties Union until 2000.

"If a company said, "We're going to cut down on our health care costs by forbidding anyone from eating at McDonald's,' they could do it," he said. "There are a thousand things about people's private lives that employers don't like for a thousand different reasons."

Some companies, while not going as far as Weyco, are trying to lower their health care costs by refusing to hire any more smokers.

Union Pacific Corp. began rejecting smokers' applications in Texas, Idaho, Tennessee, Arkansas, Washington state, Arizona and parts of Kansas and Nebraska last year and hopes to add more states. On July 1, it will make all Union Pacific property smoke-free, including trains, a policy that now applies only to its company headquarters in Omaha, Neb.

Public affairs director John Bromley said the company estimates it will save $922 annually for each position it fills with a nonsmoker over one who smokes. It hired 5,500 new workers last year and plans to hire 700 this year. About a quarter of the company's 48,000 employees now smoke, and Bromley said it's clear they cost the company more money.

"Looking at our safety records, (we know that) people who smoke seem to have higher accident rates than nonsmokers," he said. "It's no secret that people who smoke have more health issues than nonsmokers."

On Jan. 1, Kalamazoo Valley Community College stopped hiring smokers for full-time positions at both of its Michigan campuses. Part-time staffers who smoke won't be hired for full-time jobs, and the 20 to 25 openings that occur each year among the college's 365 full-time staff positions will go only to nonsmokers.

"Our No. 1 goal is to reduce our health claims," said Sandy Bohnet, vice president for human resources. "Research tends to show that tobacco users lose more time from work. ... So many diseases can be headed off if people simply pay attention to their health care."

Some states protect workers who smoke, saying they can't be discriminated against for that reason. But Michigan is one of 22 states that doesn't have such a law, according to the Washington-based Bureau of National Affairs.

Michigan lawmakers passed a bill protecting smokers about 10 years ago, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. John Engler, said ACLU of Michigan spokeswoman Wendy Wagenheim.

Climes said many companies try to hold down health care costs by increasing copays and deductibles charged to employees. But that doesn't decrease their health care needs.

"One of our goals is to try to help our employees so there's not so much demand on the system," Climes said. To encourage healthy lifestyles, the company reimburses workers for a portion of health club costs, pays them bonuses for meeting fitness goals and offers fitness classes and a walking trail at its Okemos office.

"Obviously we've taken an aggressive position. It may not be something every employer wants to pursue. I think a lot of employers are looking at it because of the costs of smoking," he said.

The Society for Human Resource Management in Arlington, Va., found only one company among 270 surveyed nationally in December that had a formal policy against hiring smokers. About 4 percent said they preferred not to hire smokers, and nearly 5 percent said they charge smokers higher health care premiums, a policy Weyco put in place a year ago.

Even though few companies are copying Weyco's example, "a lot of people are paying attention to this case because it's potentially the edge of a very slippery slope," said Jen Jorgensen, a spokeswoman for the society. "It has raised a lot of eyebrows."

Maltby said he doesn't have a problem with companies raising health insurance premiums for employees who have unhealthy habits. But he worries about what's next on employers' lists.

"If employers are going to make the smokers pay a surcharge, they might as well make the deep-sea divers and the motorcycle riders and the Big Mac eaters and the skiers pay a surcharge," he said. "Smoking, drinking, junk food, lack of exercise, unsafe hobbies, unsafe sex -- the list of things many people do is endless."
Weyco, Inc.:

National Workrights Institute:

Union Pacific Corp.:

Kalamazoo Valley Community College:

Society for Human Resource Management:,1626,ECP_734_3533807,00.html

Convenience stores sued over cigarette advertising
By LEN WELLS Courier & Press correspondent (618) 842-2159 or
February 9, 2005

The Madison County, Ill., law firm that won a $10.1 billion lawsuit against Phillip Morris Tobacco in 2003 has filed eight lawsuits against Carmi, Ill.-based Martin & Bayley, operators of the Huck's Convenience Store chain.

Each suit alleges that Martin & Bayley violated Illinois consumer fraud laws by representing that "light" cigarettes were safer than regular.

The suits were filed Monday by the Belleville, Ill., law firm of Korein Tillery in Madsion County Circuit Court. Within the text of the suits, the plaintiffs allege that Huck's "engaged in misrepresentations, unlawful schemes and conduct that induced the plaintiffs to purchase cigarettes through unfair and deceptive acts."

Salem and Marlboro Lights were specifically named in the suit as allegedly being represented as "safer" than regular cigarettes.

Martin & Bayley has been in operation since 1960. The company was established by partners Bob Martin and Frank Bayley of Carmi. Martin died in 1998.

The firm opened its first Huck's store on Illinois 1 in Grayville in 1974 by converting a former Standard Oil service station into a convenience store. There are now more than 150 Huck's stores operating in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. The company's web site states its current employment stands at about 1,500.

Huck's is an employee-owned company, announcing recently the implementation of an Employee Stock Ownership Program.

Martin & Bayley Chairman and CEO Randy Fulkerson was not available for comment on the lawsuits.

Michael Kelly is one of the eight plaintiffs suing the Carmi firm. Kelly is the administrator of the estate of his father, Everett Kelly who died of lung cancer on June 4, 2003.

The suit alleges that Huck's Convenience Stores "fraudulently represented and sold Phillip Morris' Marlboro Lights cigarettes as having less tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes."

Kelly is seeking a punitive judgment in excess of $50,000.

Another plaintiff, Debra LaTempt claims she was not aware of the high levels of nicotine and tar in Marlboro Lights until after she was diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2003. LaTempt is also seeking a $50,000 punitive judgment, medical expenses, past and future wage loss, and loss of life expectancy.

All eight plaintiffs live in Madison, St. Clair or Monroe Counties, which are located in the Metro-east St. Louis area. Each claims to have purchased "light" cigarettes at Huck's Convenience stores in their neighborhoods and have contracted lung cancer within the past few years.

Officials with the Springfield, Ill.-based Illinois Association of Convenience Stores said they're appalled by the lawsuits.

"We're a law-abiding industry that sells a legal product to responsible adults," said Bill Fleischli, Executive Vice President of the association. "It's like me suing the butcher because I contracted arteriosclerosis - it's just not correct."

Martin & Bayley is a longtime member of the Illinois Association of Convenience Stores. Company president Mark Bayley is in line to be president of the association, which represents 500 company-owned convenience stores throughout Illinois. Officials with Korein Tillery did not return calls about the lawsuits.

February 4, 2005
Class action reform bill could change Madison County's status

Madison County, Ill., may lose its moniker as the nation's top "judicial hellhole" if a bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday becomes law.

The Class Action Fairness Act now goes to the full Senate after passing 13-5 in the committee Thursday.

The bill would require many of the larger class-action suits to be filed in federal court rather than state court, preventing lawyers from shopping their cases around to the most-friendly jurisdiction that typically has no relation to the plaintiffs. In addition, it would prevent payment of small awards to plaintiffs while attorneys get massive fees and payments and prevent settlements in which class members actually lose money.

Last month, President George W. Bush visited Collinsville, Ill., in Madison County to promote tort reform, including placing a $250,000 cap on jury awards for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases, restrictions on class-action lawsuits and reducing asbestos-related suits. He also made the case for reform in his State of the Union address Feb. 2.

Last December, the American Tort Reform Foundation named Madison County and St. Clair County, Ill., the No. 1 and No. 2 "judicial hellholes" in the United States. The report said Madison County is the No. 1 destination for out-of-state plaintiffs and defendants to file suits because of the county's lenient venue rules and reputation for being plaintiff-friendly.

The act has support of both Republican and Democrats, but it also faces opposition. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), said the act is not fair and overrides Americans' rights. He said it is designed to benefit the wealthy and special interests.

A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives this week and is expected to pass.

Legislators are also introducing the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution, which would set up a $140 billion trust fund to compensate victims of asbestos-related illnesses. Businesses and insurers would pay into the fund, and claimants would give up their right to sue.

Thirty percent of all asbestos litigation in the country is filed in Madison County, data show.

© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.

DeLay, Sensenbrenner Hopeful on Class Action Reform; Senate Judiciary Reports S.5 to Floor Without Amendments

2/4/2005 3:09:00 PM
To: National Desk and Legal Reporter

Contact: Dan Allen 202-225-4000 or Jeff Lungren, 202-225-2492, both of the Office of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

SUGAR LAND, Texas., Feb. 4 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) applauded the Senate's recent progress toward making class action reform a reality. Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported S.5 - class action reform -- out of committee without amendments. It now awaits a vote of the full Senate. The two issued the following statement:

"We all know that class action reform is urgently needed. It has been one of our top priorities because it will strengthen our legal system, help grow our economy, and improve our competitiveness throughout the world.

"The Senate Judiciary's recent action in reporting S.5 out of committee without amendments is another step toward realizing our ultimate goal of enacting this desperately needed legislation. Should the Senate pass the committee-reported text of S.5 as is, we will immediately take it up in the House and pass it without alteration, so we can quickly deliver it to the president for his signature."


/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Saturday, February 12, 2005

02/06/05 - YOUR CAREER - Smoke gets in your demise

The exchange (below) with a "career advice" columnist was almost fun, but you have to read her editorial first to be able to appreciate the letters! Terry Gray had the final word!

Posted on Sun, Feb. 06, 2005

YOUR CAREER - Smoke gets in your demise

Want to improve your hiring and promotion odds?

Don't smoke.

Employers are sending signals, both direct and subtle, that they prefer nonsmokers.

Recently, national airwaves were filled with stories about Weyco Inc., which fired four employees who refused to comply with a company policy that required testing for cigarette smoking. The company had announced in 2003 that as of 2005, smokers would be dismissed and no new smokers would be hired.

Howard Weyers, founder of the health-care company in Michigan, said frankly, “I don't want to pay for the results of smoking.”

Weyco and other companies are struggling under four straight double-digit annual increases in health-care insurance costs. The American Lung Association says smokers cost employers an extra $1,000 a year in health-care costs.

Some anti-smoking advocacy organizations, such as Action on Smoking and Health, known as ASH, say that smokers' medical costs are $3,000 a year higher than nonsmokers' and that lost productivity — due to illness and smoking breaks during the day — raises the added cost of employing smokers to about $5,000 a year per smoker.

Money talks.

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that one-third of companies are offering formal smoking cessation programs to their employees. In the survey, 12 percent said they'd prefer not to hire smokers in the first place.

About one in 20 U.S. companies is encouraging nonsmokers by charging smokers more for the employee portion of premium costs. Sprint, for example, allows nonsmoking employees (who testify in an honor system that their households are nonsmoking) to pay 6 percent less of their health-care coverage costs than is required of employees who smoke.

Only about one in 100 U.S. companies, like Weyco, has a flat policy against hiring smokers. In fact, many states have laws that prohibit discrimination against smokers. But laws and policies are only part of the story.

Public opinion plays a role, too. Part of that opinion is increasingly swayed by medical reports. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for example, lists environmental tobacco smoke as a “known human carcinogen” — on par with such substances as asbestos, arsenic and radon.

Only about one in five adult Americans now smokes, and, according to John Banzhaf, ASH executive director, smoking is increasingly concentrated “in the lower socioeconomic classes.”

Aside from not projecting a professional image, smoking to some critics implies a personal weakness in succumbing to a nicotine addiction.

Others are simply turned off by sharing workspaces with people who smell like smoke or have tobacco breath.

Increasingly, the argument that smoking is a personal right is falling on deaf ears. Worries about the effects of secondhand smoke, higher health-care costs and a less-than-stellar professional image are combining to give nonsmokers an edge in many workplaces.

Diane Stafford's careers column
appears on Sundays. Reach her
at or
The Kansas City Star
Attn: Diane Stafford ; Dan Peak, General Manager ; Feedback (does not work)

RE: Rebuttal to YOUR CAREER - Smoke gets in your demise

I do not agree with your advice and I hope you will be fair enough to print my response, defending smokers.

For years, employers have been promoting acceptance of ethnic, racial, religious and life style differences among employees to improve cooperation and team work. Corporations are making allowances for physically handicapped individuals. Are smokers to become the new "handicapped" through social engineering--without even an objection in their defense? This is a basic contradiction in employment practices. Either allowances are to be made for individual differences in order to hire the best qualified person for employment openings, or they aren't. No exceptions! The use of a legal product by an employee is no reason to practice discrimination. Employment counselors need to recognize this, just as much as employers do. There is a limit as to how far employers can invade the personal lives of their employees.

Your career recommendation to smokers reminds me of the advice my school principle gave my mother when I was in fourth grade. The other children were making me cry at school by yanking on my waist-long ponytail all the time. He suggested that she just cut my hair, so I would be like all the other kids....the easy way out! To this day it makes me angry to remember his stupid advice! (She did not cut my hair and I learned how to defend myself.)

Therefore, in the case of employers, the "kids" have decided that smoking is something they don't like this, just wipe it out. Never mind that approximately one quarter of the population is affected by this attitude and cigarettes are a legal product.

Smokers have not objected to increased health premiums, if increased costs are legitimate. I wonder if one single employer has ever bothered to validate the accusations that smokers have poorer attendance records than non-smokers, or if this is just another case of "junk science" studies being accepted without question?

If employees are expected to accept all the other individual differences among colleagues, it follows that smokers should be accepted also.
Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Group - - Respect Freedom of Choice!
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2005

It is not junk science that second-hand smoke is a health threat to nonsmokers. A smoker affects those around him/her in health ways that other "handicapped" or persons with diversity differences do not.

It is not junk science that smokers have higher rates of illness and medical costs. Employers don't want to incur those expenses.

Yes, smokers are being "discriminated" against because many employers don't want them on their payrolls. That's the basis of my career advice. You want to improve your hiring chances? Don't smoke. I don't make up the hiring practices. They exist independently of my career advice.
You want to improve your chances for a healthy life? Don't smoke. I don't make up the medical statistics. They exist.

I do believe I got under her skin with my first letter. I hope this one shakes them up a little more.


The Kansas City Star
Dear Ms. Stafford:

Many, including myself, believe you are incorrect. The link between second hand smoke and health hazards has NOT been proved. The figure of 400,000-plus premature deaths for smokers has also been distorted, and in the majority of cases, applies to individuals in the 72-year-plus age groups according to the CDC's own figures.

Anti-smoking studies and reports consistently use qualifying words in their studies and reports that include "could contribute", "may cause", "possibly related". "American Cancer Society Admits 'Mistake' in Ad" at, exposing the ACS's error in publishing 53,000 annual deaths attributed to SHS. That number was only promoted by Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., a notorious antismoker, whose figures were rejected by the EPA and has been accused by a colleague at the Advocacy Institute of "ugly, propagandistic distortion". It should be a very enlightening article for you to read and is not long.

In any case, it is not your place or the place of newspapers and other media sources to only present one side of an issue. You should be ashamed of suppressing views contrary to yours. You are ignoring the basic premise of free speech. Who are you and the Kansas City Star to decide what information and opinions readers are entitled to see? I, like rest of our country, have been led to believe the news media should present unbiased coverage of all issues.

Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Group - - Respect Freedom of Choice!
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2005 11:41 AM
Subject: RE: YOUR CAREER - Smoke gets in your demise

I write a careers advice column.
You may dispute some statistics about smoking. You may not dispute the basis for my advice column:
It is a career advantage NOT to smoke.
Employers are firing and refusing to hire smokers. I didn't fabricate the situation.
I dispense career advice to help people deal with the realities of the work world.
Dear Ms. Stafford:

Even If the Kansas City Star will not publish views disagreeing with its content, it may please you to know I am going to share your views with a variety of websites.

Garnet Dawn
Goodness! You have her all fired up. LOL!

Date: Mon Feb 7, 2005 12:30 pm
Subject: your opinion

Diane Stafford,

If smokers did indeed cost employers $1,000 a year, which is in no way proven, the logical reaction would be to charge smoking employees $1,000 more per year for insurance.

As it stands now, the policy opens the door for employers to come into our homes. The 4th amendment to our constitution guarantees us the right to be secure in our homes.

So where do you stand on the constitution? Would you limit the 4th amendment because it doesn’t immediately serve you in your “advice column”? Would you limit the 4th amendment when the weakening of any of our constitution serves as a precedent for further weakening of our constitution?

The first amendment contains a specific which includes the freedom of the press. That amendment is always under attack but has stood upon the strength of the media to oppose it.

So while you write your articles which could weaken our other amendments, including the 4th amendment, remember that your protection is also hanging in the balance.

And by the way, your information is not above disputing as you would have us believe with your statement, “You may not dispute the basis for my advice column.” We do not need your permission to dispute anything you say, unless of course you are attacking our right to the 1st amendment while you maintain your protection under that same amendment.

Terry Gray
President - Forces Kentucky
Terry's Tidbits

Wow Terry,

You really have a way of cutting to the heart of an issue! LOL She is going to be so furious that she may have to go outside for a cigarette and cool down!


Sun Feb 6, 2005
Government cafeterias going smoke-free - Springfield, IL


This time it's Springfield's cafeterias. Once again, the ban is "for the children". God forbid anyone relaxes, has a cigarette and tells "the children" to go outside!

I just love the impressive way representatives for anti-smoking organizations have developed their communication skills. "Having a smoking section in the cafeterias is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool," he (Mark Peysakhovich, senior director of advocacy for the Heart Association's Midwest affiliate) said. "If you go down there, you can see kids sitting in smoke. In this very public place, where lots of kids go and the rest of us go, they ought to do something about it."

I am so sick of reading that analogy between restaurants and swimming pools! It had to be coined by a retard! I know "retard" is politically incorrect, but so is the comparison. Since the water in a pool is changed over about once a year and the air in a decent restaurant is changed about 15,000 time a year, they are not the same thing at all! (From Michael McFadden's Dissecting the Antismokers' Brains).


Government cafeterias going smoke-free
Peoria (IL) Journal-Star
Friday, February 4, 2005

SPRINGFIELD (CNS) - "No smoking" signs were posted Thursday afternoon in cafeterias at the Capitol and Stratton buildings, closing the last public areas in those state government structures to smokers.

Smoking still will be allowed in a small enclosed section of the Howlett Building cafeteria, said Randy Nehrt, spokesman for the secretary of state's office, which oversees public areas in the Capitol complex.

The Capitol and Stratton cafeterias were closed to smokers because fumes could waft into non-smoking areas, Nehrt said. The secretary of state's office, he said, followed the lead of the Illinois Senate, which earlier this week banned smoking in its chambers for the first time in 113 years.

Nehrt said legislative leaders determine whether to allow smoking in private offices occupied by lawmakers and legislative staff in the two buildings.

Spokesmen for Democrats and Republicans said smoking is allowed in private offices if walls extend to the ceiling and doors can be closed, but not in public areas, such as conference rooms.

On Thursday afternoon, smokers in the back room of the Capitol cafeteria puffed on their last cigarettes while a worker put up the "no smoking" sign. They said they would either go outdoors to indulge their habit in the future or try to quit.

Ban smoking in Statehouse eatery, anti-tobacco group says

February 2, 2005
BY DAVE MCKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief

SPRINGFIELD -- A top anti-tobacco organization on Tuesday called on Secretary of State Jesse White to snuff out smoking in Statehouse cafeterias that are sometimes used by schoolchildren on field trips.

The move by the American Heart Association came as Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) moved on his own to toss out the ashtrays and ban smoking in the ornate Senate chamber, where the practice has been allowed for ages.

Mark Peysakhovich, senior director of advocacy for the Heart Association's Midwest affiliate, said eating areas in the Capitol and at the nearby Stratton government office building should be off-limits for smokers, given that the spring field-trip season is about to begin.

While praising Jones' action to rid the Senate chamber of smokers, Peysakhovich said eliminating smoking in Capitol Complex cafeterias is "much more of an issue to the public and to all of us who don't smoke. It's a much more compelling issue than what happens in the Senate chamber."

And furthermore . . .

"Having a smoking section in the cafeterias is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool," he said. "If you go down there, you can see kids sitting in smoke. In this very public place, where lots of kids go and the rest of us go, they ought to do something about it."

White's office, which controls the cafeteria spaces, pledged to "review" smoking policies in the eating areas, where smoke tends to waft throughout despite the presence of designated smoking areas.

"We totally understand their concern, which is why we want to work with them," White spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaufman said of the health advocate.

Kaufman said about 150,000 visitors come to the Capitol per year, many of them school kids. While some students do eat in the Capitol cafeterias, Kaufman said "a majority" of visiting schoolchildren dine elsewhere.

Jones' action in the Senate came somewhat as a surprise, since he is a cigarette smoker. The House has banned smoking at least since 1989, but the Senate has been open for tobacco-using senators and news reporters for as long as anyone can remember.

"It's something he considered for a while. It's the right thing to do. It's good public policy," Jones spokeswoman Cindy Davidsmeyer said.

Under Jones' edict, smoking also will be barred in Senate committee rooms at the Capitol, but senators can continue to light up in their individual Statehouse offices so long as they have floor-to-ceiling walls and a door that will shut, Davidsmeyer said.

Sun Feb 6, 2005

Two Non-Smokers Oppose Smoking Ban for Oak Park
Oak Park (IL) Journal

February 4, 2005
A Letter Against the Smoking Ban,

I am a resident of Oak Park and would like to voice my opposition to
the proposed smoking ban. I am not a smoker and do I stand to gain or
loose financially from either imposing a ban. However, I find the idea
of a ban to be narrow-minded and potentially hurtful to our village.

The Board of Health has a vested interest in reducing health risks to
the community. This is their mission. However, pressuring the village
to pass a smoking ban is a heavy-handed way to do their job. I
frequent several Oak Park restaurants as well as public facilities.
Nowhere have I seen literature or educational material from the Board
of Health. The Board of Health has put together a list of smoke free
restaurants, which is a terrific idea. The problem is, I have never
seen it in Oak Park. My husband and I had to specifically write in to
receive a copy through the mail. This is not an acceptable education
campaign from the Board of Health and we should expect better of them.

It seems to me that pushing for a ban is just a lazy way of doing
their job. Inform the public of the risks. Do not treat us like we
are naughty children who cannot reason or control ourselves.

Recently, Dr. David Ansell was quoted as saying "Oak Park has
usually led the charge on things like this," "Now we're not leading
the charge, we're behind the pack." Public policy is not about wining a
race to implement a statute. There is no prize for being the "most
progressive village". There is no shame in thinking about the effects
of policy before rushing into it. What would be a great shame is if
the Board of Trustees rushed into a decision based on pressure to
appear the most progressive.

Thank you,
Laura Schornack
February 3, 2005


When my wife and I decided to move to Oak Park, one of the big
draws was the diversity of the village. We liked the idea of living
somewhere where people felt comfortable with each other and were
respectful to one another. I was very dismayed last month when I
happened to see that the Board of Trustees was voting on holding a
hearing on a smoking ban. Even though neither my wife nor I smoke,
we both found the idea of a smoking ban to be regressive and badly
suited to Oak Park.

The idea that a smoke free Oak Park would have a competitive
advantage over a non-smoking ban community is erroneous. Over
70% of Oak Park's restaurants are already smoke free and two thirds
of the smoking restaurants are within one block of non-smoking places.

Customers who want to dine in a smoke free environment already have
ample choice. What we can expect is a decline in current non-smoking
restaurant's business as their clientele visits newly smoke free establishments.

Likewise, current places with smoking sections will loose business to
places 5 minutes away who allow them to dine as they like. For there
to be an increase in business, there would have to be a net increase
in total dining out and there is no reason to expect that this will
spontaneously happen. Every restaurant in Oak Park stands to loose.
This is saying nothing of nearby shops that receive run-off business.

Protection of the labor force is probably the most compelling argument
for a smoking ban. After all, workers are expected to perform shifts
in a smoky environment if they work in a restaurant with a smoking
section. However, the parties pushing for a smoking ban in Oak Park
are not representative of the people they are supposedly trying to
protect. They do not appear to have even asked the workers if they
want a ban. Indeed, there are a large number of workers who have
spoken out against the smoking ban. To assume that these people are
ignorant or helpless is condescending. Workers know the risks of
smoking just as well as any other member of our community. They,
like practitioners of other professions know the risks and deal with them.
To disrupt their livelihood in order to protect people who never asked for
protection is just bad judgment.

With benefits of a ban that appear insignificant or non-existent, and the
costs of lost business as a practically forgone conclusion, I ask:
Is this ban worth it?

Thank you,
Mark Zinthefer
Smoking-ban hearing is OKd
Oak Park gives proposal a boost

By Maria Kantzavelos
Special to the Tribune
Published January 19, 2005

The Oak Park Village Board voted late Tuesday to give the town's Board of Health the go-ahead to conduct a public hearing on a proposal to ban smoking in all public places, including restaurants.

About 100 people jammed the Village Board meeting, where about 25 people on both sides of the issue spoke before trustees began their own debate. The board voted 5-2 to allow the Board of Health to conduct a hearing on the advisory commission's proposed ban.

"A cross-section of the community should be provided an opportunity to step forward and have their day in court," said Trustee Galen Gockel.

Citing studies outlining the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke, public health officials, as well as a contingent of anti-smoking advocates, are pushing for a stronger, more comprehensive ordinance.

"People deserve the right to health, deserve the right to a long life in Oak Park," Dr. Patrick Tranmer, an Oak Park resident, told the board.

Many business owners have taken a stand against the proposal, saying they would lose money as patrons head to nearby towns. They also say it would violate their freedom to run their businesses as they see fit.

"If you're going to stack the odds against us, you're going to see a lot of us close our doors. We can't compete," Michael Pace, who owns two restaurants in Oak Park, told the board.

Oak Park is one of 20 municipalities in Illinois with the authority to implement smoking restrictions more stringent than those outlined in the state's clean-air law because a related ordinance has been on its books since before Oct. 1, 1989. The village's current ordinance on smoking in public places excludes several establishments, such as bars, restaurants, theater lobbies and health facilities.

The findings from the public hearing and related research will be forwarded to the Village Board for review before it makes a final decision.

In the Chicago area, new smoking restrictions have been approved recently in Skokie, Wilmette and Evanston.

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

Feb 6, 2005
No freedom to choose; The price to pay for smoking ban in pubs - Scotland

The Scots are being more honest about the financial damages from their smoking ban than the US and Canada have been.

No freedom to choose

Sat 5 Feb 2005

IT was clear from the outset that the Executive’s proposals to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces would have a significant impact on the licensed trade, and now independent research suggests that this impact will be greater than first feared.

A report, which was commissioned by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, predicts that 2300 jobs and 150 pubs will close; turnover is also expected to fall by £105 million, and profits to drop by £86m.

For the First Minister, who has staked much of his own credibility on the proposed ban, this might seem like a price worth paying in return for the perceived benefits of taking action to curb the damage done by one of Scotland’s most insidious public health problems. There is no question that smoking is linked to a raft of different illnesses, including cancer and heart disease, and Jack McConnell’s concerns are certainly well-intentioned. But the SLTA’s report does beg the question, is legislation and an outright ban on smoking in pubs and even private clubs really necessary?

There are clear signs that the market is already beginning to recognise there is value in offering consumers an increased choice. Several pubs in Edinburgh are now smoke-free and many more have non-smoking areas. The pub chain Wetherspoon recently announced that it will ban smoking in all its 650 pubs from next year.

The Executive’s smoking ban is ostensibly designed to protect staff who work in smoky environments and who may be at risk of passive smoking. It is only right that non-smoking staff should be offered some protection, but if staff are themselves smokers, the risks of breathing in other people’s smoke will be negligible compared to the harm they may cause themselves by smoking. So if they choose to smoke, why can’t they be allowed to choose whether they take the small risk of working in a smoky pub?

No one disputes that smoking is harmful to the health of smokers and non-smokers, but many adults still choose to smoke regardless of the risks. The element of choice is now absent from the debate surrounding the proposals for a ban, which looks set to sound the death knell for many smaller pubs.

Ironically, many of these landlords will be among the most responsible in the licensed trade when it comes to supplying a substance which is arguably a far greater public health issue for Scotland than tobacco - that substance is alcohol.

Independent publicans do not have the vast resources of the big pub chains to offer heavily discounted drinks promotions which encourage irresponsible drinking. The Executive could find that solving one public health problem merely exacerbates another.

Sat 5 Feb 2005

NO SMOKE WITHOUT IRE: A report for the licensed trade says a ban on smoking in public places could cost pubs up to £86m a year in profits.

The price to pay for smoking ban in pubs

SCOTLAND’S smoking ban is set to cost an initial 2300 jobs, force nearly 150 pubs to close and rob the Chancellor of £59 million a year in tax revenue, a new report claims.

A study commissioned by the licensed trade says the ban would also see turnover drop by £105m and annual profits slump by £86m.

The figures will fuel controversy over the impact of the Scottish Executive’s ban on smoking in enclosed public places, including pubs and restaurants, which is due to be introduced in just over a year.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association will present its analysis of the costs involved to MSPs next week.

And the Scottish Parliament’s finance committee will also hear evidence from local authorities estimating the cost of implementing the ban at £6m a year. The assessment by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities includes £403,000 for implementing the ban in Edinburgh and £75,000 for West Lothian.

In a written submission to the committee, the SLTA argues that pubs not serving food should be exempt from the ban, in line with proposals south of the Border. It urges a phased approach and claims the economic effects of an outright ban have not yet been fully considered.

Official research released by the Executive at the time the Bill was published claimed the effect of the smoking ban on the hospitality trade could be anything from a loss of £104m a year to a gain of £137m a year.

But the SLTA says the study was "incomplete, irrelevant and rushed". And it claims: "Independent research suggests the financial impact will be far greater than stated."

A study commissioned from the Centre for Economics and Business Research concludes that once a ban is introduced the annual turnover in the licensed trade would decline by £105m, annual profits in licensed premises may decline by £86m and employment could be expected to decline by 2300 jobs initially. About 142 average-sized licensed premises may close as a result of decreased trade and the Exchequer could lose out on a total of £59m in annual tax revenues from Scotland.

Alistair Don, president of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said the hospitality industry in Scotland employed around 200,000 people. "The Executive doesn’t appear to want to look at the financial implications. There are jobs at risk, not just in the licensed trade but all the ancillary trades."

He added that the eventual job loss total could be ten times the 2300 expected to go when the ban is first introduced. "Ireland has already lost 7500 jobs since their ban was introduced in March 2004 - and that’s government figures."

The Cosla submission to the committee highlights the costs councils will incur in recruiting new wardens, training staff and councillors, publicising the ban and even extra street cleaning because they expect there to be more discarded cigarette ends.

Cosla calculates the start-up costs for introducing the ban in April 2006 and the first year of implementing it will be £6m.

The Executive has said it will make some cash available to local authorities to help ease the financial burden of implementing the ban. But Cosla said: "There are concerns the Executive will fund enforcement for an initial period and funding will then decrease, with revenue consequences for councils."

An Executive spokesman said no decision had yet been made on what funding would be available. He added: "We will be discussing the financial implications with Cosla shortly."

Cigarette Smoke Has its Benefits
By Garnet Dawn

What is our current definition of clean air? Is it the air we breathe on a cool night, while standing in the desert or on a beach where we can see thousands of stars twinkling in a crystal clear sky. Is it spending a day in the mountains near a sparkling stream?

According to anti-smokers, it is breathing the recycled germs and viruses from every other person in the same sealed and enclosed environments of our office buildings and shopping malls where smoking is no longer allowed. We are supposed to believe with no reservations that fresh air is being supplied by ventilation systems.

What kind of air are we really breathing? What are the long term effects of our supposedly healthy no-smoking indoor environments? What is recycled and manufactured air doing to us? I really would like to know, especially after my most recent shopping trip. We need cigarettes back in our closed environments to provide us with visible proof that we are being supplied with enough fresh air.

Cigarette smoke used to be the "whistle blower" for indoor areas with substandard ventilation systems. Before smoking was banned from shopping malls and offices buildings, if a haze of smoke remained in the air, it was a warning sign of poor air circulation and stale air.

Now, smokers are no longer allowed to light up indoors, so I wonder how we captives of controlled air quality environments can possibly know what kind of poisons we are being forced to breath. I smoke, and if allowed to spend my time in my car, home or outdoors, I breathe freely.

I have always had strong allergic reactions to the dyes in clothing, carpeting, paint, fabric sections and various plastic products. Prior to smoking bans and sealed buildings, stores and shopping malls did not cause me any discomfort. Now, my eyes become red until I leave the stores--be it Marshall Fields or Wal-Mart. On the day following a shopping trip, my nose, sinuses and inner ear passages swell shut. I have learned to cope with these inconveniences through the use of eye drops, baby-oil-on-a-Q-tip (for my ears) and home made nasal rinses. I would like to see what the smoke from cigarettes would be able to tell us about the “cleaner” air we are supposed to be breathing today.

I used to enjoy flying. I now dread it, not only because I can't smoke in the airport and on the plane, but because I know I will feel sick the day following my flight. I prepare myself with aspirin and cold tablets to negate the effects, but I didn't find this necessary either before airline smoking bans were passed. How many passengers could survive a flight without the little "air nozzle" above their seat, giving them the impression that they are receiving fresh air during their trip? Passenger planes have become notorious for spreading colds and viruses among travelers. Airlines would be forced to return to adequate ventilation levels if smoking were again to become legal on flights, because passengers would be able see if airborne impurities were being eliminated along with the cigarette smoke.

Our world is so concerned and self-absorbed with health warnings that no one can watch, read or listen to any media source without paid commercials constantly reminding us to visit our doctors for endless preventative test procedures, and suggesting we can improve our lives by trying any of the hundreds of pharmaceutical products being advertised for any number of imaginary ailments. Big pharmaceutical firms, with the assistance of the advertising media are breeding a population of hypochondriacs! We need to encourage survival of the individual, squash this norm of socially acceptable prescription druggies and medicating ourselves into oblivion! Is Prozac really preferable to a cigarette?

Something is twisted in our age of technological advancement. I really wish we could go back to the choice of opening our windows, lighting a cigarette and using fans (a no-no for many buildings with codes forbidding plug-in electrical devices) on a nice day, rather than alternately steam-roasting then freezing everyone unlucky enough to be trapped in our inescapable state-of-the-art poisonous buildings.