Thursday, September 21, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

September 16, 2006


I apologize!!!! I have fallen wayyyyy behind with my blog this year. Illinois has had a lot of activity everywhere with proposed smoking bans.

Until I can return to blogging, please view my website, Illinois Smokers Rights, for continual updates at or become a member of our Illinois Smokers forum at .

Also, you may find current information about our upcoming and past meetings for Illinois smokers on our website.

In addition, we now have an Illinois News page on the Illinois Smokers Rights website linking us to the United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter, so that each reader can find our news stories by location (community or county) and chronologically, to read about all the confusing smoking ban activities in the Illinois areas that interest them. Every time a relevant news story about Illinois is added to the United Pro Choice Smokers Rights newsletter, it remains in the news archives indefinitely.

See ILLINOIS NEWS at for an alphabetical listing by county or community, without searching through back issues. You may also reference a county map of Illinois to help relate where each county/community is located.

Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director

The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Rights - - Respect Freedom of Choice!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Feb 24, 2006
Supposing ...

Below is some food for thought, supplied by Heartland Institute. Outrageous? Maybe.... Perhaps it is an extreme fantasy, but think about it! It's really not so funny..... (I still remember an old newspaper cartoon from when smoking bans first began, showing gun wielding police arresting a smoker while they ignored a robbery three feet away......) - Garnet

"This link from the Guardian imagines a smoking ban fueled by assassination of smokers in their cars by rooftop snipers. A facetious exercise in public cynicism? Or a shape of worst things to come if we do not arrest the trend of smoke fascism in modern American society? You decide.


Supposing ...

Snipers were brought in to shoot smokers
Charlie Brooker
Friday February 17, 2006
The Guardian

I wholeheartedly support the notion of banning smoking everywhere, for one entirely selfish reason: I've recently quit and don't want to be tempted to start again. If no one else lights up around me, I won't follow suit. Which means I'll live longer. And that's all I care about. Sod freedom of choice for smokers. Sod their poxy so-called "human rights". This is me we're talking about here. ME.

Mind you, I'm not convinced a simple ban is going to cut it. I've got a far better idea - one that's firm, fair and pretty much final. It's based on a scheme I originally conceived as an alternative to London's congestion charge, and I offer it now, to the nation, free of charge.

OK, so the congestion charge was supposed to reduce the number of cars in central London. Trouble is, it's far too complicated. There's cameras and traffic zones and text-message payment systems and blah blah blah. It costs a fortune. And you'd get better results if you replaced the whole thing with a sniper.

Yes, a sniper. Here's how it works: instead of charging people to drive through busy parts of town, you simply announce that you've paid a lone sniper to sneak around the city, hiding out on rooftops. Every month he'll blow the heads off several random motorists: a maximum of 10, say, and a minimum of five. You're free to drive where you like, as often as you please - but you're taking a calculated risk each time you do so.

You'd announce the scheme, and at first no one would believe you were serious. Indeed, you'd trade on that: perhaps nothing happens for the first couple of days. People carry on as normal. Then on day three: BAM BAM BAM. The sniper takes out not one, but THREE separate motorists, in different parts of the city. Shock, horror. Front-page news. Everyone's petrified. And the mayor simply goes on TV, shrugs his shoulders and says: "I told you so."

Bingo. You're looking at a reduction in traffic of at least 40%, overnight. Problem solved. And whenever people start getting complacent, you simply instruct the sniper to whack a celebrity or two, just to keep the story in the public eye.

Flawless. Yet the cretins in charge never tried it. Now they've got a second chance. They can use it to end smoking.

We'll need more than one sniper, of course, because we're covering the entire country. And they won't just be stationed on rooftops; they'll be going undercover, like Jack Bauer - following people into bars, pumping lead into their backs when they request change for the fag machine (we wouldn't ban fag machines - they're bait).

And we don't want any perceived "safe places" either. In the very first week, we should make a point of blasting the crap out of someone sparking up in a tent in the middle of Cumbria or something. Smokers need to realise there's nowhere to hide.

Let's change the warnings on the packs while we're about it. None of this wussy "Smoking Causes Cancer" nonsense. Just a sniper, in silhouette, and the words "HE IS WATCHING".

And once we're done with the smokers, we'll start on the fatties. That's right, blobster, I can see you. Just try reaching for that doughnut. Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

February 24, 2006
Has Chicago Smoking Ban Set the Stage for New Big Brother Invasions?

This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector. – Plato circa 400 B.C.
Has Chicago Smoking Ban Set the Stage for New Big Brother Invasions?

Mayor Daley seems to be in favor of more personal invasions for the citizens and businesses in Chicago. Government intrusion is becoming the norm. Citizens should have known this would happen after the city recently instituted a draconian smoking ban over the Chicago hospitality industry. Don't tell me anyone was so naive that they believed local government intrusion would stop there. Now Chicago is proposing more progress...loss of privacy.

"We require shopping centers to put railings on stairs and install sprinkler systems for public safety. This is a proper next step," says Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, who sponsored the ordinance.
Why does the questionable logic in the above quotation sound so familiar?

I remember!! We were told over and over that restaurants are required to observe established health and fire codes, so a smoking ban would supposedly serve the public's health. Now, all we need to do is substitute the word "safety" for "health" and we will have the same reasoning that was presented as an excuse for instituting the ban. It does not matter, once again, that apples are being compared to oranges.

"...Of course it is an intrusion. But on the other side, it protects the public's right to not be harmed. Bars and restaurants have to use clean plates, their workers have to wash their hands after using the restroom, there are temperature controls on food -- those are laws. Why? Because in the past we've seen the need to regulate business to protect people from harm. That is the price of doing business in our society..." ( )
This new proposed ordinance will simply chip away another piece from our personal liberties to serve public safety. I have also noticed that the city is not offering to subsidize businesses by paying for these security cameras. What has happened to our Bill of Rights which states in the Fifth Amendment "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation"?
Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Rights -
Illinois Smokers Forum - - Respect Freedom of Choice!

Posted 2/14/2006

Daley wants security cameras at bars
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY

CHICAGO — Surveillance cameras — aimed at government buildings, train platforms and intersections here — might soon be required at corner taverns and swanky nightclubs.

A police camera, mounted with a microphone,
can detect the sound of gunshots within a two-block radius.
File photo/AP

Mayor Richard Daley wants to require bars open until 4 a.m. to install security cameras that can identify people entering and leaving the building. Other businesses open longer than 12 hours a day, including convenience stores, eventually would have to do the same.

Daley's proposed city ordinance adds a dimension to security measures installed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The proliferation of security cameras — especially if the government requires them in private businesses — troubles some civil liberties advocates.

"There is no reason to mandate all of those cameras unless you one day see them being linked up to the city's 911 system," says Ed Yohnka of the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union. "We have perhaps reached that moment of critical mass when people ... want to have a dialogue about how much of this is appropriate."

Milwaukee is considering requiring cameras at stores that have called police three or more times in a year. The Baltimore County Council in Maryland ordered large malls to put cameras in parking areas after a murder in one garage last year. The measure passed despite objections from business groups.

"We require shopping centers to put railings on stairs and install sprinkler systems for public safety. This is a proper next step," says Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, who sponsored the ordinance.

Some cities aren't going along. Schenectady, N.Y., shelved a proposal that would have required cameras in convenience stores.

"The safer we make the city, the better it is for everyone," says Chicago Alderman Ray Suarez, who first proposed mandatory cameras in some businesses. "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"

Nick Novich, owner of three Chicago bars, worries about the cost. "Every added expense ... puts a small business in greater jeopardy of going out of business," he says. Daley says cameras will deter crime, but Novich says, "That's what we're paying taxes for."

Colleen McShane, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association, says the proposal, which Daley announced last week, is an unfair burden on small businesses. "This is once again more government intrusion," she says.

Some business owners say cameras make patrons feel safer. Cameras are in all 30 Chicago bars, clubs and restaurants owned by Ala Carte Entertainment, spokeswoman Julia Shell says: "It's far more cost-effective for us to have them than not to have them."

By spring, 30 Chicago intersections will have cameras to catch drivers who run red lights. More than 2,000 cameras around the city are linked to an emergency command center, paid for in part by federal homeland security funds.

The newest "smart" cameras alert police when there's gunfire or when someone leaves a package or lingers outside public buildings. The system is based on the one in London that helped capture suspected terrorists after last summer's subway bombings.

Chicago is installing those sophisticated camera systems more aggressively than any other U.S. city, says Rajiv Shah, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago who studies the policy implications of surveillance technology. Recording what people do in public "is just getting easier and cheaper to do," he says. "Think of your camera cellphone."

Feb 24, 2006
Add Galveston, TX to Those Refusing Smoking Bans!

Another one!!! Way to go!!! - Garnet

Feb. 23, 2006, 11:58PM

Smoking still OK in Galveston bars
Hospitality interests fought a total ban proposal

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

GALVESTON - Customers at Galveston bars and restaurants can continue to smoke in designated areas, the Galveston City Council decided Thursday.

In a 4-2 vote, with one abstention, the council refused to change the current smoking ordinance, which allows restaurants to maintain smoking and non-smoking dining areas and let customers smoke in their bars.

The proposal to ban smoking in bars, taverns and restaurant bars met opposition from individual bar owners and heavy hitters in the restaurant and hotel business in this tourist city.

"I can assure you if Mr. Fertitta thought that banning smoking would help his business, he certainly would do that," said Steve Greenberg, a lobbyist for Landry's Restaurants Inc.

Greenberg referred to Landry's CEO Tilman Fertitta, who opposes banning smoking in the hotel and restaurant bars the company operates on the island. Greenberg said Fertitta does not believe bans improve bar and restaurant businesses.

Renee Adame, speaking for billionaire developer George Mitchell, whose three island hotels and associated bars and restaurants are smoke-free, said business is better since the businesses banned smoking on the premises.

"Mr. Mitchell thinks it's good for business," said Adame, who also heads the Smoke-Free Galveston Coalition. "We don't have to speculate because we have proof."

Guy Taylor, three-year owner of The Stork Club, a popular bar on Postoffice, told the council at least 50 percent of his customers smoke.

"I can't survive without their business," Taylor said. "I probably won't (survive) the rest of the year in business and everything I have, everything I own, is invested in this business."

Backers of a smoking ban were adamant that secondhand smoke is harmful to nonsmokers and should be eliminated from bars and restaurants to protect not only customers but also employees.

"Cigarettes are the most dangerous consumer products in the world," M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's Dr. Jack Dennington told the council.

"If all the chemicals in secondhand smoke were bottled up and sprayed in somebody's face, I'm sure that it would be an assault," said Galveston resident Deborah Conrad.

After nearly a year of discussion and almost two hours of public comment, the council ended up keeping the Galveston ordinance originally adopted in 1988. It bans smoking in public buildings and most buildings open to the public. It also bans smoking in parks, but that provision has rarely been enforced.

Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas, a colon cancer survivor, said she did not want to tell business owners how to operate.

"I can choose where I go, and I don't go where there is smoke," said Thomas, explaining her vote against the ban. "I have to step into the shoes of the small business man and say, 'Thou shalt not,' and I just can't do it."

Other council members said they did not want to tell owners how to run their businesses. They also want to tell customers they have choices on which businesses to patronize.

"You choose to or you choose not to go into that hazard," said Councilwoman Barbara Roberts, referring to secondhand smoke.

After the vote, Thomas said she regretted making no progress on the issue in nearly a year. Thomas and other council members had talked earlier in the day about compromising and banning smoking only in restaurant bars. They did not vote on that alternative on Thursday, however.

"I'm disappointed in that we were not able to pass the no-smoking-in-restaurants piece of this today," Thomas said.

Recap - Illinois Smokers Rights Meeting - February 18, 2006
Marshall McGearty Tobacco Lounge - Chicago, IL

Illinois Smokers Rights held a very successful meeting last Saturday, February 18, at the Marshall McGearty Tobacco Lounge in Chicago. Our turnout was excellent and Bill Walker, McGearty's General Manager, was a gracious host. While attendees enjoyed sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes during a very productive first meeting, which lasted almost three hours, we had additional McGearty patrons join our gathering.

Every individual present joined in a spirited discussion of our planned agenda to begin forming Illinois Smokers into a physically productive group. Included among those present were both smokers and non-smokers with the common purpose of defending and promoting individual life-style choices.

We will be meeting again in four weeks to review our progress and further discuss our goals for involving a wider circle of members. In this way, we will be better able to contact our legislative representatives, individual restaurant and bar owners, college pro-choice advocates and others with similar Libertarian viewpoints. We will also be reviewing our committee formation progress and creation of ways to fight tax discrimination against the consumers of a legal product in Illinois.

Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Rights -
Illinois Smokers Forum - - Respect Freedom of Choice!

Feb 24, 2006
Va. and Md. Reject Ban On Smoking!!! - Virginia, Maryland

I thought everyone would be glad to see this news. Both Virginia and Maryland have stopped the state-wide smoking ban legislation. This should also help Philadelphia, Illinois and Wisconsin and shut the Antis up a little for a bit. We can use the "bandwagon" too!

Garnet Dawn
Va. and Md. Reject Ban On Smoking
Lawmakers Loath To Force Businesses

By Rosalind S. Helderman and Ann E. Marimow
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 24, 2006; Page A01

Flirtations with smoking bans in Virginia and Maryland came to abrupt ends yesterday, as legislative panels in each state rejected bills that would have made restaurants and virtually all other public places smoke-free.

In Virginia, a House of Delegates subcommittee unanimously rejected a bill that had won Senate approval despite the state's long-standing ties to the tobacco industry.

In Maryland, a House committee chaired by a Baltimore delegate whose downtown district is dotted with bars and taverns turned back a similar proposal by a narrow margin.

Health groups -- including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association -- lobbied extensively for the bans. Eleven other states have approved such prohibitions, as evidence mounted about the health risks of breathing secondhand smoke and more people stopped smoking.

Delegates in both states said that many business owners have prohibited smoking in response to customer demands but that those who wish to cater to smokers should be allowed to do so.

"The problem is, I want to have smoke-free restaurants and businesses. But in America, you don't pass a law to tell a private business owner who is paying rent or mortgage payments what he can and can't do in his own place," said Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax).

The proposed ban attracted particular attention in Virginia, the nation's No. 3 tobacco-growing state. The Senate's narrow approval of the bill was interpreted by many as a sign of the loosening of the industry's hold in a state that is home to the worldwide headquarters of Philip Morris.

The Senate sponsor, a Roanoke Republican, presented his measure as a public health necessity, arguing that science has proved the dangers of secondhand smoke.

"The bottom line is that we're not talking about a smoker's right to smoke indoors," said Sen. J. Brandon Bell II. "We're talking about my right not to breath in 4,000 chemicals and 60 known carcinogens that are associated with secondhand smoke."

Many lawmakers had predicted a quick death in the Virginia House, which has a long history of rejecting measures its members say amount to government nannyism. The smoking ban failed its first legislative test in the body, dying in a six-member subcommittee of the General Laws Committee.

"This is the wrong way to go about forcing this on businesses," Del. John A. Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) said during the hearing. "People have to take some type of personal responsibility and not expect the state to do it for them."

Under House rules, the subcommittee vote means the bill dies for the year unless the full committee's chairman agrees the 22 members should hear the measure as well. In this case, Chairman Del. John S. "Jack" Reid (R-Henrico) said he does not intend to hold such a hearing. Bell said he was not surprised. "There's always a resistance to change," he said.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has not been supportive of the measure either.

In Maryland, three counties -- Montgomery, Talbot and more recently Prince George's -- have banned smoking. But efforts to extend the prohibition statewide failed yesterday for the fourth consecutive year when the measure fell two votes short in the House Health and Government Operations Committee.

Legislators in Annapolis were bombarded with e-mails, phone calls and petitions from representatives of both sides of the debate.

"People who walk these halls complain about the high cost of medical care, and here was a golden opportunity to do something about it," Eric Gally, a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, said after the 11 to 11 vote. "Once again, we've taken a pass."

Melvin Thompson, lobbyist for the Restaurant Association of Maryland, applauded the outcome as a sign that legislators had heard the message that "smoking bans are most damaging to smaller restaurants and bars."

From the beginning, the bill sponsored by Del. Barbara A. Frush (D-Prince George's) faced resistance from Democratic leaders of the General Assembly and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

Prospects for passage dimmed with the departure of John Adams Hurson (D) of Montgomery County, the former House health committee chairman who represented a jurisdiction that had passed a local ban. The new committee chairman, Del. Peter A. Hammen (D), represents an area of downtown Baltimore that he said is home to nearly half the liquor licenses in the city.

Ties to Maryland's tobacco-growing past also appeared to play a role in the bill's defeat. Missing from the vote yesterday was Del. Sue Kullen (D-Calvert), a Southern Maryland lawmaker whom health care lobbyists considered critical to the outcome. Kullen, who stopped by the committee room shortly before the vote, said she had a scheduling conflict with another hearing.

"We were trying to monkey around with the schedule, but it didn't work out so well," she said. "I had an excused absence."

During a hearing on the bill last week, Kullen said the issue was a difficult one for legislators from more rural parts of Maryland.

"For me, it's the tobacco legacy I'm wrestling with. It's just not good to demonize the tobacco leaf," she said. "But it does have health implications."

After the committee meeting yesterday, Kullen would not say how she would have voted.

"I was leaning in favor of the bill," she said, "but was still concerned about the effect on business."

Staff writer Chris L. Jenkins contributed to this report.

Feb 23, 2006
Village smoking ban tabled till state acts - Palatine, IL

This decision puts quite a few Illinois suburbs on "hold". The Illinois Assembly should not have enough votes to pass a state-wide smoking ban. It only seems to be our anal Chicago collar suburbs that the ACS and ALA have been targeting for this ban. Let's hope our downstate representatives stand strong to defend central and southern residents in their independence to choose their own life-styles and not be brain-washed by SHS junk science "health" propaganda.

Garnet Dawn
Village smoking ban tabled till state acts
Wendy Kummerer
Published February 23, 2006

PALATINE -- Before dealing with local smoking legislation, Palatine's Village Council will wait to see what state legislators do.

Mayor Rita Mullins said Tuesday that a ban was discussed by the Northwest Municipal Conference, a council whose members represent 50 municipal governments, and the feeling was that it would be supported if enforced across the state.

"No town wanted to pass the ban themselves because the feeling was the business would go to the next town and so on," Mullins said. "However, as a consortium it might be something they would be in favor of."

A bill has been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly that would prohibit smoking in restaurants, bars, taverns and bowling alleys.

"We should conclude this discussion and let the cards fall. See what the state decides," Councilman Jack Wagner said.
In other business, the council will seek feedback from Palatine residents on downtown development in a tax-increment financing district.

The Hummel Group and Focus Development of Wheaton pitched their plans to the council for a combined retail and condominium development at Brockway, Wood, Bothwell and Wilson Streets, known as Block 27.

"This is a unique approach for the village and the first time we have chosen to openly discuss the development process with the public," Councilman Brad Helms said.

Both proposals include more than 100 condominiums, more than 15,000 square feet of street-level stores (primarily along Wilson), underground parking. Buildings would be three to five stories high.

The plans are on the village Web site and cable Channel 6, officials said. The council will discuss them in March.

Feb 23, 2006
Rockford hospitals to start smoking ban in November - Rockford, IL

So, another hospital system has become insensitive to the preferences of one quarter of our population. Smoking bans! Like shopping malls and airports, they have become options to use only in cases of extreme necessity. The stores complain about reduced retail sales and the airlines are in financial trouble. All these places have simply become institutions. The malls and planes are stuffy and unhealthy now that tattle-tale smoke hanging in the air is not longer present to blow the whistle on poor ventilation systems.

Hospitals, for me and many other smokers, will become a last resort options. I have always hated hospitals, and now my doctors know that I will not even visit them for tests. Health costs have escalated out of reason, and I am more than happy to accommodate health care by refusing their services in the future. I do seriously hope that hospices will become the medical facilities of the future and these giant self-important health complexes will become dinosaurs.

Garnet Dawn
Published: February 23, 2006

Business: Healthcare
Rockford hospitals to start smoking ban in November
Employees, patients and visitors will be asked to smokeoff-campus at all hospitals and clinics.

By Rowena Vergara

ROCKFORD — Come Nov. 16, employees, visitors and patients at Rockford’s three major health systems will have to travel off hospital grounds to light up.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday at the YMCA of Rock River Valley, hospital leaders said they are banning smoking on their campuses for two simple reasons: Smoking kills, and health-care systems want to do their part in promoting better health.

Attending the conference were officials from OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rockford Health System, SwedishAmerican Health System and Van Matre HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, affiliated with Rockford Health.

Starting in November — the date was chosen because it is the day of the Great American Smokeout, a national event that challenges smokers to go smoke-free for 24 hours — anyone who wants to smoke will have to do it off hospital or clinic property. That could mean getting a little exercise first. A walk off the main campus at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, for example, is about 300 yards.

“That’s the shortest distance from our property,” said David Schertz, Saint Anthony administrator and CEO.

Signs will be posted outside and inside all hospital and clinic buildings, and each of the hospital systems will sell nicotine patches or nicotine gum at their main gift shops.

Jan Hagenlocher, director of public relations at SwedishAmerican Hospital, said once the ban takes effect, visitors who are seen smoking outside any of the three hospitals but still on campus grounds will most likely be handed an informational card and will be asked to smoke elsewhere. If they do not comply, no further action will be taken.

The repercussions for employees have not been determined, officials said Wednesday. About 10,000 people work at the three health systems combined.

This is about educating the health-care community, not punishing it, SwedishAmerican Hospital President and CEO Bill Gorski said. “We want to send a message, but we don’t want to personally attack them at all.”

Toni Baxter, a clerical worker at SwedishAmerican Hospital and a pack-a-day smoker, said her breaks will most likely run longer when the ban goes into effect. She doesn’t plan to quit smoking.

The ban “is not an incentive to stop smoking. You’re not going to stop people from doing it,” she said.

Nonsmoker Monica Lowenthal of Rockford, not a hospital employee, supports the ban. “I think it’s perfect. They put their cigarette butts wherever they want, and people need to think about people around them.”

Other Illinois hospitals have implemented similar measures. In November, St. John’s Hospital in Springfield went smoke-free, and a number of Chicago hospitals have prohibited smoking.

Since 1988, Freeport Health Network has had a no-smoking policy, but the rules are less stringent than what Rockford health officials have proposed.

Freeport Health Network employees may not smoke on campus grounds, but they are provided a smoking area across the street from the main hospital and behind a fence. Hospital visitors may smoke in a designated area outside the emergency room and patients, except those who are terminally ill, are not allowed to smoke.

Michael Perry, president and CEO of Freeport Health Network, said he considered a property-wide smoking ban like Rockford’s last year, but after receiving feedback from employees, opted to not alter the current policy. He said a number of hospital employees were against a no-smoking policy for visitors because prohibiting smoking would take away one way to relieve stress.

“I got more feedback than anything I’ve ever asked for before,” he said. “It was a very interesting learning lesson for me because there were some fairly good reasons and a whole lot of people who would be extremely unhappy.”

Perry said a designated employee smoking area was more favorable than allowing workers to smoke in front of nearby homes or on sidewalks, where their actions would be much more visible. “We’re a health-care facility, and we don’t want to see a nurse in a nurse’s uniform outside smoking. It doesn’t set a good example for our patients,” he said.

Perry commended Rockford hospitals for taking a step that Freeport decided against.

Aside from minimizing the obvious health risks, employers of all types have implemented smoking bans because, in the long-term, their health care costs could decrease with fewer smokers on staff. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each employee who smokes costs an employer more than $3,300, which includes $1,760 in lost productivity and $1,620 in excess medical expenditures.

Smokers miss twice as many days of work as nonsmokers, according to the American Cancer Society. According to the organization, smokers are absent for about 6.16 days because of sickness, while nonsmokers miss an average of about 3.86 days.

Until November, advisory groups will meet to talk about the new smoking policy and its components. “We’ll share ideas back and forth,” Rockford Health System President and CEO Gary Kaatz said.

The health care systems will also spend the next nine months looking at how other hospitals in the state have handled smoking bans.

Visitor Karl Daniels, 49 of Rockford was smoking Wednesday in a designated area outside the SwedishAmerican emergency room. He supported the no-smoking policy.

“I think it’s a good move. They should do it,” he said.

Wendy Johnson, a clerk in the SwedishAmerican Hospital emergency room, said a few people were upset by the plan, “but not as many as you think.”

A half-pack-a-day smoker, Johnson said the ban may cause her to cut down on smoking — sort of.

“I will probably smoke more once I get off work,” she said.

Contact: 815-987-1341;

Feb 22, 2006
Nightclub chain to help smoking staff to stub out - UK

Interesting!!! First a ban is passed, supposedly for the health of the employees in hospitality environments. Now, interventions and cessation are proposed for those same employees, who enjoyed smoking all along. Who do they think they are kidding?

Garnet Dawn
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- LATEST NEWS

Nightclub chain to help smoking staff to stub out
Personnel Today
22 February 2006 08:00

Nightclub operator Luminar Leisure is to offer its 8,000-strong workforce the chance to quit smoking by working with a company that helps people kick the habit.

The firm has signed a deal with smoking cessation specialist Easyway Scotland, initially for sessions with its management team north of the border, ahead of the Scotland-wide ban on smoking in public places that comes into force next month.

It plans to roll out the initiative to the entire workforce in the coming months, ahead of the smoking ban in England, which will cover every employer from next summer after the historic vote by MPs last week.

Billy Wiseman, Luminar's head of training and development, said the company recognised that staff working in smoky nightclubs found it difficult to quit.

"In our industry, we are surrounded by people smoking. For managers and staff it is considered to be a part of every day and night activity," he said. "We are all ready for the challenge and plan to support each other."

Luminar, owner of brands such as the Chicago Rock Cafe and Jumpin Jaks bars, estimates it will save about £2,000 a year per employee through regaining time previously lost to smoking breaks and a reduction in sickness absence.

The initiative also reduces the risk of organisations being caught out by the regulations, under which environmental health officers have the power to fine English employers £2,500 and those in Scotland £200 if staff ignore the regulations.

Easyway Scotland said the average employee saved about £1,500 a year by giving up smoking, as well as benefiting from better health.

This week, 20 of the firm's managers in Scotland will take part in the first sessions in Edinburgh.

Industry reaction

Reaction to last week's decision to ban smoking in all English workplaces by summer 2007

"We are pleased that MPs have ensured a level playing field for all, with no exemption for private members' clubs. Their thousands of employees are subject to the same health and safety at work regulations as pub industry staff. Now the real hard work begins, preparing our customers and pubs for this cultural shift."
Mark Hastings
Director of communications at employers' group the British Beer and Pub Association

"MPs should be congra-tulated for making the right decision despite pressure to look for a compromise. Second-hand smoke is the hidden industrial killer of the 21st century and this will tackle it head on. We must ensure legislation comes into force quickly and that compliance levels are high from the start."
Kevin Rowan
TUC regional secretary

"We're delighted that the smoke-free law will give all workers, including those in pubs and private members' clubs, equal protection from the life-threatening effects of second-hand smoke."
Alex Markham
Chief executive, Cancer Research

"Unfortunately, MPs have been seduced by an unprecedented campaign of propaganda about the effects of passive smoking, for which evidence is inconclusive."
Pro-smoking campaign group

Feb 22, 2006
Smoke ban on April 3 agenda - Normal, IL

There is a very active forum beneath this Pantagraph (Central Illinois) story on the proposed smoking ban in Normal. If you have the time, write a post. I just did. Thomas Laprade wrote two excellent responses also. Both our commentaries are below. Just use the Pantagraph link to access the rest.

Garnet Dawn
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Smoke ban on April 3 agenda

By Mary Ann Ford

NORMAL - An ordinance for a nearly total ban on smoking in public places will be considered by the Normal City Council on April 3.

"We have received a tremendous amount of input on this - more than on any other issue," Councilman Adam Nielsen said at Monday night's council meeting.

"We've gotten enough to make a decision," he said. "Rather than wait for Bloomington - or the General Assembly, I suggest we move ahead and put it on our agenda by the end of April."

Councilmen Parker Lawlis and Jason Chambers said they also were ready for a decision in the matter, which has been the subject of two public input meetings and a joint meeting of Normal and Bloomington city councils.

Normal pub owners hope a town ordinance would be mirrored in Bloomington to give a level playing field for all businesses.

Mayor Chris Koos asked the town staff to develop a draft ordinance for the council to review at the April meeting.

"It's pretty clear what the public wants," Koos said. "We're looking for a total ban with some exceptions. We can either add or subtract from there."

Koos said the draft likely would allow smoking in designated hotel rooms, at businesses whose sales are predominantly tobacco and at such places as assisted-living facilities - provided it is agreed to by all residents living in the smoking areas.

Koos said there is a sense by council members to move in tandem with Bloomington, so Normal would propose a joint work session with the Bloomington City Council after the town comes to a consensus on a proposed ordinance.

Earlier this month, Bloomington Alderman Mike Sprague proposed taking the issue to the voters through a November referendum.

Nielsen said a referendum is not his preferred option.

"I've gone well over the 100 mark for e-mails (on the topic)," he said. "We owed it to the community to discuss and debate this. Now we owe it to the community to do something."

Two cities, one community

Terry Stralow, owner of Pub II in Normal, said he hopes whatever is done is done by both municipalities so there will be an even playing field.

However, he admitted it will be tough because Bloomington allows bars and Normal does not. Normal requires an establishment serving liquor by the glass also to be a restaurant.

Stralow said one of his customers said a similar situation happened in twin cities in Wisconsin. One of the municipalities passed a ban on smoking in public places, the other didn't.

"There was a dramatic decrease in business for the nonsmoking bars," Stralow said. "Some even went out of business."

Angel Jaros, co-owner of Lunker's in downtown Normal, agreed.

"It would be a big disadvantage if Normal passed a smoking ban and Bloomington didn't," she said. "So many people can't smoke at work. - They want a place to unwind and have a cigarette."

Jaros might support a ban that would be lifted after restaurant hours. "After our kitchen closes, 90 percent of our customers smoke," she said.

Koos expects the council would take a final vote on the issue this spring.

User comments on this story »

Garnet Dawn wrote on February 22, 2006 5:24 PM:
"I find it very revealing that the proponents of smoking bans, invasion of private property rights and restriction of personal life style choices seem in most cases reduced to name calling, like children in a school yard. Why do the smoke haters on forum boards find it necessary sound like raving lunatics the majority of the time? Could it be because they don't have any logical arguments to defend their childish hatred for smokers or any reasonable answers why places, where they personally have no investment, should respect their opinions about how other people should behave. If I don't like screaming kids, I don't go to Chucky Cheese. Studies have never proved that SHS is harmful. If more smoke haters took time to learn the facts, they would know that. Till smoking bans became an issue, I never realized how many hypochondriacs and psychotics are allowed to patronize restaurants and bars, just like normal people. If you don't like smoke around you, stay out of smoking establishments... Stop worrying about what other people are doing and get a life. Smoking ban hysteria is displaying the same mentality and reasoning shown just prior to Prohibition in 1920. We don't need additional government regulation. Garnet Dawn "

thomas laprade wrote on February 22, 2006 11:23 PM:
"Leave those smokers alone It can cause severe health effects. They claim that "there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke." This is pure junk science. The first principle of toxicology is that the dose makes the poison. We are exposed to thousands of natural poisons and carcinogens in our diets every day, but they don't hurt us because the exposure is too small to overcome our bodies' natural defenses. The same is true of secondhand smoke. No victim of cancer, heart disease, etc., can "prove" that his or her cancer or heart disease was caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. Various radical environmental groups and liberal advocacy groups have been warning us about the supposed risk of "getting cancer" from everything from apples and soda to coffee, chocolate, french fries, and fish ... and now secondhand smoke. Yet each year Americans are living longer and healthier lives. Cancer rates are going down, not up. Do the math, guys. So let's see: Sound science doesn't show a health risk from secondhand smoke; voluntary limits now make smoke-free restaurants and even bars widely available to nonsmokers; exposure to secondhand smoke is rapidly diminishing. Gee, what should we do? Anti-smoking lobbyists want to ban smoking in the few places left for smokers to enjoy their habits. I don't blame them for this, because attacking smokers is their business, and I mean that literally: They are paid to advocate smoking restrictions. But shouldn't we be just a little more careful before depriving smokers, and the businesses they patronize, of their constitutional liberties? "

Snowbird (Thomas) wrote on February 22, 2006 11:32 PM:
"A little smoke from a handful of crushed leaves and some paper that is mixed with the air of a decently ventilated venue is harmful to your health?? If any body believes that, then I have a bridge I would like to sell them. It is not about health and it never was about health. It is all about de-normalizing smoking. Passing no-smoking legislation is a big step in that direction Unfortunately. the hospitality industry is caught in the cross-fire"

Feb 21, 2006
Legal Question - Illinois Internet Tobacco Tax Bills

Hi Joey and All,

I am sending a copy of Tiffany's note to me (below). I hope she will not mind, but I know this back internet tobacco tax is a top priority on many members' minds. Tiffany is giving us the benefit of her expertise, but don't hold her every word as being written in stone. I think she has supplied a VERY reasonable summation. A class action suit will be too expensive. We cannot move "yesterday", but we need to begin.

It would be wonderful if a few of you with these tax bills, would each just phone a few lawyers (get them out of the phone book or internet Yellow Pages) to learn if any lawyers will tackle this topic "pro bono". Let your fingers do the walking....all they can say is "no". It sure doesn't hurt to ask.....How many of you have made any phone call researching this with lawyers...not just friends. Don't just leave it up to just a few to do this for with us! You may learn helpful information too! I know there are legal firms out there who charge cut rates for clients because their legal staff needs experience and you have to do some of the "grunt" paperwork yourself. They advertise on late night TV and radio stations. Check out Tiffany's suggestion for low income help. (We don't have to be destitute to ask for help....we pay the taxes!) There are also lawyers who will prosecute for a promised percentage of the anticipated potential monetary award (contingency fee), should they win. Volunteers? We need to begin getting these calls made.... Committee? Let me know.

Just remember, the Department of Revenue cannot move rapidly either....they are bound by more red tape than we are. They do not want these cases to become high profile court/media cases either or put anyone in jail. Wage garnishments are no longer easy to obtain....and there must be much advance warning for that kind of action. Our state does not want to make the news for persecuting smoking tax payers. That is why they are picking on smokers in the first place, not drug dealers and criminals...we are categorized as being "easy" and law abiding citizens!

Alderman Ed Smith directed his attention on a Chicago smoking ban, when he gave up on reducing the crime in his own ward, after over 10 years! We are the citizens our greedy layers of government need to survive. Please do not panic!!! Illinois and Cook County are wrong!!! They are just as hesitant to prosecute you as you are to anger them. If you know you can obtain the money if you absolutely need to, why not wait a little longer? Certainly gambling on a small amount of doubtful penalties in relation to the entire extortion amount seems worth it.

I would like to learn the figures on what percentage of these Illinois internet back tobacco tax bills have been paid. I have looked everywhere I could think of. Does anyone know of a way to find this information or where to look?

Also, since when can a retroactive amendment to a legislative act be applied to dates even prior to when it was passed? Where is the legal cut-off date? (I have looked up the IL Tax Act being quoted by the IL DOR, and it was a 2002 Amendment to a 1957 Statute.)
Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Rights - - Respect Freedom of Choice!

> Hi, Garnet.
> As I see it, there are really 2 areas of concern here: immediate
> relief for people facing hefty tax bills, and long-term relief that
> would result from a successful challenge to the law. I really only
> addressed the second area. The only possibly successful challenge I
> see at the moment is a lawsuit (with one plaintiff) against the state
> on equal protection grounds pursuant to the Illinois constitution.
> Essentially we would argue that smokers are being denied equal
> protection of the laws because they are the only group against whom the
> use tax is being enforced. This is still a long-shot, but it's worth
> talking to some attorneys about. Regardless, any such suit will take
> some time. First, we have yet to find a way to fund such a lawsuit or
> find a lawyer willing to pursue it pro bono. Second, even if such a
> suit is started it will take a long time to be decided. This is,
> obviously, not of much help to people who already have tax notices
> sitting in front of them.
> Those people who are in need of immediate assistance should contact tax
> lawyers (unless, of course, the tax is too small to make it worth it.)
> Many tax lawyers will at least offer an initial consultation for a
> minimal fee. Another possible resource for low-income taxpayers is the
> Midwest Tax Clinic. I know they represent people with IRS
> controversies, and they or may not represent people with state tax
> issues. Even if they don't handle state taxes, they may know someone
> else who does. Anyway, a decent tax lawyer should at LEAST be able to
> help to reach a settlement with the state for a lesser amount.
> Once again, I'm very sorry to be the bearer of bad news! I wish I
> could do more to help.
> Tiffany

Internet Sales Update
The Constitution for the United States of America.
Article 1, Section 9, Clause 5:

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.


HR 2824 IH
Internet Tobacco Sales Enforcement Act
July 23, 2003 introduced
January 28, 2004. The House Judiciary Committee amended and approved

Feb 21, 2006
Smokers become alley rats - Chicago, IL

Still no reports on the effects for the hospitality industry since the Chicago smoking ban has been instituted. Smokers are angry. If the Antis could find anything to crow about in terms of beneficial results from the ban, it would be plastered all over the news. There is a poll at this Tribune URL......VOTE! (Go to bottom of this story to see current results.)

Garnet Dawn
Smokers become alley rats
Last month's city ordinance banning smoking near building entrances has forced some to the fringes

By Barbara Rose
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 21, 2006

John Dalton takes a long drag on his Parliament Light, his eyes fixed in a glassy stare on a spot of pavement in front of his feet.

Lost in thought, he is hardly alone. All along the dark alley behind his West Washington Street office, smokers are lighting up. Chatting amicably in twos and threes, they take up posts at delivery entrances that resemble softly lighted alcoves at an intimate party.

A truck's rumbling approach causes a stir: Three smokers dart for safety next to a row of garbage bins.

This smokers' haunt has become more crowded since Chicago's clean indoor air ordinance went into effect Jan. 16, Dalton and others say. The new law, which bans smoking within 15 feet of any entrance to a building where smoking is prohibited, makes it harder on some downtown blocks for workers to find legal places to light up.

"It's consolidated the smokers in certain areas," said Dalton, 51, a project manager. "You find more people in alleys now."

You also find resignation, or indignation. The 15-foot requirement is another incremental shove in smokers' long forced march away from comfort and social acceptance. In Illinois, nearly one in four adults is a smoker, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The law, while clearing entryways of smoke, has disrupted sidewalk routines, spawned a new generation of "no smoking" signs and added to the duties of lobby attendants who must shoo smokers away from vestibules. It's also hatched a new batch of urban legends.

On Randolph Street near Michigan Avenue, a worker paced during her smoking break. "You have to walk up and down or you'll get a $50 ticket," she said, flicking her butt expertly down a manhole.

In a nearby alley, smokers warned one another to stand out of view of a security camera.

A little paranoia is understandable, but Chicago's ordinance makes no mention of smoking in alleys or while standing still.

City officials have yet to issue a citation to a building or restaurant owner, said Department of Business Affairs spokeswoman Rosa Escareno.

As for the police, who are authorized to ticket individuals, "Their first role is safety and fighting crime," she said. "If it leads to an issue of safety, then it becomes a police matter rather than a smoking matter."

The city's 311 line has received 223 smoking complaints so far, Escareno said. A complaint is followed up with an explanatory letter to the establishment where the alleged offense occurred. A second call prompts a warning letter; a third an investigation.

"It really has not been a big problem for the buildings or the city," said Ron Vukos, executive vice president of BOMA Chicago, which represents building owners and managers.

"Some buildings have posted small signs that are fairly inexpensive," he said. "They literally measure off 15 feet and move the ashtrays away from the entrance. It's been very uneventful."

Tell that to smokers.

"I think it's ridiculous," said Mike Walker, 26, an office clerk who meets his girlfriend on smoking breaks outside the Smurfitt-Stone building at 150 N. Michigan Ave.

They used to meet under the building's comfortable corner portico, where smokers congregated around an ashtray near a Metra entrance at Michigan and Randolph. But smoking was banned on building property last month, and the ashtray was removed.

Now they stand on the sidewalk along Randolph, exposed to the elements. "It's a lot messier" without an ashtray, Walker said. "And we're closer to pedestrians."

Legal secretary Bonnie Cipar found a new spot in an alcove at a nearby vacant building. "I don't think we were bothering anyone where we were," she said. "There was an ashtray and we kept it neat. It was always immaculate.

"How do they think they're going to raise $70 million (in new taxes) if you're not allowed to smoke anywhere?" she added, referring to the $1 per pack tax hike in Cook County starting March 1.

Further east, at Aon Center's pristine plaza, smokers are herded under two white canopies ringed with ashtrays. Two smoke-free canopies stand empty all winter.

"They used to turn a blind eye if it was raining or snowing and you smoked underneath the entrance" instead of a canopy, said a smoker who declined to give his name because "according to my wife, I don't smoke anymore. I quit every Friday and start up again on Monday."

Aon Center's property managers take a stern tone.

"Last spring, several brush fires occurred around the center complex as the result of discarded cigarettes," states a recent memo to tenants. "In addition, discarded cigarette butts caused an unsightly scene."

Violators "may be subject to the loss of building access privileges and penalties under the city ordinance," the memo warned.

"It reminds me of high school, the smoking areas," said data entry operator Robert Cruz, 42, puffing on a Camel Lite at a legal distance from the doors at 225 N. Michigan. "A lot of the appeal is getting up, moving away from your desk, taking a chance to daydream a little bit."

Or chat with a fellow smoker. Two Chicago Board of Education workers conferred over cigarettes and root beer while standing beside a sidewalk planter near the curb on West Adams Street.

"See, I'm 15 feet from each entrance," said John Sheridan, 25, throwing his arms out wide. He used to smoke at a planter closer to one of the doors.

"I can respect the `no smoking in a vestibule' rule, but I still find it difficult to understand how you can ban a legal activity," he said.

Jim Garramone, 42, is thankful for restrictions. The pack-a-day smoker recalls lighting up during his 1981 job interview at the Federal Reserve Bank, before indoor smoking was banned. "I'm glad we can't smoke at our desks because I'd smoke a lot more," he said.

The receiving clerk has smoking breaks down to a science.

"There's a certain spot, you can stand right there and you don't get wet," he said, pointing to an overhang on the bank's classical facade, above where he and two others were gathered around a sidewalk ashtray.

Across LaSalle Street, another group smoked alongside Bank of America's sheltering columns. But at the Chicago Board of Trade, ashtrays were moved from the front entrance on Jackson Boulevard to a breezeway around the corner.

"I'm waiting for somebody to come along with little plastic huts and rent them out," accountant Chris Flor, 61, said cheerfully on a smoking break at 111 W. Jackson. "Not every street has a friendly location."

At the north end of the Loop, building maintenance worker Fred Rivers, 37, twirled his short red-handled broom while sweeping butts into a dustpan outside the Chicago Title & Trust Center on Clark Street.

"It used to be packed, they were scattered all over" before smokers moved closer to the curb, he said. Now they toss them into the street, which makes his job easier.

"Five or 10 minutes at the most," he said. "It's real quick."



Has Chicago's smoking ban been a success?

Yes (1378 responses)

No (1406 responses)

2784 total responses
(Poll results not scientific

Feb 21, 2006
Smoking Ban Irks Retirement Home Residents - WA

The following news story is exposing another obscene result from the Washington state smoking ban. We can be sure these conditions are not limited to Washington state. How can anyone still defend smoking bans as a benefit for public health? How can anyone justify such cruelty to our seniors? People are actually paying for nursing and health care to be provided through these Fascist institutions.

Garnet Dawn
Smoking Ban Irks Retirement Home Residents
Monday, February 20, 2006

SPOKANE, Wash. - The state's tough new anti-smoking law has an unlikely opponent: a retired doctor who argues the ban is forcing elderly smokers in nursing homes to take unnecessary risks.

Dr. Robert Guild, 71, says the law is forcing him and other smokers at the Maplewood Gardens Retirement Apartments _ some in wheelchairs and walkers _ to brave an ice- and snow-covered lawn to get to a structure that is far enough away from the retirement facility to meet the ban's requirements.

The smokers have dubbed the structure "Butt Hutt," and argue that it is a poor replacement to the well-ventilated smoking lounge management provided before the ban on indoor smoking went into effect in December.

"There's overhead heating, but it's very inconvenient, and there are no facilities," Guild said, noting that restrooms are important for folks his age.

The state's new smoking ban, which went into effect Dec. 8, is the strictest in the country. In addition to banning smoking indoors, it requires a 25-foot smoke-free buffer around doorways, windows that open and ventilation intakes.

Guild started smoking cigars after he retired from private practice and his teaching position at Michigan State University. He estimates that about 20 percent of Maplewood Gardens' 190 residents smoke.

He said it's irksome to be told you can't smoke in your own home, and those who penned the clean indoor air initiative "ought to be shot." But he's willing to negotiate.

"Give us our smoking room back, and all is forgiven," Guild told the Spokesman-Review for a story in Monday editions.

Other assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and adult family homes across the state are also struggling with the law.

"I doubt that many people knew that this would exclude any smoking by people living in places like this," said Jeff Crollard, attorney for the state's Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.

Crollard drafted a bill that to allow smoking rooms in long-term care facilities, but the legislation, introduced by Rep. John Serben, R-Spokane, died in committee.

Wendy Coram, clinical director of the Carlyle Care Center in downtown Spokane, estimates that 85 to 95 percent of residents there smoke.

The center mostly provides long-term care for patients with mental problems. Coram said it is constantly battling people who violate the fire code by smoking in their rooms. But the other option is to smoke outside where there is no shelter.

"You drive by here at night, and you'll see little 80-year-old ladies bundled up and smoking," Coram said. "Not a healthy situation."

Feb 17, 2006
Congress Exempts Itself From Indoor-Smoking Ban - Washington, D.C.

Our Washington, D.C. Congressional representatives: "Do as I say, not as I do!"

Garnet Dawn
or summary at

Francis Miller/Time Life Pictures - Getty Images
THEN A Senate witness lit up at a 1967 hearing on smoking dangers.

Published: February 12, 2006

WHEN the citywide smoking ban takes effect here next month, at least one workplace in town will be spared: Congress, the beneficiary of a kind of diplomatic immunity for federal lawmakers.

That is excellent news for John A. Boehner of Ohio, the new Republican majority leader, who regularly smokes cigarettes between votes in the House. And for Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat, who sits and smokes cigars while reading the newspaper in the speaker's lobby. And for Sherwood Boehlert, the New York Republican, who is struggling to quit but can be seen inhaling in weaker moments during the workday.

Because while the rest of the country has turned against smoking with great zeal, Congress has stubbornly — some would say proudly — refused to bend. Smoking is still allowed in numerous indoor spaces in the Capitol, most noticeably in the gilded reception area where lawmakers crowd together during the long yeas and nays. Standing ashtrays, usually partly filled with cigar and cigarette butts, are strategically placed in the corridors. In a time when the "smoke-filled room" is more metaphor than fixture, its literal incarnation in Congress can seem almost quaint.

Members are uncharacteristically shy about discussing their smoking habits in a public domain where smoking is supposedly taboo. Not one smoker-lawmaker contacted for this article returned the call. Photographs of lawmakers smoking are virtually impossible to come by (as the blog Wonkette discovered last week when it put out a public call for photographs of Mr. Boehner smoking).

Yet in private, some lawmakers have shown little desire to tamp down the addiction. In some corners, the right to smoke in Congress is seen as a last stand against political correctness, a bulwark against the antismoking fervor that swept the political universe during the Clinton years. (The Clintons famously banned smoking from the White House, reportedly to the annoyance of smokers from the other party who had to attend long meetings there.)

"What will happen is someone will come along and ruin this last bit of fun," said Christopher Buckley, whose satiric novel, "Thank You for Smoking," has been made into a movie.

"As sure as night will follow day, now some aging senator or Congressional page will come down with lung cancer and sue the United States government because of this very room," Mr. Buckley said. "And that last bit of fun will be foreclosed."

Except it's not the last, as it turns out. Against a tide of frantic smoking-ban legislation from coast to coast, the industry has fought to keep smoking permissible everywhere, succeeding mostly in casinos and airport lounges, particularly in the South, and the like. Gambling interests even have their own smoking lobby, and some of the airport lounges were paid for by Philip Morris. Some factory assembly lines, including those at General Motors, allow workers to smoke on the job, partly because of old agreements with labor unions that wanted to keep workers comfortable. Newer union agreements have focused on worker health, and are beginning to phase smoking out.

And even in states that ban smoking altogether in public places, there have been tobacco tussles around statehouses, which are mostly subject to the lawmakers and not the laws. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California put up a tent outside the smokefree capitol in Sacramento so he could conduct business over cigars.

In Mr. Buckley's novel, the protagonist is a publicist for the tobacco industry who nicknames friends in the alcohol and firearms industries merchants of death. Antismoking advocates are all too willing to attribute the tobacco zone in Washington to similarly sinister forces, arguing that the Republican leadership is in the pocket of tobacco behemoths.

Cigarette companies, after all, have poured more than $55 million into campaigns over the last 15 or so years. Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas and the former majority leader, borrowed the corporate planes of R.J. Reynolds at least nine times in the last seven years. One of Mr. Boehner's most famous acts — handing out checks to lawmaker colleagues on the House floor in 1995 — involved donations from tobacco lobbyists.

But if the tobacco lobby was at work in keeping Congress a nicotine refuge, it probably could have saved itself the trouble. A confluence of more potent cultural and demographic forces seems to be at play on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers indulging in a familiar hubris.

"Congress generally has rules for us and rules for them, and the rules for them are very often more pleasant than the rules for us," Mr. Buckley said.

"They exist on their own island," said Vincent Morris, a spokesman for the district's mayor, Anthony A. Williams, who declined to veto the new city council ban on smoking in restaurants and bars. "We would not be able to enforce the smoking ban in the speaker's lobby," Mr. Morris said, referring to the reception area. The Congress, he said, "is kind of old school in that sense."

Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, a nonsmoker who has written letters urging the House leadership to revise the internal rules, said, "I think some Republicans in the leadership smoke and feel they have a right to smoke wherever they want to smoke."

"If I want to sit in the speaker's lobby outside the House chambers I have to breathe in tobacco smoke, from cigarettes and cigars," Mr. Waxman said. "And it's sometimes unbearable."

But Washington's antismoking advocates seem resigned. "We recognize Congress does what it wants and has always done what it wants," said Angela Bradbery, a founder of Smokefree DC. "We don't have the capacity to do anything about it. And we're not going to try to get them to change their ways."

Feb 16, 2006
Municipal leaders to back statewide smoking ban bill - Chicagoland suburbs

Once again, this opinion by our legislators only represents the views of the Chicago collar communities. It does not represent the rest of Illinois.

Garnet Dawn
Feb. 16, 2006
Municipal leaders to back statewide smoking ban bill

The Northwest Municipal Conference is backing a bill set to go before the state House that would make nearly all Illinois workplaces, restaurants and bars go smoke-free.

The civic group -- which includes mayors and other village officials from 50 municipalities in the north and northwest suburbs -- formally endorsed the proposal at its monthly meeting last week in Prospect Heights.

The vote mirrors a NWMC survey indicating near unanimous support for a statewide ban. However, the survey showed local leaders are less enthusiastic about a regional or local smoking ban.

Buffalo Grove Village President Elliott Hartstein said that's because a statewide ban levels the playing field for businesses and municipalities.

"It allows not having one town worry about whether or not restaurants or businesses will close up shop and move to the next town over," he said.

Schaumburg Village President Al Larson, who opposes a local ban in his community, said a survey of Schaumburg restaurant owners showed mixed results.

"From what we have seen so far, the ones who oppose the ban are the larger restaurants in our community like Maggiano's or Morton's. The smaller ones seem to be more agreeable," Larson said.

Only Palatine Mayor Rita Mullins and Northbrook Village President Eugene Marks voted against endorsement.

Mullins said her village will soon seek input from local restaurants regarding the ban.

Marks said the statewide ban prevents elected officials from deciding their own community smoking policy.

An Illinois House Health Care Availability committee approved the bill 6-4 on Feb. 7, advancing it to the full House for consideration.

Non-Home Rule communities were granted the legal right to decide for themselves how to resolve the smoking issue after a law went into effect Jan. 1. That law would be superseded by the new measure should it win approval from the House, Senate and Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The bill -- HB4338 -- would phase in over two years a wide-ranging ban of all smoking in most indoor public places, including bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and casinos. It would also ban smoking within 15 feet of the entrances of those places. The bill's lead sponsor is state Rep. Annazette Collins, D-10th.

Mark Fowler, executive director of the conference, said Illinois is likely next in line to follow the smoke-free trend that has already snuffed out smoking in restaurants and bars in California and New York. Chicago enacted a smoking ban this year.

"With 17 states having already passed a ban, I think, in Illinois, that's the direction this issue is going," Fowler said.

Staff writer Patrick Corcoran can be reached at .

Feb 16, 2006
Smokers' emotional reaction to ban;
Smoke ban 'threatens environment' - Smoking ban in England

Below are some reactions to the smoking ban in England.

I wonder, if it is so ridiculous to try to heat the open air, it is also just as ridiculous for the USA to ban smoking "...In the open air". If the Antis don't like it, rescind all the smoking bans and end all this nonsense. Every time the government sticks their noses into regulating human behavior or our environment, they create new problems.

Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Norman Baker: "Patio heaters are an absurd invention. It is ludicrous that people are trying to heat the open air, as well as being irresponsible in the light of the climate change challenge we face."
They wanted this indoor ban. Now, live with it! - Garnet Dawn
Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 21:59 GMT

Smokers' emotional reaction to ban
By Lucy Wilkins
BBC News

Smokers can get quite emotional about their precious puffs.

When told that from next year they will no longer be able to enjoy a smoke in a pub, some shrieked in outrage.

"What? No way, they can't do that," said one woman in a smoky west London pub shortly after MPs voted for a blanket ban.

Her two friends, both with cigarettes in hand and fag ends in an ashtray, were also aghast.

"It's people's choice to smoke. What about people who just want to relax with a smoke and a drink?" said 20-year-old Freya Eden.

A smoker for five years, she said the ban would not encourage people to stop smoking.

"That ban was the reason I left Ireland. If they introduce a ban here, I'll have to move somewhere else" - Irish smoker in London

"They won't give up, they'll just get ill standing out in the cold in the street."

Not only that, but there would be "more litter and more fights, it'll just move everything out onto the street".

Her friend was staunch in defence of her right to smoke in pubs: "I'm still going to do it, I don't care if I end up with a £1,000 fine."

As others enjoyed a Valentine's Day drink in another pub, the manager - a smoker - welcomed the ban.

The Australian said he might even give up himself as "it's too cold to go outside here".

Non-smoker Richard Driscoll, 30, enjoyed a swift pint with his pregnant partner, sitting near the vast opening that constitutes the entrance to a Weatherspoons pub.

"We're sitting near the door to get some fresh air," he said, although its debatable how fresh the air is on the upper floor of an air conditioned shopping centre.

"It's just a quick stop for us here tonight, but we do like coming to Weatherspoons because it's got smoke-free areas."

He said when he visits his parents in Ireland, where a smoking ban was introduced almost two years ago, "it's a real pleasure going into a pub".

But the Irish ban was not welcomed by all.

"That ban was the reason I left Ireland. If they introduce a ban here, I'll have to move somewhere else," said an Irish woman as she picked up her lighter.

"I want to smoke and drink at the same time. I don't want to eat and smoke, but when I finish a meal I immediately want to have a smoke.


"Why can't they have dining areas and smoking areas?" she asked before offering a shot of Sambuca.

Her friend, David, who described himself as a Mandinka warrior, felt the whole smoking ban was just a fabricated controversy, designed to deflect the real attention away from the Iraq war.

He became so animated in criticising the government and prime minister Tony Blair that he actually put down his unlit cigarette and lighter in order to gesture more forcefully.

Perhaps, in an unintentional way, the ban will make more people put down their cigarettes.

Smoke ban 'threatens environment'
Thursday, 16 February 2006, 12:42 GMT

Patio heaters allow people to eat, drink and smoke outside.
As campaigners cheer a total smoking ban, there are fears

sending smokers outside will lead to a huge increase in
greenhouse gas-emitting patio heaters.

Labour MP Stephen Pound said when he visited Ireland recently - where a smoking ban is already in force - pub gardens were "covered" in the heaters. Britain's greenhouse gas emissions are already up by 380,000 tonnes a year due to such devices, it is claimed.

Lib Dem Norman Baker advised smokers to "enjoy the bracing air" instead.

'Extraordinary sight'

The BBC's environment correspondent Roger Harrabin said patio heaters have become a "beacon of aspiration" for those keen on enjoying outdoor dining, in the UK's unpredictable climate.

During Tuesday's smoking debate in the Commons Ealing North MP Mr Pound told members of his recent trip to Temple Bar area of Dublin, where a smoking ban in public places is already in force.

"What an extraordinary sight greeted me when, with a number of my Parliamentary colleagues and several members of the Dail, I visited a number of pubs to find that all of them fell into one or other of two categories.

"Either the entire perimeter area was covered with patio heaters and armchairs so that anybody who wanted to go into the admittedly smoke-free pub had to fight their way through a tangible fug of nicotine-soaked air to get into the damned place in the first place, which makes something of a nonsense of it," said Mr Pound, who has vowed to give up smoking following the ban vote.

Health campaigners have welcomed a vote paving the way for a ban on smoking in all pubs, clubs and restaurants in England, which will come into effect from the summer of 2007 following a free vote by MPs.

'Barbed comment'

But the increased use of patio heaters is also of growing concern to some politicians.

Labour's Desmond Turner, MP for Brighton Kemptown, wants to ban them completely, calling them a "waste of energy".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The use of patio heaters accounts for about one million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, which immediately cancels out, for instance, the savings made by government changes to vehicle taxations."

Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Norman Baker agreed that patio heaters were a "waste of resources" and "doomed to failure".

He told the BBC News website: "If I see patio heaters I try to make the point in a barbed comment to the person using it.

"I'm not against people smoking outside, it's better than them smoking inside, but I think they should enjoy the bracing air around them."

He later said the government should establish an effective strategy, such as selling patio heaters with "health warning" style labels.

"Patio heaters are an absurd invention. It is ludicrous that people are trying to heat the open air, as well as being irresponsible in the light of the climate change challenge we face.
"Instead of reaching for the gas canister people should reach for another jumper instead," he added.

Parliamentary questions by Mr Baker have revealed Britain's greenhouse gas emissions are up by 380,000 tonnes a year due to patio heaters.

Using a patio heater for two hours produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as a car produces in an average day, it is claimed.

Feb 15, 2006
Blagojevich proposes long list of programs in election-year budget - IL

Good ol' Blago is going to go after cigar smokers with Illinois taxes this year. Chicago and Cook County have already beat him to the punch by instituting 2006 new and already over abused cigarette user taxes first. The state tax increase may motivate more cigar smokers to join cigarette smokers in their protests this coming year. The cigar and cigarette taxes could also be equalized by reducing the current state cigarette tax, and offset by a reduction in wasteful state government spending.......
"Cigar smokers would pay $10 million more a year under a change that Blagojevich says would equalize tax rates for cigars and cigarettes."
Bigger and more wasteful government in Illinois in 2007? Don't forget Cook County and Chicago budgets, over and above the state's spending plans.....

"Blagojevich's budget calls for state government to spend $55.3 billion in fiscal 2007, an increase of $950 million, or 1.7 percent."
Garnet Dawn

Illinois Smokers' Piggy Banks?

Posted on Wed, Feb. 15, 2006

Blagojevich proposes long list of programs in election-year budget
Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Gov. Rod Blagojevich is taking advantage of the state's improving economy to propose an election-year budget that would expand preschool, help families pay for college and hire more police and prison guards.

"This budget is about continuing to make progress for the people of Illinois," he said Wednesday.
But the budget he outlined would break his campaign promise to devote at least half of all new revenue to education. And he based parts of his budget on revenue ideas that have failed before or, in at least one case, on no specific idea at all.

His proposal would hold income and sales taxes at their current level, upholding a campaign pledge that Blagojevich is likely to make a centerpiece of his re-election bid.

Cigar smokers would pay a higher tax, however, and businesses would lose several tax breaks, giving Republicans ammunition to renew their accusations that Blagojevich is driving jobs out of state.

Blagojevich maintains his administration has helped Illinois businesses thrive and record their highest profits in a decade. That, in turn, has produced more tax revenues and spared the state another year of massive deficits, he says.

"It has created a better climate for business, and it's paying off," he told a joint session of the General Assembly.

Blagojevich's budget calls for state government to spend $55.3 billion in fiscal 2007, an increase of $950 million, or 1.7 percent.

That's almost exactly the amount of growth in the state's income and sales tax revenue, which the governor expects to reach $17.852 billion, up 5.6 percent.

Elementary and secondary education would get an increase of more than $400 million, or 7.3 percent. Chicago's troubled schools would get $100 million of that, and $45 million would go toward Blagojevich's plan to make preschool available to all 3- and 4-year-olds, a bookend to his All Kids health care plan.

"I'm asking you to embrace a broader vision, a vision that all children ought to have access to health care and all children ought to have access to preschool," he said in an address that highlighted themes he will almost certainly emphasize in his re-election campaign.

He also proposes $90 million in tax credits to help families pay tuition for college freshmen and sophomores, so long as they maintain a "B" average.

After years of reducing the number of state employees, Blagojevich proposes to hire about 1,100, bringing the total to 58,490.

Some of those would be prison guards, including staff to finally open a prison in Thomson that has stood empty for years. Blagojevich would also hire 100 new state police.

Much of his proposal is likely to pass easily.

Blagojevich and Democratic legislative leaders agreed last spring on a two-year plan that sharply cut the amount of money owed to state pension systems. That decision set the stage for lawmakers to pass this year's budget with a minimum of bickering.

"They have been working together on the budget. There may be some revision, but certainly the framework is there," said Cindy Davidsmeyer, spokeswoman for Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago.

The part of the budget devoted to construction projects will face a harder test. It requires approval by two-thirds of lawmakers, essentially giving veto power to the Legislature's Republican minority.

Blagojevich wants to borrow $3.2 billion to build new roads, mass transit systems and schools. Republicans object, saying he has not spelled out how to pay that debt and cannot be trusted to allocate the money fairly.

While the governor insists he can pay most of the debt from existing revenues, aides acknowledge one question mark: How to pay for the school portion of that construction plan. His original idea - legalizing keno games - failed, and Blagojevich is still looking for an alternative.

Some of his other revenue proposals have come up before and been ignored by lawmakers. They include a $48 million change in the way software is taxed, ending a $25 million tax subsidy to some landfills and imposing $45 million in taxes on some gasoline-distribution companies that are now exempt.

These measures, Blagojevich says, are unfair "loopholes" that benefit business without creating jobs. On the other hand, he wants to expand a tax break for the film industry, saying the $5 million to $10 million in lost revenue would put more people to work.

Cigar smokers would pay $10 million more a year under a change that Blagojevich says would equalize tax rates for cigars and cigarettes.

Blagojevich inherited massive deficits - largely caused by stagnant revenues and soaring health care costs - ever since he took office three years ago.

He responded by eliminating thousands of jobs that were vacant because of an early retirement program and raising many small taxes and fees. He also took money from accounts supported by special-purpose fees, something he wants to do again to the tune of $144 million.

Blagojevich says next year's new revenues will cover routine spending increases - in other words, there will be no deficit.

But that is possible only because of last year's decision to cut state pension payments, a policy that Republicans decry as irresponsible. Blagojevich's budget office also could not say Tuesday night whether the governor's budget would slow down Medicaid payments to hospitals, pharmacies and other health care providers.

Blagojevich proposed a long-term effort to streamline routine administrative services. He wants, for instance, all agencies related to crime and prisons to share accounting, human resources and procurement services.

Ultimately, that will save $100 million a year and cut the number of employees providing those services in half, to 2,000 or fewer, he says.