Sunday, January 29, 2006

Jan 29, 2006
Decision puts tobacco exposure in same category as diesel exhaust, arsenic - CA

Didn't many well publicized previous studies prove that breast cancer was the one type they could not even begin to remotely relate in any way to smoking? Is this just another gimmick to propel more smoking bans?

Is it legitimate to state that the U.S. Surgeon General's report carries less authority than the California EPA's?

That finding conflicts with a 2004 report by the U.S. Surgeon General. Sanford Barsky, a UC, Los Angeles, researcher writing on behalf of the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company, told the board the report "either ignores mentioning or does not give the appropriate weight to studies which refute this association" between secondhand smoke and breast cancer.

Garnet Dawn
Calif. declares secondhand smoke a pollutant
Decision puts tobacco exposure in same category as diesel exhaust, arsenic

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 8:01 a.m. ET Jan. 27, 2006

SACRAMENTO - California became the first state to declare secondhand smoke a toxic air pollutant Thursday, citing its link to breast cancer. Experts said the decision may have more impact worldwide than it does in the largely smoke-free state.

The decision by the California Air Resources Board puts environmental tobacco smoke in the same category as diesel exhaust, arsenic and benzene.

Scientific studies in recent years have warned about the health impact from second-hand smoke and linked it to a wide array of ailments including heart disease, lung cancer and other respiratory ailments, as well as breast cancer.

“I think there is no question that this puts California way ahead,” said John Froines, chairman of the Air Resources Board’s Scientific Review Panel.

“To actually have the major air pollution agency in the state of California to list ETS (environmental tobacco smoke) as a toxic air contaminant is going to have immense impact, we think, in terms of public education around other states,” he said. “It will clearly lead to regulatory changes within the state.”

The unanimous decision relied on a September report that found a sharply increased risk of breast cancer in young women exposed to secondhand smoke. It also links drifting smoke to premature births, asthma and heart disease, other cancers, and numerous health problems in children.

"If people are serious about breast cancer, they have to deal with secondhand smoke. That's what this is all about," said Dr. Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control, Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. He reviewed the science behind Thursday's decision. "This is a seminal, international document. It's impossible to underestimate what a big deal this is."

Effects of passive smoke
The report by scientists at California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment draws on more than 1,000 other studies of the effects of passive smoke. It blamed secondhand smoke for 4,000 deaths each year in California from lung cancer or heart disease alone.

The most significant new finding is that young women exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing breast cancer between 68 percent and 120 percent. The disease kills about 40,000 women in the United States each year.

That finding conflicts with a 2004 report by the U.S. Surgeon General. Sanford Barsky, a UC, Los Angeles, researcher writing on behalf of the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company, told the board the report "either ignores mentioning or does not give the appropriate weight to studies which refute this association" between secondhand smoke and breast cancer.

California scientists say their research is more current than the Surgeon General's report. The California report went through an exhaustive review that delayed its release for nearly a year but ensures it is based on sound research, said Dr. John Froines, director of UCLA's Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and head of the scientific review panel.

R.J. Reynolds spokesman David Howard said regardless of the dangers from passive smoke indoors, no research supports regulators' decision to declare it an air pollutant.

"No studies exist that show that exposure outdoors leads to any increased risk of tobacco-associated illness," he said.

Next, the air board must consider regulatory steps to reduce exposure, a process that could take years.

"This is no longer some crazy, California, Left Coast way of thinking," said Cynthia Hallett, executive director of Berkeley-based Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. She cited smoking bans that have been enacted or are being considered across the nation and in other countries.

Growing tobacco bans
The decision in the California state capital kicks off a process that will likely take two or three years as officials study ways to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.

A spokeswoman for tobacco giant Philip Morris USA, a unit of Altria Group Inc., declined to comment.

In 1994, California became the first U.S. state to bar smoking in the workplace, and then followed up with bans on smoking in restaurants and bars. Other American cities and states have since adopted similar prohibitions.

Several California cities have enacted wider bans, such as San Francisco, which now prohibits smoking in city parks, and Los Angeles, which bars smoking at piers and beaches.

The effect is likely to be greatest outside of California, which already bans smoking in or near most public buildings, including bars and restaurants. Much of the initial effort in California will focus on public education emphasizing the scientific findings and Thursday's air board decision, said Paul Knepprath, vice president for government relations at the American Lung Association of California.

The association unsuccessfully pushed legislation in 2003 that would have banned smoking in motor vehicles containing young children, and could try for a similar law next year, Knepprath said.

The association may also push for nonsmoking floors or wings in apartment buildings, much as hotels offer smoke-free areas, Knepprath said.

"People live in apartments all across California who are exposed to secondhand smoke on a daily basis," Knepprath said. "It drifts from a common area or another apartment."

Hallett said that could one day force regulations requiring separate ventilation systems for smoking and nonsmoking apartments.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report
Jan 29, 2006
Decision puts tobacco exposure in same category as dies...
A very helpful letter from Michael:

In a message dated 1/29/2006 4:50:31 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

Didn't many well publicized previous studies prove that breast cancer was the one type they could not even begin to remotely relate in any way to smoking? Is this just another gimmick to propel more smoking bans?

Glantz got together with several actual medical researchers in some sort of conference setting a few months ago (there's a transcript floating around the internet somewhere that I read but lost track of for now) and pushed the argument that for one particular type of breast cancer (premenopausal) the statistics showed a correlation with smoke exposure. My memory of the transcript isn't perfect, but I believe it was largely Glantz who argued that smoking in "large" doses fiddled with estrogen output and thereby lowered a woman's chance for postmenopausal breast cancer (despite supposedly increasing the risks by itself if one balanced the estrogen thing) but that because estrogen levels weren't so important in premenopausal breast cancer or because the lower exposure didn't jiggle them that the effect of the smoke became more important.

They have at least a SMALL degree of theoretical basis/justification for their argument, but in my judgment (and remember, I don't even play a doctor on TV...) it's pretty small. Secondary smoke exposure cross-correlates with all sorts of other stuff: drinking, sex, drug use, likelihood of pregnancy, probably dietary food choices, etc etc etc. Knowing the leanings of Stan Glantz, and the GREAT desirability for the Antis of being able to make a claim that they could focus on threatening our little female children who are being "forced" to work in "toxic tobacco smoke polluted environments", I would seriously doubt that there was a lot of effort put into correcting for confounders.

Over the past 15 years or so the Antismokers moved into a new phase in their research activities. At some point at one of their conferences they confronted the problem that young people were generally not worrying about getting cancer at age 70. They decided that they needed to find things that young folks would worry about and produce research that would reach that target group. The suggestions were along the lines of "smoking makes your breath smell" and "smoking makes it harder to get dates" (see: for an example of this aimed at a young age group), "smoking makes you impotent" and "smoking gives you early wrinkles" and "smoking will make you fat"

It's been a case of "Ask, and thou shalt receive." The research money was pumped in, the studies were designed, and the eventual results interpreted and misinterpreted from here to get out the gang, and now we've got billboards, TV ads, and scary sounding news articles about all those things. (Yeah, they've actually tried the fat one: called it "Teenage Mesomorphic Syndrome" or somesuch).

The breast cancer / ETS combo falls nicely along these lines because breast cancer is something even teenage girls start worrying about nowadays. Throw in the great double punch of parents worrying about their little girls getting breast cancer from waitressing and there's a LOT of motivation to create this impression regardless of how shaky the science might be. The "cute little girl waitress" impression gets used to outlaw smoking in bars and strip clubs.

Remember: these are the folks who gave us Helena... they have NO compunction about misleading people in the name of "the greater good" of reducing/eliminating smoking.

"Dr." Stanton Glantz

Several other things in the article are worth noting as well: "Dr." Stanton Glantz has been given a "Professor of Medicine" title at the school he brings so much money to, but his "Dr."ate is actually Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.... not medicine... something that an organ as supposedly responsible as the AP should have noted itself. Also, the article notes that breast cancer kills about 40,000 women in the U.S. each year. It fails to note what portion of these are pre-menopausal breast cancers (the only kind this study makes a claim for) but I believe it's down around 10%, i.e. 4,000. Even if the effect claimed by Glantz were true, by the time one adjusted for confounders and for proportion of women "exposed" etc the numbers "caused" by such exposure would likely be a lot closer to 400 than 40,000.

My own, admittedly non-medically-professional belief, is that the real numbers are more likely zero or close to it. By "close to it" I mean that any that DID exist are probably down in the same rough range as the numbers caused by drinking tap water or living in Los Angeles in general... and significantly less than the excess risk entailed by holding off on pregnancy till after age 30!

- Michael

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of The Smoker's Club, Inc.
web page:

Jan 29, 2006
Smoke-free initiatives are statewide movement - IL

The headline is very misleading. This is purely an update, sending out feelers. We already know the Antis don't like to take "no" for an answer.

Garnet Dawn
Smoke-free initiatives are statewide movement
Published Online January 29, 2006

SPRINGFIELD – Kathy Drea's list keeps on growing.

Drea, director of public policy for the American Lung Association of Illinois, keeps a list of Illinois communities that are considering restricting or banning smoking in public places – or have passed restrictions. The list includes 40 cities, up five in the past week.

"They're all over the state," said Drea, who works out of Springfield. "We're definitely surprised. We really thought after the bill passed (that let cities restrict smoking) that just a couple of communities might address the issue.

"Today we have 40 communities considering it. It's a major public policy issue in Illinois."

Among the cities mulling smoke-free ordinances are Bloomington, Normal, Joliet, Carbondale, Murphysboro, Edwardsville, Quincy and DeKalb, plus a number of Chicago-area communities, she said.

Springfield became the first downstate city to outlaw smoking, when on Jan. 17 the city council voted 6-4 to ban it in nearly all indoor workplaces, including bars, restaurants and private clubs. The ordinance takes effect Sept. 17, and illegal smoking can result in a fine of $50 to $300.

The Chicago City Council, after years of sidestepping the issue, passed a phased-in ban, with smoking in restaurants and workplaces banned last Monday and a bar ban set to go into effect in July 2008.

Add Urbana to the list of cities about to consider the issue.

At Monday's city council meeting, Alderman Dennis Roberts, D-Ward 5, said the city will hold a public forum on the issue in late February or early March at the Urbana Civic Center.

"Several people on the council and the mayor generally support this," Roberts said.

Last September, the Champaign City Council defeated, in a straw poll, a proposal to ban smoking in restaurants and bars. Efforts to revive the issue have stalled.

Urbana Alderman Charlie Smyth, D-Ward 1, said the biggest issue for Urbana is if "we should just do it, period, without Champaign.

"The ideal thing would be for Champaign to pass (a smoking ban), too," Smyth said. "But they're sort of deadlocked, and I don't feel like waiting for them. Maybe they'll act if we do something."

On a personal level, Smyth said he's tired of having to deal with cigarette smoke.

"If I want to go to a bar and listen to a band, I've got to subject myself to a couple of hours of smoking," he said. "It's no fun any more. I enjoy being able to go to dinner and not smell smoke anywhere in the room."

Unlike C-U, the Bloomington City Council and Normal Town Board are working together, with a joint meeting set for Monday night to discuss potential solutions.

Bloomington Mayor Steve Stockton said a Illinois Wesleyan University poll found 76 percent of Bloomington-Normal residents favor a restaurant smoking ban and 66 percent favor banning smoking in bars.

"We're assuming, by about 3 to 1, a majority wants to stop smoking where food is served," Stockton said.

Stockton said he is leaning toward banning smoking where food is served, including bars that serve food, and he's received hundreds of e-mails on the issue.
"Some days I'll get 30 or 40," he said.

Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said no formal discussion about a public smoking ban is occurring at the city council level, but city officials are following the issue as other cities begin to regulate smoking.

A nonsmoker, Eisenhauer said he has been contacted by Danville residents who want a ban. He admits he's a bit wary.

"Any time you start dealing with peoples' rights, the rights of a smoker versus the rights of a nonsmoker, it's an extremely difficult task to craft an ordinance that will please both sides," he said. "It's almost impossible to do.

"Our perspective is let's identify the pitfalls and try and avoid some of them when it comes time for our discussion."

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said his city council isn't considering a smoking ban. Council members are content to let private business owners decide if and when to go smoke free.

Peoria has a large number of independent, family-owned restaurants, and Ardis said council members are concerned that a restaurant smoking ban could harm those businesses. Drea said an anti-tobacco coalition has formed in Peoria and will begin pressuring the council.

Decatur also hasn't taken up the smoke-free issue, but "There's no doubt the council will be addressing this some time in the future," Mayor Paul Osborne said.

Drea said the medical community in Decatur, which helped pass a leaf burning ban a few years ago, is organizing in support of a smoking ban.

Jan 27, 2006
DuPage County board solicits smoking ban power - IL

From what I have read and been able to locate on the subject, Cook is the only county in IL with Home Rule authority. If I am correct in my conclusion, according to the Illinois Constitution, it currently takes a referendum to change an IL county to home rule. In the past voters have rejected attempts by IL counties to enact this authority which then allows them to enact additional taxes and ordinances, over and above the municipalities and state, as Cook County has done repeatedly.

A smoking ban may be the current issue the Du Page county board is focusing upon, but new taxes will follow and county home rule should be decided by voters, not the Illinois legislature. It appears to me, if this new law is approved, it will open Illinois residents to additional county taxes state-wide, following the example Cook County has already set. In addition, the Illinois Clean Air-Home Rule Amendment passed last summer gave MUNICIPALITIES the power to enact smoking bans. Counties were not included in the law, and this will mean another amendment to that law will be required.

Does anyone have any additional knowledge on this governmental issue, before I write to the newspapers or anyone else?
Center for Governmental Studies, Northern Illinois University

".......Do county voters support home rule? No. Nine counties held a total of eleven referenda between 1972-76 to adopt home rule. All failed by substantial margins. In the aggregate, county voters rejected home rule by a margin of 3-1. No county has attempted such a referendum since 1976.....

....At the time of the November 2000 elections, Illinois had 147 cities and villages and one county (Cook) with home rule powers...."
Garnet Dawn - The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -
Illinois Smokers Rights - - Respect Freedom of Choice!
DuPage County board solicits smoking ban power
By Kathy Cichon

In an almost unanimous decision, the DuPage County Board on Jan. 23 passed a resolution in support of state legislation that would give the county the authority to regulate smoking in unincorporated areas.

"This is not a ban," said County Board member Linda Kurzawa, who is also president of the county Board of Health. "It does not call for a ban."

What it does, officials said, is ask the state to allow the county the option to pass a smoking ban in unincorporated areas of DuPage only — not within individual municipalities. In addition, the resolution calls for the county's recently created Financial Forecast Committee to "explore the feasibility of a cigarette tax as a potential revenue source to prevent tobacco usage and promote cessation particularly among young people."

"There's going to be plenty of opportunity for people to come in and address the pros and cons," said County Board Vice Chairman John Noel, R-Glen Ellyn. "It's not a done deal that is going to result in some sort of tax."

Anti-smoking advocates praised the action.

"With this bold step, you are helping to protect the health of all DuPage County residents, and in particular our youth," said Kathy Drea, director of public policy for the American Lung Association of Illinois-Iowa.

Studies suggest a 10 percent increase in the cigarette tax will reduce smoking by 12 percent among young people, according to data presented by Kurzawa on Jan. 23.

Should the General Assembly amend state law to allow non-home-rule counties such as DuPage to regulate smoking in public places, it paves the way for DuPage to ban smoking in public establishments in unincorporated areas.

"This is baby steps," said Kurzawa, R-Winfield. "First you have to get the authority, then you educate and build your coalition."

The resolution, which passed 16-2, prompted criticism from some board members, including one who said the matter is not one for government to decide and another who said the request doesn't go far enough.

"I'm disappointed that what did pass is so watered down," said County Board member Brien Sheahan, R-Elmhurst. "It's virtually meaningless."

He did vote for the resolution, however, because he said he believes in the anti-smoking principle.

Sheahan originally asked DuPage to look at implementing a countywide smoking ban in November, along with asking the state to amend the Illinois Indoor Clean Air Act so it could do so. This would eliminate the fear among municipalities of being the first to go smoke-free, he said.

Contact Kathy Cichon at or (630) 416-5114. 01/27/06

Jan 26, 2006
Philip Morris to stop shipments to illegal sellers - National

More "Dragnet". This makes me wonder which 33 states. Once again the states have big tobacco over a barrel. Altria almost has to cooperate in order to support their retail sales outlets. However, using reduction of sales to underage consumers as justification is just an excuse. Teens can always find alternative methods to get cigarettes if they want them.

The legitimate Sovereign Indian remote outlets do not accept manufacturer coupons from PM or RJR and do not participate in big tobacco's "trade" programs. The fight is not over. The Indians still have valid treaties. Those who sell out to the states are doing so by their own choice. Reputable Indian distributors have vowed to destroy all their customer lists before they will turn them over to government officials.

Garnet Dawn
Philip Morris to stop shipments to illegal sellers
Thu Jan 26, 2006 03:29 PM ET

CHICAGO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Cigarette maker Philip Morris USA on Thursday said it agreed to suspend shipments to customers that states find have illegally sold cigarettes over the Internet or by fax, mail or telephone.

The unit of Altria Group Inc. (MO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) reached the agreement with attorneys general in 33 states and other jurisdictions as a way of trying to curtail illegal sales of cigarettes over the Internet and through the mail.

Opponents of these "remote" sales of cigarettes argue that they let customers avoid age restrictions for purchasing cigarettes, as well as state excise taxes.

The maker of Marlboro and other brands also said that it would reduce the volume of its cigarettes available to customers that a state determines have indirectly engaged in illegal remote sales.

It will also stop a retailer from participating in its trade programs -- where retailers receive financial incentives for certain activity -- if a state determines that the retailer has engaged in illegal remote selling of the company's cigarettes.

The agreement "sets a framework for continued information sharing with law enforcement and support of their efforts to eliminate illegal sales of Philip Morris USA products," Denise Keane, Philip Morris USA general counsel, said in a news release.

A Philip Morris spokesman did not return a phone call seeking further comment.

Altria shares were up 5 cents at $73.90 in late Thursday afternoon trading on the NYSE.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Jan 26, 2006
Plan to ban public puffing topic tonight - Elk Grove Village, IL

This still is in the preliminary stages, but may help to reflect the general mood of other Chicago suburbs.....
Garnet Dawn
Plan to ban public puffing topic tonight

Elk Grove Village officials want to hear residents' thoughts on a proposed smoking ban.

The village's Judicial, Planning and Zoning Committee meeting will discuss the proposed ban at 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday) at the Charles Zettek Municipal Building, 901 Wellington Ave. Public comment is welcomed.

The proposal seeks to ban smoking in restaurants, businesses and other public places, including outdoor dining areas and parks. If a form of the proposed smoking ban is approved by the JPZ Committee, the Village Board could vote as early as Feb. 28.

Tonight's meeting follows on the heels of last week's Board of Health meeting, where leaders called cigarettes a threat to public safety. The Board of Health unanimously recommended the Village Board approve the ban.

Health Board chairman Jim Christie said the evidence indicating the danger of smoking and second-hand smoke is indisputable.

"As an advisory board, this board has issued a public health statement that smoking is harmful," he said. "Our job is to implement policies to protect this community's health."

Rights ?
While some residents who attended the board meeting called the proposed ban an unfair violation of property and personal rights, the majority said an end to smoking in bars and restaurants is overdue.

Resident Fred Renzetti said smoking bans have worked in big cities like New York and San Francisco and will work locally too.

"Smoking not only affects people who smoke, but also people who don't smoke. I don't believe people who smoke have the right to contaminate the air around them. (The ban) is just a matter of time. If cities and states can do it, Elk Grove can do it too."

The recommendation was crafted by Christie and board members Sal Pace and Dick Scholten.

Several local bar and restaurant owners said the ban will put them at a disadvantage unless neighboring communities follow suit.

Rich Kotini, owner of the Ringside bar and restaurant in Elk Grove, said he endorses a regional or statewide ban on smoking in restaurants, but fears his smoking patrons will head elsewhere to imbibe.

"We're on Devon Avenue, and Wood Dale is right down the street and Des Plaines isn't much farther," he said. "We're really going to be affected (negatively) a lot."

Debbie Handler, owner of the Elk Grove Bowl, said she has not sold cigarettes at her business for at least seven years, but a ban will hurt business.

"A tremendous amount of our customers will go to other bowling centers. Even though they know a statewide ban is inevitable, they won't come back once we lose them," she said.


While communities such as Highland Park and Wilmette have enacted smoking bans, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines and Wheeling have voted down similar proposals. Village officials in Hoffman Estates, Palatine and Schaumburg have indicated they won't approve bans unless done on a regional or statewide level. The Northwest Municipal Conference is surveying members about the smoking issue.

Without endorsing the proposal, Trustee Sam Lissner said Elk Grove should act independently of nearby towns.

"Even if the state gets into it and approves a ban, people around the borders will complain that their business is heading to Wisconsin or Indiana," he said.

The board did not discuss a proposal under review to ban the sale of cigarettes throughout the village.

Lissner said the proposal to ban cigarette sales will be revisited depending on the outcome of the Village Board's vote on a smoking ban.

Staff writer Patrick Corcoran can be reached at .

Jan 26, 2006
Kick the habit to save some cash? - Joliet, IL

Never say die! Typical. - Garnet Dawn
Kick the habit to save some cash?

• Smoking in Joliet: Ban proponent pushes incentives for businesses
By Charles B. Pelkie
Staff Writer

JOLIET — Bar and restaurant owners breathed a sigh of relief after a proposal for a cigarette smoking ban appeared to wheeze its dying breath this week.

But the smoking debate continues to gasp for air.

Councilman Tim Brophy proposed a ban in December after the Chicago City Council pushed through controversial restrictions on public smoking. But he declined to call for a draft ordinance Monday night after local tavern and casino owners offered gloom-and-doom predictions about customers fleeing Joliet for competitors in neighboring towns.

The councilman, however, said he has received many calls and e-mails since Monday's joint session of the land use and public safety committee meetings urging him to continue his effort to reduce the harmful effects of secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants. He plans to push forward, but he is switching tactics.

Brophy has asked the city's attorney to begin researching the legality of offering financial incentives for bar and restaurant owners to either go smoke-free or install state-of-the-art air filtration systems to protect workers and customers.

Those incentives could include reductions in the cost of city liquor licenses or other tax rebates. Liquor licenses in Joliet range from $750 to $1,700 annually. "We've got to get the bars and restaurants to see that this can work and that there is a positive economic effect," Brophy said.

Councilwoman Jan Quillman, who is a nurse at Silver Cross Hospital and a member of the public safety committee, agreed that financial incentives might be preferable to a ban. "This is not totally out of our thoughts," she said. "We'll want to talk about incentives."

Brophy and Quillman agreed that a smoking ban could negatively affect local businesses. "We have to take a look at this from an economic perspective," Quillman said. "We're not Chicago."

After listening to opponents, Brophy said Joliet could not ban smoking in bars and restaurants unless surrounding communities did the same. In the case of Joliet's two casinos, bans would have to be adopted in other gaming towns, including Aurora, Elgin and Hammond, Ind.

Bans 'hurt businesses'

Incentives might be more palatable for restaurant and bar owners.
"From a business community standpoint, we're much more open to an incentive-based system than a draconian ordinance that would hurt businesses," said Steve Riedl, executive director of the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association.

Riedl noted that many establishments already have installed high-tech filtration systems that reduce the impacts of secondhand smoke. And he decried what he described as the all-or-nothing approach by public health "zealots" who want bars and restaurants to be completely smoke-free.

A good start

Cindy Jackson, who manages the Will County Health Department's tobacco control and prevention program, agreed that an incentive program might be a good start.
"Anything that will get a restaurant to go smoke-free is good," she said. "It's good for the workers and the patrons."

But she insisted that while filtration systems may reduce smoke, they do not eliminate the harmful chemicals and toxins that remain in the air. She pointed to a list of disclaimers by filtration system retailers and manufacturers, many of which state that they do not provide complete protection against the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. The list was compiled by the advocacy group Americans for Non-Smokers' Rights.

Jackson said the health department is passing petitions and conducting an educational campaign with the goal of achieving a 100 percent ban on public smoking.

Elected officials have struggled with financial incentives that will appeal to business owners. In Washington, D.C., for example, elected officials considered giving a 25 percent sales tax rebate to bars that went smoke-free, but only after quadrupling business license fees. The city council eventually bailed on the initiative and in December passed a smoking ban.

- Reporter Charles B. Pelkie may be reached at (815) 729-6039 or via e-mail at . 01/26/06

Jan 25, 2006
Re: Burning Challenges - Chicago, IL

With all of the false information that is being passed about the
health risks of smoking, there is one point of proof that it is not
as harmful as the antis would like us to believe. I think you know
that I have been a parrot breeder for over 23 years. Parrots are
more susceptible to toxins in the air than any other animal. An
overheated teflon pan will kill any parrot in the house in a matter
of minutes. Yet other animals show no ill effects. Some cleaning
solutions, a new self-cleaning oven used the first time, Febreze,
treatments used in new carpeting, and any number of other items used
in most homes will almost instantly kill a parrot. Yet people
breathe these fumes daily. I have been smoking around my parrots,
including the babies, and not once, in over 23 years, has any of the
parrots been affected or developed health problems that may have
been caused by my smoking. Some of my breeders are almost 40 years
old and still going strong. If second-hand smoke is really such a
health risk, why are parrots seemingly unaffected by it, yet toxins
that we breathe almost daily will kill them instantly. Seems to me
that any toxins that may be in the air we breathe are coming from a
source other than cigarette smoke.

Hi Judy,

I think you may have pointed out a serious flaw in the claims of health control experts that ETS is a health threat. We all have seen and heard of birds being used to determine if deadly gasses or airborne carcinogens are present in various situations. After spending time reading about parrots on your site, I have learned that those beautiful birds really do have delicate constitutions. I am curious if anyone else has approached SHS claims of respiratory damage from this perspective. You may really be on to something!


Jan 25, 2006
Burning Challenges - Chicago, IL

An excellent letter and rebuttal to another "Health Expert", published in the Chicago Tribune.

Garnet Dawn
Burning challenges
Published January 23, 2006

I really got burned up reading Leslie Stayner's editorial, "A step closer to a smoke-free America," (Commentary, Jan. 21).

The title is very telling. What the anti-smoker crowd really wants is to eliminate the enjoyment of tobacco entirely. They want to make smoking so difficult and socially unacceptable that tobacco users will just have to give it up.

Smokers know that smoking is risky. What the anti-smoking nannies won't accept is that that some people are willing risk longevity for pleasure. Since they couldn't get all of us to quit by that simple truth, they've had to change their tactics. Let's look at Ms. Stayner's assertions.

She says, "Exposure to what is commonly referred to as 'passive smoke' has been recognized as a cause of lung cancer and other diseases by the Environmental Protection Agency."

As a statistician, Ms. Stayner should be aware that the EPA ignored two thirds of the data, then doubled their margin of error, then doubled that number, to concoct 3,000 deaths out of a population of 280 million people. They had to lower the confidence level from 95% to 90% in order to move the result from 1 (equal to no effect) to 1.19, a result just above noise level. She should also know that the study was vacated by a federal judge who spent 92 pages outlining the fraud found within that study.

And results like that are typical. Most studies, including one done by the World Health Organization, can't find any statistically significant correlation between environmental tobacco smoke and any disease, including lung cancer or heart disease, let alone a direct cause and effect. And those promoting this agenda, like statistician Leslie Stayner, are perfectly aware of this.

She mentions a total of 50,000 deaths from second-hand smoke per year. Others claim 3,000, some 63,000, and still others 35,000. If these figures had any basis in fact, wouldn't they agree just a little bit better? If Ms. Stayner's claim of 50,000 SHS deaths per year is accurate, then it has killed a million people over the past twenty years! Yet, when nearly a dozen anti-smoker organizations and activists were asked for names, none of them could supply the name of a single victim. Of course - they don't exist!

Yet, Ms. Stayner still isn't satisfied. She wants the smokers thrown out of the taverns now, not two years from now. Naturally, she claims to be concerned with the health of bartenders and waitresses. She cares so much that she's willing to throw them out of work to protect them from a nonexistent health threat! "Sorry, barkeep, it's for your own good", say the nannies.

Simply put, these anti-smoking laws have nothing to do with protecting the health of workers or anyone else.

She also warns bar owners not to bother investing in ventilation equipment. Like most anti-smokers, she is opposed to ventilation options, even though readily available ventilation equipment can make the air inside a bar full of smokers cleaner than the air outside.

This proves that the real agenda isn't elimination of smoke, but the elimination of smokers.

Ms. Stayners wants to reassure tavern owners and employees that their businesses won't suffer after the ban, and claims to have studies that prove it. But every study that makes this assertion has been funded by anti-smoker organizations, and uses dishonest techniques that an honest statistician would immediately recognize as such. In studies not conducted by anti-smoker groups, the numbers have been sobering. Bans have already destroyed many businesses, especially smaller "mom and pop" operations that cater to a blue-collar crowd. A simple web search will bear this out.

A smoking ban was recently enacted in Minneapolis. 225 days later, 55 bars and several restaurants had closed because of the ban, and 1,400 jobs were lost. That works out to one bar/restaurant closing every 4 days. Many of these businesses had been run successfully for decades. But the anti-smoking nannies don't want you to know that, Mr. and Ms. Barowner, because once the ban is a fait accompli, you won't be in a position to complain from the unemployment line.

If Ms. Stayner is so certain that going smoke free is good for business, I'd like to challenge her and her fellow do-gooders to open their own smoke-free bar. If she's correct, they'll be so busy making money that they won't have the time to try to force the rest of us into lifestyles that meet with their approval.

Rick Remaley


A step closer to a smoke-free America

Leslie Stayner, Professor and director, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago
Published January 21, 2006

As a public health professional and a member of the Lung Cancer Task Force of the American Lung Association, I would like to congratulate our city for passage of the ordinance banning smoking in workplaces that took effect on Monday.

This ordinance is a true victory for the health of workers and all citizens of Chicago.

Exposure to what is commonly referred to as "passive smoke" has been recognized as a cause of lung cancer and other diseases by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Nationwide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that exposure to passive smoke causes 35,000 deaths from heart disease and 15,000 deaths from lung cancer each year in the United States.

Simply put, this ordinance will save lives.

Although this clearly represents a major step forward, unfortunately certain compromises were made that make this ordinance less than a complete victory for the public's health.

The ordinance permits bars and restaurants with bars to wait more than two years to go completely smoke-free. There really was no reason for this delay, and it is unfortunate that workers and patrons of these bars will continue to be exposed to these unnecessary risks.

The ordinance also contemplates regulations in the future that may permit restaurants and bars to allow smoking if they install ventilation equipment that will purify the air of tobacco smoke. There is no technology, however, that currently exists that would totally eliminate exposure from passive smoke.

Furthermore such technology is not feasible because it would require massive amounts of air and even physical isolation of the smokers from workers and other patrons in the bar.

Bar and restaurant owners should be forewarned that their money will be going up in smoke if they invest in ventilation systems that are marketed as meeting these requirements.

Owners of bar and restaurants should also be reassured that dire predictions of economic losses are highly unlikely to prove accurate. Studies of bars and restaurants of other U.S. cities that have banned smoking in public places have demonstrated that those establishments have not had any loss in revenues.

In 1984, C. Everett Koop, the surgeon general at that time, proposed that by the year 2000 the U.S. should be a smoke-free society. With the passage of this ordinance, our great city will join the ranks of the many cities and communities across the country and throughout the world that have taken this important first step on the path toward meeting this noble goal.

Jan 25, 2006
Smoking ban sniffs out license problems - Chicago, IL

Problem, problems and more problems. Now, licensing difficulties and technicalities! If Chicago wants to force restaurants to close, they are doing a good job with the red tape alone.

Garnet Dawn
Smoking ban sniffs out license problems
By Gary Washburn
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 24, 2006, 9:06 PM CST

The city's new smoking ban apparently is smoking out some establishments that are improperly licensed as restaurants.

The ban gives bars within restaurants a reprieve until 2008. In order to qualify, owners must sign a statement saying they get less than 65 percent of their gross revenues from the sale of alcohol.

But according to Ald. Brian Doherty (41st), some owners who obtained food licenses with "incidental" liquor licenses have seen alcohol sales outstrip food over the years.

And if the owners make false statements on the new smoking declaration forms, they could lose their licenses altogether—a situation that at least a dozen businesses in his ward could face, Doherty said.

Free-standing taverns also get a reprieve until 2008. But some of the owners Doherty is talking about cannot get tavern licenses because local zoning does not permit it.

In some cases, Doherty said, "You have a four-star restaurant where their liquor receipts are higher than food receipts, but nobody is going to [contend] they are not a restaurant."

Some business owners have gotten conflicting information from City Hall about what to do, the alderman said.

But Rosa Escareno, an official in the city's Department of Business Affairs and Licensing, insisted the law is clear when it comes to smoking.

"We want folks to understand that if whatever they report to us [on the smoking] declaration needs to be consistent with the existing license," she said. "If we do a review and come across anything that is not consistent, it would jeopardize their license."

Businesses reapply annually and are supposed to report changes that would require issuance of different types of licenses, Escareno said.

Those that should have tavern licenses, but can't because of zoning restrictions, would have to go out of business unless they changed their mix of food and beverage sales, she said.

Jan 25, 2006
Right to ban smoking urged - DuPage County, IL

This is headed for the IL state legislature. Of course, an official from the board of health is going to promote any kind of smoking ban! I also notice that she has no qualms about providing outright false statistics for heart attacks...another distortion, resulting from the disproved Helena and Pueblo studies. Now, outright lies are being used about economic effects from smoking bans on the hospitality industry where bans have been enacted.

The resolution mirrors one adopted Jan. 12 by the County Board of Health. Linda Kurzawa of Wheaton, a County Board member and president of the Board of Health, supported adoption of the resolution.

A ban on smoking in bars in restaurants would protect the health of employees, she said in a presentation to the board Tuesday. Those who work where smoking is allowed are subject to a 25 percent to 50 percent higher risk of heart attack than the general population, as well as higher death rates from cancer and cardiovascular disease, she said.
Garnet Dawn
Right to ban smoking urged
DuPage endorses expanding authority of county boards

By Joseph Sjostrom
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 25, 2006

The DuPage County Board on Tuesday called on the state legislature to let counties ban smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places, but some board members on both sides of the issue choked on the action, claiming it went too far or not far enough.

The County Board passed, with two dissenting votes, a resolution urging the Illinois legislature to grant counties the legal authority already enjoyed by home-rule municipalities to ban smoking in most indoor public places. A bill sponsored by state Sen. John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) and now before the Senate Rules Committee would give that authority to all counties and municipalities in the state.

The county resolution also recommends that the board's Financial Planning Committee explore a cigarette tax as a revenue source for the county and to deter young people from smoking.

The resolution mirrors one adopted Jan. 12 by the County Board of Health. Linda Kurzawa of Wheaton, a County Board member and president of the Board of Health, supported adoption of the resolution.

A ban on smoking in bars in restaurants would protect the health of employees, she said in a presentation to the board Tuesday. Those who work where smoking is allowed are subject to a 25 percent to 50 percent higher risk of heart attack than the general population, as well as higher death rates from cancer and cardiovascular disease, she said.

The experience of other states and cities indicates that restaurants and bars see an increase in business after a smoking ban is imposed, Kurzawa said.

Board member Brien Sheahan (R-Elmhurst) called the resolution a "sham" because the county is seeking authority only over the unincorporated portions of the county where just 31 of the 2,900 bars and restaurants in the county are located.

He said that although a cigarette tax is being discussed as a health enhancement measure, it is political cover for enactment of a tax to generate revenue.

The two board members who voted against the resolution, Kyle Gilgis (R-Downers Grove) and Donald Puchalski (R-Addison), said the county should refrain from telling bar and restaurant owners how to run their businesses.

"This really has to do with us getting involved in peoples' habits. ... I don't like the idea of dictating the way people live their lives," said Gilgis, who said she is an occasional smoker. She said some bars and restaurants allow smoking and some don't, and she said employees can choose whether to work in a smoke-free or a smoking environment.

Sheahan noted that County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom introduced the resolution to the full County Board without first submitting it to a committee, depriving board members of an opportunity to discuss it before Tuesday.

He said board members have discussed the issue in two committees--the Intergovernmental Affairs and the Health and Human Services Committees--as a measure applying to all the territory in the county, not just to the unincorporated areas.

Sheahan proposed amending the resolution to request authority to ban smoking countywide, but with an "opt out" provision for individual municipalities.

Jan 24, 2006
Cook County Commissioner Contact Information, Restaurant References.....

It's really great you are all telling us the towns where you makes it much easier to pinpoint a central location for everyone, or even develop future meeting locations. You are also helping to let us all know the areas where we are represented.

If any of you have a favorite restaurant, coffee shop or bar where they are still allowing smoking in or around the Chicagoland area, will you please use this link and contribute your information for us all to reference? You can also send it to me and I will add the information.

Also, below is individual contact information for the Cook County commissioners.
This same Capwiz URL provides Cook County City/Village official names and contact information by Town.

Garnet Dawn

Jan 24, 2006
Ban on smoking unlikely in Joliet - Joliet, IL

Super victory! One more article to go with Jim's report and the first Joliet news story. I hope the Chicago city council, Mayor Daley and the Health Control fanatics are feeling a little stupid for passing the Chicago this morning, and wondering if they really did the right thing. Of course, the Antis won't give up.....they'll just keep coming back again and again..... The Chicago Tribune seems to have revised their position on smoking bans dramatically!

Garnet Dawn
Ban on smoking unlikely in Joliet
Discussion of such a law quickly fizzles

By Hal Dardick
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 24, 2006

Debate over a smoking ban in Joliet began at 5 p.m. Monday and ended at about 6:45 p.m. It took only that long to figure out the idea wasn't going anywhere.

"They didn't do it," said Councilman Tim Brophy (District. 2), who called for the debate and hoped backers would speak up after Chicago passed a ban in December. "Just gauging the council, I don't think there's going to be a smoking ban of any sort."

Brophy said he still would consider ordinances granting discounted licenses for businesses that ban smoking and mandating air ventilation systems in places with smoking.

But a smoking ban, unless "universal," would hurt Joliet businesses because people who smoke would simply drive a few minutes to a nearby town to eat and drink, he said.

Ten years ago, Joliet used its home-rule powers to adopt the provisions in the Illinois Indoor Clean Air Act, corporation counsel Jeff Plyman said. That prohibits indoor smoking in "any type of enclosed place where the public is invited or people work," he said, but it allows smoking in designated areas.

"That's why you see a great deal of flexibility in restaurants as to where smoking is allowed, sometimes to the point where it's difficult to tell where it is not allowed," Plyman said.

Chicago banned smoking in all public places, except taverns and restaurants with bars at least until mid-2008, and many suburbs have done the same.

Nearly 150 people--most of whom clapped when speakers objected to a smoking ban--attended the hearing in Joliet.

Several attendees spoke against a ban, including managers of the city's two casinos, the executive director of the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association and Andrew Hinch Jr. of American Legion Post 1080.

"I'm sorry that special-interest groups have you even considering infringing on the rights we fought to protect," Hinch said.

Backing a ban were the program manager of Tobacco Control & Prevention at the Will County Health Department, the regional vice president of the American Cancer Society and a community advocacy director for the American Heart Association.

They cited statistics of the harm caused by second-hand smoke. "No one should have to choose between a job and his or her health," said Chris Hensley of the Cancer Society.

He also addressed fears that tavern owners and other business operators would lose revenue. "Every credible peer-reviewed study has shown exactly the opposite," he said.

But Stephen Riedl of the beverage association disagreed, saying smoking bans are particularly tough on the liquor-selling businesses his group represents. Enacting a ban, he said, would "be a slap in the face of free enterprise."

Joe Domenico, Illinois regional president for Harrah's casino and general manager of Harrah's Joliet, cited a 20 percent decline in casino revenue in Delaware when a ban was enacted there, saying Joliet's two casinos could expect similar results. That would lead to lost jobs and less revenue to the city, he said.

Domenico said gamblers who wanted to puff while wagering would go to casinos in Aurora, Elgin and Indiana if there was a ban in Joliet.

Mike Trizna, co-owner of the popular Chicago Street Bar & Grill in downtown Joliet, said a smoking ban would kill his business. "It will be closed before the year is over," he said.

Earl D'Amico, a retiree who spent 50 years in the local restaurant business, said Joliet, with its casinos, theater and minor league baseball team, "has become a tremendous entertainment center. Part of entertainment is eating, drinking and smoking."
Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

Jan 23, 2006
Linda Dachtyl - Musician and Smoking/Pro-Choice Advocate

I think most everyone in our group knows Linda is very active in smokers rights. I wanted to share her recent interview with you too.

Garnet Dawn
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Page 16)

MySmokersRights Winter 2005-2006 Newsletter
(Excellent re-cap of recent, current and pending USA tobacco related legislation)

MySmokersRights members helped to make 2005 a banner year in the fight to protect smokers' personal freedoms. Since 2002, the number of states passing cigarette taxes has declined each year from a whopping 21 in 2002 to only seven in 2005. We believe the tireless activities of MySmokersRights members have had an enormous impact on this downward trend. Keep up the good work and continue to tell your elected officials where you stand on the issues of unfair taxation and smoking restrictions, and encourage your friends to do the same by joining

Cigarette Tax Increases Halted in 18 States in 2005

In 2005, a total of 27 states proposed cigarette tax increases. We are glad to report that only seven states increased cigarette taxes this year, an improvement of two states over 2004. MySmokersRights members have an impressive track record and your continued resistance to unacceptable legislation will be important as we move into 2006.

State increases per pack passed in 2005:

Kentucky (from 3 to 30 cents per pack)
Maine ($1.00 to $2.00 per pack)
Minnesota (from 48 cents to $1.23 per pack)
New Hampshire (from 52 to 80 cents per pack)
North Carolina (from 5 to 30 cents per pack on September 1, 2005, and another 5 cents to 35 cents per pack on July 1, 2006)
Ohio (from 55 cents to $1.25 per pack)
Washington (from $1.425 to $2.025 cents per pack)

Though technically not a tax increase, Idaho legislators failed to give smokers a break by voting to make permanent a 29-cent cigarette tax increase scheduled to expire on June 30, 2005. Smokers in Idaho continue to pay 57 cents in state excise taxes on each pack they purchase.

The drama continues to unfold in Minnesota where on August 26, tobacco manufacturers R. J. Reynolds, Lorillard, Phillip Morris and nine tobacco wholesalers filed a motion in Ramsey County District Court claiming that Gov. Tim Pawlenty's 75-cent cigarette fee violates the 1998 multibillion-dollar tobacco settlement. On December 20, District Court Judge Michael Fetsch ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and said the "fee" is illegal and unconstitutional. The next day, Attorney General Mike Hatch's assistants filed a motion with Judge Michael Fetsch to allow the state to continue to collect the 75-cent-per-pack cigarette fee while the state appeals the ruling. A hearing on the motion to continue collecting the tax is scheduled for January 18.

On the Smoking Ban Front

Fortunately, 23 proposals to restrict smoking were defeated this year. Only eight states passed smoking ban restrictions: Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Vermont in 2005. Of the eight states, only three passed new restrictions banning smoking in bars and restaurants.

Already in 2006, New Jersey has enacted a Smoke-Free Air Act that bans smoking in most indoor public places, including restaurants and bars, beginning April 15, 2006. Casinos are exempt from the ban, for now. At the same time, Codey signed a bill to raise the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 19 years old. That bill will also take effect on April 15.

On November 8, Washington state voters passed the most restrictive smoking ban in the country, Initiative 901, with 64 percent of the vote. As of December 8, smoking was banned in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, mini-casinos and all other public places. The ban also restricts smoking within 25 feet of doorways, windows that open and ventilation intakes. Businesses have already experienced the negative effects of the ban.

On the Local Front
Chicago, IL - Smokers got a double whammy this year from their elected officials: a smoking ban and a cigarette tax increase. What's more, Cook County Commissioners could add insult to injury by passing a proposed tax increase, this time at $1 per pack.

Chicago smokers will have to contend with new smoking ban regulations that will take effect on January 1, 2006. Bars and restaurants have until July 1, 2008, before they must ban smoking unless the business installs:

"air filtration or purification devices or similar technologies as to render the exposure to secondhand smoke in such area, notwithstanding the fact that smoking may be occurring in such area, equivalent to such exposure to secondhand smoke in the ambient outdoor air surrounding the establishment."

Huh? Needless to say, there is considerable confusion among business owners as to exactly what the ventilation standard means. And as if that wasn't enough, on December 14, aldermen hit smokers again when they voted 48-1 in favor of a 20-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. As of January 1, 2006, smokers are paying 68 cents per pack in city cigarette taxes. If the Cook County tax is adopted, Chicago smokers will pay $4.05 a pack in federal, state and local excise taxes alone. Smokers in Chicago should write a letter to their alderman and vent their outrage on the ones responsible. But don't stop there. Contact the Cook County Commissioners (link) as well, and protest the proposed $1 per pack tax increase.

Hennepin County, MN - Smokers got a break in December 2005 when the county commission voted 4-3 to exempt bars from the current smoking regulations until July 31, 2007. Smoking was banned in all indoor public places in March 2005. At the urging of disgruntled bar owners, the commission voted four months later to examine the economic impact of the ban on bars. Their analysis ultimately led to the decision to exempt bars.

Summit County, OH - On November 28, the county council voted 6-5 in favor of a smoking ban in all enclosed public places, including restaurants and bars. Councilman Nick Kostandaras managed to get exemptions for smoke shops, hotels, bowling alleys (with separate smoking rooms), private clubs and racetracks. Bar owners packed the room and were outraged that the exemptions did not include bars. Some had to be removed from the chambers when shouts and complaints began to interrupt the proceedings. Council members Nick Kostandaras, Pete Crossland, Louise L. Heydorn, Paul Gallagher, Clair Dickinson, and Cazzell M. Smith, Sr. voted in favor of the ban. Michael Callahan, Tim Crawford, Daniel Congrove, Tom Teodosio and Paula Prentice voted against it. Akron city leaders balked at the legislation and said city law supersedes county law. Akron allows smoking in bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, restaurants, banquet halls, hotels and tobacco stores. The county law will take effect on February 28, 2006.

Washington, DC - On January 4, 2006, the city council voted 11-1 in favor of new regulations that ban smoking in all indoor public places immediately upon the bill's approval. Bars, nightclubs, taverns and the bar areas of restaurants will have until January 2007 before they must ban smoking. Cigar and hookah bars are exempt. Councilman Marion Barry successfully amended the bill to exempt businesses that prove that they get 10 percent or more of annual revenue from tobacco sales, excluding cigarette machines. Mayor Anthony Williams has threatened a veto in spite of the overwhelming vote.

The Flagrant File

The Flagrant File is a collection of particularly unreasonable or outrageous anti-smoking laws and legislation designed to destroy the rights of smokers. Here are some of the latest additions:

On December 2, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that they would no longer hire tobacco users beginning December 1, 2005. As one columnist put it (link), "Under WHO's policy, if Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Adolf Hitler applied for a job, only Hitler, the sole nonsmoker in the group would be eligible for consideration." MSR members are encouraged to contact their state leaders (link) and demand that laws be adopted preventing job discrimination based on what employees do on their own time if those activities do not impact job performance.

Madison, WI - The city council recently decided not to revisit the smoking ban issue based partly on comments from the public. But as it turns out, of the 6,135 e-mails received by the council in support of the ban, more than half (3,646) were sent by one person, Ira Sharenow. Sharenow now lives in Berkeley, CA, and admitted he sent several e-mails in support of the ban. Sharenow claims he lived in Madison when the original ban passed in 2004. MSR members need to realize who they are up against and to what extent ban supporters will go to push their agenda.

If you travel next year, please keep in mind that Westin Hotels & Resorts (link) have banned smoking at all of their facilities in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean beginning January 1, 2006. That includes the poolside. Also, they will add $200 to your bill if you are caught violating the policy.

What's in Store for 2006?
Mississippi MSR member are already facing a proposed cigarette tax increase. If approved, the new tax will be phased in with a 57-cent increase totaling 75 cents on July 1, 2006, and by another 25 cents to a total of $1 per pack on July 1, 2007. In exchange, the bill cuts the grocery tax. The bill has passed the legislature and Gov. Haley Barbour has vetoed it. The bill now returns to the legislature for further consideration.

At this point, we predict the biggest threats to smoker incomes are from the following states:

Arizona - two ballot initiatives for 2 cents and 80 cents per pack
California - ballot initiative for $2.60 per pack
Connecticut - increase of up to 74 cents per pack
Hawaii - increase of up to 90 cents per pack
Illinois - increase of up to 80 cents per pack
Louisiana - increase of up to $1 per pack
Maryland - increase of up to $1 per pack
Massachusetts - ballot initiative for 60 cents per pack
Missouri - ballot initiative for 80 cents per pack
New York - increase of up to $1 per pack
Oregon - ballot initiative for 60 cents per pack
Pennsylvania - increase of up to 65 cents per pack
Rhode Island - increase of up to 29 cents per pack
South Carolina - increase of up to 28 cents per pack
South Dakota - ballot initiative for $1 per pack
Texas - increase of up to $1 per pack
Utah - increase of up to 25 cents per pack
Vermont - increase of up to 81 cents per pack
Wyoming - increase of up to $1 per pack

Although these and other states may attempt to increase cigarette taxes in 2006, MySmokersRights' commitment to you will remain. When legislators need to hear from smokers on cigarette tax increases, we will let you know. We will continue to provide you a convenient way to contact your elected officials to let them know how unfair it is to single out a minority of citizens who smoke to pay for issues and problems that affect everyone.

In addition in 2006, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho (bowling alleys), Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Utah (private clubs) are expected to consider bills that will seriously restrict or outright ban smoking in most public places -- restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, pool halls and workplaces. Many cities and counties are expected to consider some form of smoking restrictions as well. Again, we will keep you informed when the time is right to contact your elected representatives at state or local levels.

Our continued success depends heavily upon your participation and the growth of MySmokersRights membership. If you have friends or family members concerned about smokers' rights, tell them about and encourage them to visit and join.

Thank you for using MySmokersRights to protect the rights of adult smokers.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Jan 23, 2006
Total ACS Flop in Joliet!!! YAYYY For The Good Guys!!!


Wonderful report!!! Congratulations for showing control while sitting behind that ACS rep. Wonderful results. What a great day you must have had!!!

Thanks so much for the news!!! Looks like Chicago, Springfield and a few snob suburbs on the North Shore are the only ones stupid enough to buy into the smoking ban propaganda so far! EXCELLENT!!

P.S. Riddle, huh? Good for Michael and Dave too!
Total ACS Flop in Joliet!!! YAYYY For The Good Guys!!!

How do you think one would feel when after going through
considerable effort to prepare a lengthy case to support his
organization's agenda, then presenting that case in a large PACKED
city council chamber, then after he finnished, he became the ONLY
person who addressed the council who received absolutely no applause
whatsoever? I wouldn't know either. For the answer to that question,
you'd have to ask Chris Hensley, Regional Vice President of
the "American" Cancer Society.

Now, how do you think one would feel after being the ONLY person who
received a thunderous applause from that same crowd in that same
large PACKED council chamber BEFORE he presented his testimony to
the council? Steve Reidl, president of the Illinois Licensed
Beverage Association, wouldn't know either because when his name
was called, nobody could find him!

OK, I'm getting a little ahead of myself, so lets do a flashback to
the beginning. A couple days after Dec. 7, 2005, another Pearl
Harbor Day that will go down in infamey, the day that the antis and
$4 million destroyed Chicago, Joliet Councilman, Tim Brophy, another
McCarthyist planning to run for mayor, and foolishing looking to
jump on the anti-smoking hysteria bandwagon to further his
popularity, suggested a smoking ban.

To study the possibility of such a ban, it was decided that the
Health Committee and the Land Use Committee should merge for a
meeting on the 23rd of January (today)to get some idea of how those
affected by a ban on both sides of the issue would feel about it.

I had been to a Chicago Health Committee meeting at a time when our
cause was almost completely lost, but this time I wanted to get a
feel for what a ban issue was like in the beginning. I had no idea
what to expect so I was a bit surprised that ther joint was packed
and SRO, but I managed to grab the best seat in the house...right
behind the preacher pulpit where I could here every word!

I'm not going to get into details tonight, but I am so very proud to
announce that it was clear from the git-go that Jolietans were
definitely way smater than Chicagoans! To sum it up, the idea of
banning smoking in Joliet went nowhere, Tim "Well I only wanted to
find out if Jolietans would be interested in a ban like Chicago"
Brophy skillfully slithered out of the uncomfortable predicament he
created, and a good time was had by all!

Other tidbits....Hensley from the ACS presented the usual nonsense
that comes from his organization. I was sitting so close to him, I
could have kicked him in the ass without leaving my seat, but I saw
no point in doing that or slamming his case since his propaganda had
no effect anyway. "An old turd don't stink unless you turn it up."

Somebody eventually found Reidl wandering around in the building and
he presented his very popular case which I found both interesting
and amusing. Sooo.. Michael, I know the big question on yourrr mind!
And the answer is YES, he sure as hell DID use your and Dave's study
on post-ban health effects that you sent to him and received no
thank you or even an answer to show that he received it! Of course
you realize that a man in his position wouldn't want to admit he got
the great info he used from a SRG leader, so your name was not

Garnet, we were both wrong on the pronunciation of Reidl. It is
not "Rye-del" as I and the Committee Chair who introduced him
thought. And it is not "Reed-el" like you thought. It is
pronounced "Riddle".

All for now,
Jim Blogg (who is happy as a clam tonight!)

Jan 24, 2006
Proposed ban goes up in smoke - Joliet, IL

Here is the official version of Jim's report. Cheers again for Joliet, right-to-choice and personal property rights!

Garnet Dawn
Proposed ban goes up in smoke
• Committee meeting: Support for ordinance never materializes

By Charles B. Pelkie
Staff Writer

JOLIET — A plan to ban people from lighting cigarettes in public places went up in smoke Monday night after bar and casino owners voiced opposition to the city's elected officials.

Councilman Tim Brophy, who began fanning the flames for a Joliet smoking ban after Chicago passed an ordinance in December, snuffed out the proposal after a two-hour joint session of the city's land use and public safety committees. More than 120 people, the majority opposed to additional smoking restrictions, crowded the meeting.

After listening to tavern owners and casino executives forecast business losses under a smoking ban, Brophy declined to propose a draft ordinance for the council to debate. He said he sympathized with bar owners who would lose customers to establishments in neighboring communities where there is no smoking ban.

"To be fair to our business owners, it must be universal" Brophy said near the end of the session.

Brophy, who is a non-smoker, also said he had hoped for a groundswell of support that would encourage business owners to get behind a ban. But that support never materialized.

Other committee members, including councilmen Joe Shetina and Alex Ledesma and Councilwoman Jan Quillman, also declined to ask the city's legal team to draft an ordinance for consideration. Nor would they schedule a future meeting to discuss a smoking ban.

Quillman, a nurse at Silver Cross Hospital, described the meeting as "a fact-finding mission" and said that smoking "is a matter of choice." Shetina, who had expressed reservations about forcing bar and restaurant owners to ban smoking, put it bluntly: "It's a dead issue."

Brophy had billed the committee meeting as an opportunity to hear from all parties with a stake in the smoking debate. This included public health officials as well as bar and restaurant owners. Monday's cordial debate, however, was dominated by ban opponents, many of whom were applauded after their statements.

Business concerns

Mike Trizna, who co-owns Chicago Street Bar & Grill, began the discussion by warning that a smoking ban "would absolutely crush the small business owner."
Trizna argued a small downtown bar like his could not sustain even a temporary decline in business while waiting for non-smokers to become regular patrons. "We can't take that initial hit," he said. "We'll be closed before the year is over."

And Joseph Domenico, regional president and general manager of Harrah's Joliet Casino & Hotel, predicted a 20 percent decline in revenue if smoking is banned. This would amount to a $110 million loss in revenue and a $5.5 million hit in gaming taxes for the city. Casino patrons in the region will choose to visit gambling establishments in Aurora, Elgin or Indiana, he said.

Marianna Heredia, a dealer at the Empress Casino, also said a smoking ban would drive customers away and hit the industry hard. "I really believe there are no problems a smoking ban would solve," she said.

Andy Hinch Jr., commander of American Legion Post 1080, also asked the council not to ban smoking at fraternal clubs. He said veterans fought and died to preserve freedom. And he urged the council not to take away the freedom to choose whether to smoke. "Please let common sense prevail," he said.

Health protection

Public health officials who support a ban also had their say. Chris Hensley, regional vice president for the American Cancer Society, said a strong ordinance is necessary to protect people who work in bars and restaurants. He quoted National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies that show bartenders and waitresses who work eight-hour shifts inhale secondhand smoke that equals 16 cigarettes.
"No one should have to choose between a job and his or her health," he said.

And Cindy Jackson, manager for the Will County Health Department's tobacco control and prevention program, challenged assertions that state-of-the-art ventilation systems reduce the dangers of secondhand smoke. "There is no safe exposure to secondhand smoke," she said.

In 1996, Joliet formally adopted the Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking in public places and most work environments. The act allows establishments to create designated smoking areas. And it exempts bars and bowling alleys. The city, however, has the authority under its home rule powers to pass a more stringent ordinance.

Jackson does not feel public health officials were left twisting in the wind at the end of the meeting. She said she was glad an ordinance was not proposed at this time. There must be more public education and greater grassroots support to craft an ordinance. She remains committed to a 100 percent ban on smoking in public places.

Chicago's recent smoking ban, which took effect Jan. 16, applies to most public places including stadiums, nursing homes, shopping malls, city vehicles, taxi cabs, convention halls and schools. Retail tobacco stores and private clubs and lodges such as Veterans of Foreign Wars posts are exempt.

Bars as well as taverns inside restaurants have three years to comply with the Chicago ordinance. The measure also allows the owners of taverns and restaurants with bars the option of proving their ventilation systems can limit exposure to secondhand smoke to what patrons would experience outdoors.

Brophy said he will continue working with the local health department and may push an ordinance focusing on improved ventilation systems or liquor license discounts for bars that voluntarily ban smoking.

- Reporter Charles B. Pelkie may be reached at (815) 729-6039 or via e-mail at . 01/24/06

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Jan 23, 2006
Looks Like Chicago Smoke Ban Means Shorter Wait For A Table - Chicago

So, now the reports of reduced business in Chicago due to the smoking ban begin.......

Garnet Dawn
Monday, 23 January 2006

Looks Like Chicago Smoke Ban Means Shorter Wait For A Table
Steve Miller Reporting

CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio 780) -- It's been a week since Chicago's smoking ban went into effect in restaurants.

Restaurants say some customers are doing a lot more eating and running.

Hector Rivera, the manager of the White Palace Grill at Roosevelt and Canal says smokers haven't been lingering in the smoke-free air.

"I notice that a lot of the smokers that sit at the bar and drink coffee, they're not staying as long as they usually stay. They're coming in, drinking their coffee, and they're running for the door right away."

Sometimes that means more turnover. And more customers. But sometimes, a restaurant that's not busy can look suspect to potential customers on the street.

"It looks a lot emptier, you know what I mean?"

Rivera says business over the past week has been about like normal. Maybe down a little.

Not that the smoking ban has kept so many customers away. He says business is about the same.

A table of college students are all regulars at the White Palace, and the smokers among them had one thing on their minds: the next cigarette.

"When I'm done and we get the check, I'm going to pay it and we're going to go smoke. That's all it boils down to, you know."

The Cambridge House, in the Streeterville neighborhood, says its smoking customers are also leaving sooner.

The bottom line: some tables are freeing up faster.

Contents of this site are Copyright © 2006 by WBBM

Jan 23, 2006
Healthy Habits And The Bottom Line - Scotts and Smokers

Here is the report from CBS on Scotts, dated last Friday. The video links below still work today. This is the report that the ASH wanted suppressed. According to Audrey Silk, who spoke with CBS today, a CBS executive denied any knowledge of John Banzhaf, ASH or their press release last week.

Garnet Dawn
Healthy Habits And The Bottom Line
Jan. 20, 2006

Scotts has already banned smoking on the job. Next October workers must stop altogether or find a new job. (CBS)

Fast Fact - Thirty percent of Scotts' 5,300 U.S. workers smoke. And it's estimated that smokers cost an extra $4,000 a year each for health care and lost productivity.

(CBS) It's lunchtime at the Scotts Miracle-Gro headquarters near Columbus, Ohio, and the eating is healthy.

"I'll have some salmon," a worker said.

That's because the company that helps Americans grow their gardens is trying to trim its workers waists — and $24 million pear year in health care costs.

So there's a full time doctor and a new clinic, which is free to workers and families enrolled in the company medical plan. There is a drive through pharmacy with generic drugs — and right next door: the new gym. It's also free to those who work out more than twice a week. Otherwise, it's just ten dollars a month.

Presiding over this $5 million gamble is CEO Jim Hagedorn.

"It's partly about money and keeping our costs under control," Hagedorn told CBS News correspondent Jerry Bowen. "And it's partly about saying, 'Why would you wanna work a whole career here at Scotts, retire and die?'"

It all sounds so good — and if it works it may become the national model for curbing corporate health care costs. But it's a carrot and stick approach.

The stick is what happens to smokers. If they won't quit, they won't have a job at Scotts.

Thirty percent of Scotts' 5,300 U.S. workers smoke. And it's estimated that smokers cost an extra $4,000 a year each for health care and lost productivity. Scotts has already banned smoking on the job. Next October, workers must stop altogether.

Employee Kim Creviston is a pack-a-day smoker.

"You're drawing the line here," Creviston said. "But he is giving you a choice. If you choose not to quit, then you choose to get a different job. And I truly believe that we will forsee other companies doing this."

And that worries employment law attorney Marvin Gittler: "Once you leave, once you conclude your eight hours, frankly it's none of the employer's business what you do," Gittler said. "I think letting the employer go beyond those eight hours is much too dangerous."

Hagedorn, once a two-pack-a-day smoker, quit after his mother died of lung cancer. He says workers will get help to stop. And as long as they really try, they won't be fired, which they can be in Ohio and 19 other states.

In states where they can't be fired because of smokers' rights laws, they'll pay extra for health insurance.

"This is not trying to take things away from folks," Hagedorn said. "This is about trying to keep our costs so that they're not rising sort of in excess of the rate of inflation. And I think we can do that if we run our wellness programs properly."

Change is never easy, but it's the new reality for these workers. And if it works, everybody's bottom line will look better.

©MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Jan 23, 2006
Smoking ban tough sell Downstate - Illinois

Excellent story on rural Illinois. Has anyone else noticed that the Chicago Tribune is beginning to present a more balanced viewpoint toward smokers over the last week? They may have not published my letter to the editor, but someone must have taken notice and decided to modify the Tribune's Anti smoking policy and their viscous editorials and attacks on right-to-choice and smokers.

"The independence of rural America's rugged individuals just won't put up with this," said Garnet Dawn, Midwest director for the Smokers Club Inc., a grass-roots smokers' rights group that hopes to make rural Illinois a battleground.
Garnet Dawn
Smoking ban tough sell Downstate
By E.A. Torriero
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 23, 2006

TAYLORVILLE, Ill. -- Lighting up a cigarette in public has long been part of the social fabric in small towns like this one across America.

A burger and a puff at Bill's Toasty. A strike and a butt at the Olde Bowl. A pizza and a smoke at the American Tap.

So when the idea of a public smoking ban came before a city ordinance committee last month, it was snuffed out by aldermen reluctant to hurt business and allow government to infringe on citizens' choice in this town of 12,000 people.

"In this country, you have the freedom to pick your own poison," said Ald. John Podeschi, a non-smoker whose committee vote helped shelve the proposal. "This is what America is all about. Who are we to change that?"

As an Illinois law took effect this month allowing local communities to decide their public smoking ways, governments in central and southern Illinois are showing little interest in smoking restrictions.

Of some three dozen communities statewide banning smoking or considering restrictions, nearly all are in northern Illinois and mostly around Chicago, where a no-smoking law took hold last week.

Save for two of the biggest areas Downstate--Springfield and Bloomington/Normal--anti-smoking legislation not only has little momentum, it isn't even a consideration. Not one community on the Illinois side of metro St. Louis is exploring a smoke-free environment.

The resistance mirrors a national trend in the Midwest and the South, where smoking rates are among the nation's highest and bans have taken hold in big cities and college towns but not in rural and small communities.

"The support is just not there in those places, and it's hard to get it going," said Scott Hays, a research scientist at the University of Illinois who has studied smoking bans nationwide.

Hays led a smoke-free drive in Champaign and Urbana that is struggling to gain momentum.

Rural America fiercely resists government interference, say advocates and opponents of smoke-free laws. Local legislators have known business owners for most of their lives and fear they will hurt the incomes of friends.

Many small communities also lack basic building codes, so why impose smoking rules when there are no other regulations, community lawmakers ask. And, for now, big budget anti-smoking campaigns are focusing on larger urban areas where the impact is greatest, they say.

"You get a bigger influence that affects more people," Hays said, "so you achieve your goal of getting most of the people in a state smoke-free without having to go small town by small town."
Still, anti-smoking advocates predict the sweeping anti-smoking trend will soon reach outlying areas.

The state is spending $11 million annually on anti-tobacco efforts, including $5 million for county health department programs that include teaching communities how to enact smoking bans.

But there is budding Downstate backlash.

"The independence of rural America's rugged individuals just won't put up with this," said Garnet Dawn, Midwest director for the Smokers Club Inc., a grass-roots smokers' rights group that hopes to make rural Illinois a battleground.

In far southern Illinois, in Johnston City, population 3,557, Ald. Bill Mitchell read about Chicago's ban and figured "Why not us?" But his proposal for smoke-free places quickly drew an opposing force of businessmen, aldermen and smokers, Mitchell said.

For now, Mitchell said he will push the council for a smoking ban, even though it would mean breaking such traditions as allowing the police chief to smoke in his office.

"If anything ever happens to me, you'll know the cause," joked Mitchell, who sells life insurance in town and has lived there for all his 65 years. "Some people are really mad at me."

Taylorville, 140 miles north, was the first rural community in Illinois to hold a hearing on a smoking ban, said resident Kathy Drea, a lobbyist for the American Lung Association in nearby Springfield.

The city's ordinance committee deadlocked in December, failing to refer the matter to a full council, which left the question in limbo. But the issue continues to stir divisive debate.

At Bill's Toasty Shop, a 24-hour luncheonette, patrons have been smoking inside since 1937, when Taylorville was a coal-mining mecca.

With just 10 stools and four side chairs, the eatery is too small to ban smoking, manager Donna Niethe said, puffing on a cigarette.

The front page of a Springfield newspaper, headlining the passage of the capital's smoking ban last week, sat crumpled on the counter.

"If a thing like that passes here, this place will be out of business," said Mike Hart, 62, a 30-year patron, lighting a cigarette after a lunch of toast and eggs. "Practically everyone who comes in here smokes. If people don't like it, they can go somewhere else."

Sentiment against legislative intervention is prevalent in Taylorville, even among non-smokers.

Don Marsango, owner of Angelo's Pizza, decided this month after 40 years to ban smoking at his restaurant. He not only cleaned the walls of smoke but also shampooed the carpets and threw away smoke-laden artificial plants. He expected business to drop; instead it's up 6 percent.

"Best thing I ever did," Marsango said. "And the best thing about it is that my customers say they are glad I did it on my own and that no government made me do it."