Sunday, October 28, 2007


No More Smoking in Chicago Park District - 10-17-07

"Prohibition... goes beyond the bounds of reason
in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." - Abraham Lincoln (December 1840)

Mayor Daley is the Chicago elected official who appoints the Chicago Park District's seven member board. He is the person to contact in objection to this new Park/Beach ban, along with Timothy J. Mitchell .

The Park District does not have to answer to Chicago voters. Since the City Council would have received so much feedback, it was a clever move to let an appointed board make the decision to ban smoking along Chicago's beaches and in public parks.

Of course, in the news story below and published by the Chicago Park District, not only the "litter" excuse is used. Naturally, this ban is also "For the Children".

Chicago attracted 44.17 million visitors in 2006 from around the nation and world. I wonder what that count will be in 2008? Will Chicago be driving away the tourists and convention market like Hawaii has?

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

"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." – Thomas Sowell

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." - Adolph Hitler.


The Chicago Park District is the oldest and (financially) largest park district in the nation, with a $385 million annual budget. The park district also has the excellent reputation of spending the most per capita on its parks, even more than Boston in terms of park expenses per capita. It is an independent taxing authority as defined by Illinois State Statute and is considered a separate (or "sister") agency of the city of Chicago. The CEO of the Park District is appointed by the Mayor of Chicago.

The agency was long considered a dumping ground for political appointees; most famously, it was run by Ed Kelly, one of the "Eddies" who frustrated Mayor Harold Washington in the 1980s. The size and personnel of the park district was dramatically pared down during the reform administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley-appointed CEO Forrest Claypool in the mid-1990s. Until 1983 it was District policy to underfund parks in minority neighborhoods[1].

Since the 2004, the district has been run by Tim Mitchell. During his tenure, the park district has taken steps to return programming to the neighborhoods and created a lakefront concert venue on Northerly Island (formerly Meigs Field).


Board of Commissioners

The Mayor of the City of Chicago appoints the Chicago Park District's seven-member board. The Board is the governing body of the Chicago Park District. The Board has three standing committees under which business is done: Administration, Programs and Recreation, and Capital Improvements. The Office of the Secretary serves as the coordinating staff to the Board.

Chicago Park District to vote on smoking ban
By Charles Thomas
October 17, 2007 - The Chicago Park District will vote Wednesday on a proposal to ban smoking at public beaches, playgrounds and playlots.

Should smoking be banned at public beaches, playlots and playgrounds?
If it passes, it will go into effect immediately.
The Chicago Park District announced the proposal at Margate Park on Tuesday morning. It would prohibit smoking at all of the beaches, playlots and playgrounds within the Chicago Park District system.

"The Chicago Park District is committed to keeping its beaches, parks, playgrounds and general facilities clean, safe, healthy and pleasant for everyone," said Timothy J. Mitchell, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO.

Last year, Mayor Daley dismissed the idea of a ban on beach smoking and questioned how it could be enforced. Parks officials say if an anti-smoking measure is passed, they would rely on citizens to report violations to police who would issue tickets to offenders.

"This is a public health and we expect most people will understand that," said Timothy Mitchell, Chicago Parks Superintendent.

The Chicago Park District cited research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that classifies second-hand smoke as hazardous to human health as the need to ban smoking from the area frequented by children and others. Also, research shows, according to the park district, that children who observe tobacco use at public places may model the behavior.

Environmentalists have called for a ban on smoking at public beaches for years because cigarette butts are the number one item removed from beaches in Chicago and around the world. The discarded butts can be toxic to fish and birds, as well as pollute the water.

The Chicago Park District said that in 2003, its volunteers picked up more than 32,000 cigarette butts along the 34-miles of lakefront. According to the Alliance for Great Lakes, their volunteers removed 5,654 cigarette butts from North Avenue Beach during a three-hour cleanup event in 2006 and 345,743 cigarette butts were removed in all of Chicago. Items related to cigarette and cigar smoking make up more than 54-percent of the litter found on all beaches during a September 2006 cleanup. "One small thing we can do that is not small to people who are using thebeaches is stop using them as ashtrays," said Joe Brammeier, Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Natacha Doyle walks 10-miles along the lakefront every day.

"I'm not a big fan of the butts. Or cigarette butts on the beach. And I don't think the beach is an ashtray, but that's what it's come to," said Doyle.

North Avenue Beach jogger Augie Metzger doesn't smoke, but said the proposed beach smoking ban might be going overboard.

"I am for the ban on smoking inside, but if you're outside, this is a public place, so I would feel it's your prerogative," said Metzger.

A similar measure in California that relies on public policing shows a 40-percent reduction of cigarette litter where bans are in place.


No More Smoking in Chicago Park District
By Sophia Keenan
October 17th 2007

A new law passed in the Chicago Park District will vote Wednesday on a proposal to ban smoking at public beaches, playgrounds and play lots. If it passes, it will go into effect immediately.

The Chicago Park District announced the proposal at Margate Park on Tuesday morning. It would prohibit smoking at all of the beaches, play lots and playgrounds within the Chicago Park District system.

Last year, Mayor Daley dismissed the idea of a ban on beach smoking and questioned how it could be enforced. Parks officials say if an anti-smoking measure is passed, they would rely on citizens to report violations to police who would issue tickets to offenders.

The Chicago Park District cited research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that classifies second-hand smoke as hazardous to human health as the need to ban smoking from the area frequented by children and others. Also, research shows, according to the park district, that children who observe tobacco use at public places may model the behavior.

Environmentalists have called for a ban on smoking at public beaches for years because cigarette butts are the number one item removed from beaches in Chicago and around the world. The discarded butts can be toxic to fish and birds, as well as pollute the water.

© 2007 - eNews 2.0 All Rights Reserved


Navy Pier
Chicago attracted 44.17 million visitors in 2006 from around the nation and world.[19] Upscale shopping along the Magnificent Mile, thousands of restaurants, as well as Chicago's eminent architecture, continue to draw tourists. The city is the United States' third-largest convention destination.[20] Most conventions are held at McCormick Place, just south of Soldier Field.

Navy Pier, 3,000 feet (900 m) long, houses retail, restaurants, museums, exhibition halls, and auditoriums. Its 150 foot (46 m) tall Ferris wheel is north of Grant Park on the lakefront and is one of the most visited landmarks in the Midwest, attracting about 8 million people annually.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

To: Sun Times: Letter to the Editor
Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 9:26 PM

Chicago Sun Times
Letter to the Editor

RE: No more butts at the beach?,101607beaches.article

Hmmmm... By examining the statistics provided in this news story for garbage collected along the Lake Michigan beaches, that's less than 1000 cigarette butts per mile...and, in most places, ashtray urns have been removed. Yet, almost 8000 pounds of garbage was collected...and there are outdoor garbage receptacles conveniently located everywhere. Styrofoam cups, paper and aluminum cans don't weigh much.

So, who are the offenders that need monitoring....smokers or the littering public? Chicago already has a comprehensive littering law which does not appear to be enforced. This new proposed smoking ban couldn't be based on more discrimination against smokers and unnecessary additional persecution, could it?

"In 2003, volunteers cleaned up 7,983 pounds of trash -- and more than 32,000 cigarette butts -- spanning 34 miles along the lakefront."

If the Chicago Park District plans to outlaw smoking on public Chicago beaches and in their parks, then it's time to outlaw food and beverages in those same areas too, or turn them into private access areas. Believing in SHS health dangers outdoors is like believing in the Tooth Fairy. Cigarettes are still legal and highly taxed items.

Garnet Dawn
Lake Bluff, IL 60044
Garnet Dawn - Illinois Smokers Rights -
The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter - - Respect Freedom of Choice!
No more butts at the beach?
City plan would outlaw smoking at public parks, beaches
October 16, 2007

Chicago would ban smoking on beaches and at playgrounds under a measure proposed today by the Chicago Park District.

The park district board is likely to approve the plan Wednesday.

Not all areas in city parks would be smoke-free, however, a parks spokeswoman said today.

In 2003, volunteers cleaned up 7,983 pounds of trash -- and more than 32,000 cigarette butts -- spanning 34 miles along the lakefront.

Environmentalists have pushed for a ban for years, saying that during annual cleanup days they were able to pick up 10,000 cigarette butts an hour on Chicago beaches.

In 2006, the City Council’s Committee on Parks and Recreation heard testimony about the problem, including claims that cigarette butts and smoking-related debris make up half the trash on Chicago beaches, contaminating sand and water. They heard about how partly extinguished cigarettes and matches have caused fires.

But at the time, Mayor Daley dismissed the idea, raising questions about enforcement. He also suggested in June of 2006 that there was a danger of government intrusion into people’s lives.

“If you want government to pass every law that is necessary for you, after a while, you’re going to have a list of things you cannot do. You can’t even come out of your house eventually. You cannot eat, the way the City Council is going. How far should government become involved in peoples’ lives?” Daley said at the time.

Today, parks spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said enforcement would be user-driven. People angry about smokers could call the police, who would issue a ticket, said Maxey-Faulkner.

“This gives parents a right to say something” if someone is smoking in a playground, Maxey-Faulkner said.

“Our main goal is to protect children,’’ she said.

Some areas would not be covered “at this time,” such as “large passive areas” in parks away from areas where children play, she said. One example might be open areas in Grant Park.

Parks Supt. Timothy Mitchell is scheduled to be joined by Ald. Danny Solis (25th) and Alliance of the Great Lakes director Cameron Davis at Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine, this morning to officially announce the plan.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The World Is In A Smoking War

Here we go again with "All smoking activists are just fronts for big tobacco". Give it a rest. It isn't true. Big Tobacco threw their customers to the wolves with the MSA settlements in 1998. Prosmoking activists are people who believe government does not have the right to intrude on personal life style decisions and we volunteer our time and efforts without pay. How can adults with any capabilities of logic believe that smoking is an addiction? Stop comparing it to Cocaine and Heroine! You are the people who are contributing to teens believing that these illegal drugs "aren't so bad". How can you explain smokers returning to their habit five years or more after they quit? One simple answer. Smoking is pleasurable. It is not going to go away. Over twenty-five percent of the adults in the U.S. smoke! *

Following is a letter I wrote a few months ago to a major news station that wanted to know the top price smokers would pay for cigarettes:

I live in northern Illinois and am furious about recent antismoking health propaganda and antismoking policies. The anti-smokers are obsessed and will never be satisfied till they control every waking moment of our lives. I never objected to non-smoking public buildings, avoided non-smoking restaurants and accepted smoking areas. I am a considerate smoker and have always picked up any cigarette butts I created as ashtrays became more and more scarce. The final straw was last year, when we went on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation for two weeks in Orlando, FL. I couldn't believe that we couldn't find a restaurant that allowed smoking. Due to the Florida smoking ban, we ate at the Disney parks, snuck cigarettes in the parks when we could and refused to patronize any restaurants during our entire stay. Several times we ate in our room--too bad for the restaurants, bars and Florida's economy.

Smokers have been completely muzzled and have remained unrepresented by the great majority of the press and other media. I have written many responses and letters to the media and my local, state and federal representatives. Only a very small percentage of the citizens defending smokers' rights are ever published. I have in no way been subsidized for my efforts. I have also signed numerous petitions to fight anti-smoking legislation. I am trying to defend my civil rights, as are most proactive smokers.

I paid about $6.00 per carton when I was a teenager. Now, even with my discounted prices, they cost me over $30.00 per carton!! In regard to your question as to the maximum I will pay for cigarettes, I will only say that I will not pay Illinois prices. I have another source. Should I loose that source, I will roll my own cigarettes or grow my own tobacco--whatever it takes... I am far from alone in my sentiments. The recent Illinois tax increase will serve no purpose, except to create a mass disrespect for the law. I still smoke my favorite brand, Pall Mall Gold 100's. It is a brand that I can't even find in stores any more. The only brands I see offered are Marlboros, Camels and generics. I can't even purchase flints for my Zippo lighter in a store without needing an employee to open a locked case for me.

I smoke about two packs a day, although my ashtrays tend to burn away quite a few. I have no intention of quitting. I like smoking. I have since I began smoking at sixteen. Taxes/prices will never cause the large core of real smokers to stop smoking. In some very recent statistics I have read that about 50% of smokers have tried to quit at least once. Has it ever occurred to all the "for your own good" health officials that at least 50% of smokers have no intention of ever quitting? The constant pressures being artificially created to discourage smokers only intensifies our resolve. I will not spend a single penny in non-smoking establishments. That is MY choice.

Recent, well-funded efforts by massive health organizations toward smoking bans and other types of anti-smoking legislation is a frightening prophesy of our future. No amount of distortion and half truths, regarding the harms of cigarette smoke, is taboo to the anti-smokers. The current efforts to denormalize smokers smacks of "1984". We are the new minority. Only a very small percentage (about 2%) of the population are anti-smoking crusaders. History has proven that prohibitionists' motives are not altruistic. The majority of people are just following along, and are not questioning the "junk science" smoking studies with which we are constantly inundated.

I am active on the internet with other smokers all around the world. We are all "grassroots". I hope you can take a few minutes to review our Smokers Club Newsletter (published weekly). This site contains current smoking news and hyperlinks to smoking related information for each state and much, much more. Articles and letters are submitted from all over the world and our letter is published weekly.

Garnet Dawn 03/05

By Anonymous on Sunday, March 06 @ 18:13:32 PST - "Nicotine addicts in denial. How pathetic! Whats next, drunk driver rights? No other drug addiction has rights, why should this one? Smokers rights is nothing more than a front for cigerette cartel marketing. If this drug delivery devise is a right, then we have done a greivious wrong to have cocaine and heroin etc illegel.
Militant smokers need serious phycological help to get over the denial and anger of their drug addiction."

* Note: I wrote my Opinion in response to the above comment, posted on the Free Internet Press. Please notice how the cowardly Anti author prefers to remain anonymous. I also have left his/her original spelling errors in tact.


Never Be Afraid to Say What You Think!

Tax Increases to Reduce Cigarette Consumption? Another Fraudulent Claim!

I had a college student write to me for information to help with an article he/she is writing:

"I'm a journalism student at UW-Madison. I'm writing a feature on the cigarette tax which will probably pass (in some form) through the legislature. I'm getting a lot of statistics which show that increasing the tax will lower the amount of cigarette smokers. I find those statistics hard to refute, but freedom of choice deserves a part in the argument.

Also, do you or your organization have a position paper on this topic or a manifesto on tobacco use in general?"

Hi _______,

Thanks for contacting me. Sure, I'll be glad to help. I do not believe that tax increases on cigarettes reduce the number of smokers. That's another fairy tale to justify additional taxation. It's a total lie, especially from the smokers who give a tax increase as another excuse for a reason to quit. They'll be giving lip service to "quitting" till the day they die.

When did a price increase cause you to give up something that you really want? Do you not eat steak any more, or like nice cars? What about the cost of your college tuition? One more example of how price increases do not affect consumer consumption is the current coffee craze. Prices have quadrupled, yet consumption continues to it a nation-wide addiction to caffeine too, perhaps? Maybe our law makers should consider a tax increase on coffee......

Smokers simply find less expensive means to purchase their cigarettes. These tax increases cause more people to break the law through black market, Indian cigarette purchases or roll their own. Lawmakers know that. That is why, right now, Tennessee is attempting to crack down on "over the state border" cigarette purchases since their recent tax increase on cigarettes. Cigarettes are a legal product. It is contrary to our Constitution to tax in order to create social change.

"The taxing power...must not be used to regulate the economy or bring about social change." Ronald Reagan - 1981

Here also is a review of some research I did about the actual help provided by quit smoking "help" hot lines.

The REAL Story About Quit Smoking Hot-Lines:
The American Lung Association Smoking Cessation Hot Line

After reading about my experience, how can anyone believe these "hot lines" would be of any practical help to a smoker, unless that person really wanted to quit smoking...not just because of another tax hike?

I do not believe coercion to quit smoking by our government or society creates anything but disrespect for our laws and other people's motives. Unfair taxation only turns honest people into criminals. Quitting smoking is like going on a diet, except there are no long term benefits visible..... People start smoking again after one, two, five or ten years. Does that sound like addiction....or does it sound like a pleasurable habit long missed?

You also inquired about a Position Paper or Manifesto on tobacco use in general. I don't have one yet, but that is a good suggestion. Here, however, is an editorial that I wrote about our state-wide ban that describes our pro choice position well.

Tobacco consumption in post WWII Germany actually increased to levels greater than pre-war consumption levels, when German smoking bans were lifted. Tobacco consumption levels in the US have not significantly reduced since the early 1990's

Please note, in particular, the following quote from my editorial below:

"...In 1975, Sir George Godber, WHO Chairman of the Third World Conference on Smoking and Health in NYC, first suggested social stigmatizing of smokers by eliminating cigarette smoking from many communal occasions and places. He recommended tobacco control agencies try to make it more and more difficult for the individual to smoke cigarettes in public. "There are plenty of weapons of persuasion, of restriction, of financial penalty by price and tax increases with which we could seriously hope to reduce the consumption of cigarettes....He suggested that health agencies and governments at the conference map a strategy to gain real ground..."

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

SB 500 - ILLINOIS STATE SMOKING BAN - The "Social Isolation Act"

Our Illinois Governor recently signed into law a severe state wide smoking ban, ignoring legal right-to-choice for over two million, eight hundred thousand smokers in our state and constitutional rights of private business owners, but this issue is far from settled. Tobacco control crusaders may attempt to claim this is a health issue, but still remain unable to prove their claims after over thirty years. Health has never been the real issue, but an excuse for demonizing smokers to ultimately eliminate tobacco usage.

In 1975, Sir George Godber, WHO Chairman of the Third World Conference on Smoking and Health in NYC, first suggested social stigmatizing of smokers by eliminating cigarette smoking from many communal occasions and places. He recommended tobacco control agencies try to make it more and more difficult for the individual to smoke cigarettes in public. "There are plenty of weapons of persuasion, of restriction, of financial penalty by price and tax increases with which we could seriously hope to reduce the consumption of cigarettes....He suggested that health agencies and governments at the conference map a strategy to gain real ground..."--

TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 1975, Cigarette Fighters Map New Anti-Smoking Plans, NEW YORK (UPI) Click to read the original news story!

This began the movement to ban smoking in public places and laws to spread smoking bans. Now, over 30 years later, claims of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS/SHS) health threats have not been proven and cancer rates still continue to increase. Smoking ban activists began by claiming the demand for smoking bans was based on public opinion. That soon changed into an argument about 'a level playing field', after the passage of the Illinois Clean Air Act - Home Rule Amendment in 2006. The ban promoters, led by the American Cancer Society and American Lung Association, next trumpeted 'public health' which morphed into 'employee health', another social engineering tactic.

With the wide selection of smoke free hospitality alternatives already available, the Smoke Free Illinois Act remains an unreasonable assault upon the life styles of a large minority of voters and business owners in our state. Anti-smokers may be irritated by tobacco smoke and viciously insult smokers, but their reasoning tends to be for largely selfish and ascetic reasons, not health threats.

I have an alternative suggestion. Rather than states focusing efforts upon smoking ban legislation which discriminates against 25% of the population, will close businesses, eliminate jobs and socially isolate individuals, elected officials should instead encourage tobacco control/health agencies/charities to increase studies to find the real causes of cancer, heart disease and respiratory illnesses. - 08.15.07

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

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fighting Words!!!
Illinois Smoking Ban Goes into Effect January 1

I just have to share the following!

I am so pleased with this piece from Aricka Flowers, and published on Heartland Institute's website. This is the first time that my words have not been paraphrased or edited to some degree in a published article, unless I wrote it myself. I imagine my quotes will generate a sizeable amount of hate mail in my e-mail messages, but it will be worth it. It's time we got the word out in no uncertain terms.

Oh, I'm just so proud.....and Aricka was great. The story may be focused on Illinois, but it applies anywhere the Antis are persecuting and bullying smokers. Gee, guess that makes it a global statement!! Enjoy!
Garnet Dawn - Illinois Smokers Rights -
The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter - - Respect Freedom of Choice!
Illinois Smoking Ban Goes into Effect January 1
Written By: Aricka Flowers
Published In: Health Care News
Publication Date: November 1, 2007
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

Smoking is no longer allowed in Illinois--at least, not in public.
On July 23, Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) signed a statewide public smoking ban. As of January 1, smoking will be illegal in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, workplaces, and all public buildings. Smoking will also be banned within 15 feet of building entrances, exits, and windows.

Illinois is the 19th state to pass such a law. American Medical Association President Ron Davis, M.D. called it "the strongest clean indoor air law in the country." Sherrill Keefe, tobacco projects manager at the American Lung Association of Greater Chicago, agreed.

"A lot of other states threw in a lot of exceptions," Keefe explained. "We were very stringent in how we decided to allocate exceptions. An example of that is the exception that is granted to nursing homes.

"Although it is a public place, it is also people's private homes," Keefe said. "Other states granted the same exception to gaming facilities and restaurants. Illinois didn't."

First Amendment Violation

Others say the law violates the First Amendment's protection of Americans' right of assembly.

"This is an issue of violating our Bill of Rights," said Garnet Dawn Scheuer, president of Illinois Smokers' Rights. "We are dealing with the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. Under this law, smokers can't peaceably assemble unless it's outside." Casinos, bowling alleys, private clubs, and bars are traditionally havens where smokers have gathered.

Many restaurant and bar owners are concerned about the ban's effect on their businesses. The Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, which represents retail businesses that sell alcohol, released a statement saying, "All-out smoking bans have a severe negative economic impact on hospitality venues that serve beverage alcohol for consumption on-premise."

"Of particular concern are independent, small, family-owned businesses," Scheuer noted. "These businesses will fold first. If hospitality industry businesses lose revenue, cities will also lose revenue. On average in Illinois, hospitality businesses generate one of every eight sales tax dollars. Can cities, towns, and villages really afford to lose this revenue?"

Non-Smokers' Concerns

Anti-smoking crusaders say those arguments are baseless.

"We did a lot of research in this area," said Keefe. "There were a lot of studies done that saw business improve for a lot of restaurants when smoking bans took effect. Sometimes it's not the food that's bringing people in, it's the atmosphere.

"Twenty-two percent of people in Illinois are smokers," Keefe continued. "That leaves well over 70 percent of people who are non-smokers. Some of those people don't come out because of health problems that are aggravated by smoke--now they can."

Junk Science Accusation

According to the American Medical Association, secondhand smoke kills approximately 3,000 Illinoisans annually.

Scheuer disagrees with that conclusion.

"I don't believe secondhand smoke health claims are valid," Scheuer said. "It's feel-good legislation and based on junk science. There are too many studies out there questioning the belief that secondhand smoke is dangerous.

"I do not believe that secondhand smoke or smoking by itself causes cancer," Scheuer continued. "It hasn't been proven, and the idea that you tell a lie enough times until it becomes the truth is the case in this instance."

Hefty Fines

Individuals who violate the ban will be fined $100 to $250 per instance. Businesses could be fined at least $250 for the first violation of allowing smoking on their premises. A minimum fine of $2,500 would be doled out to businesses that violated the law three times within one year.

Scheuer vowed to fight the law by arguing for personal rights.

"I'm not saying smoking is the best choice to make," Scheuer said. "But if you look at a lot of other lifestyle choices out there, it is by far not the most harmful."

Aricka Flowers ( ) writes from Chicago.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Smoking Humor - Satire Videos

These are from Phil Williams of Norfolk, England who goes all out in a satirical portrayal of your typical lying Smoke-Nazi. They are classics, so don't even think about missing them. Rate them a high five and spread the word around to all your friends!

Anti Smoking League, Questions!

Anti Smoking League, Charity!

Anti Smoking League, Politics!

Anti Smoking League, Economy!

And a great parody video from Canada:

An Interview with Big Brother

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Who benefits from smoking bans?

Smoking bans these days are often called a "good" thing.

May I ask for whom?

Is it good for the hospitality restaurant/bowling alley/bar owner? How about the smokers? Then, who is it really good for? Anti-smokers are on a crusade to make things better for themselves at the expense of bar and restaurant owners' Constitutional rights.´ Of course, some Antis are already complaining about their favorite places closing, since smokers no longer often patronize the establishments where smoking bans have been implemented.

Smoking bans are also "good" for the intellectually dishonest and the emotionally immature non smoker. We can't help but read their endless "hate" posts, insulting smokers and wishing those who smoke, long painful deaths.

Powerless, frustrated, emotionally inhibited by political correctness of all kinds, the non smoker responds to a primordial need to dominate someone or have control over something. It is not a coincidence, in fact, that totalitarian regimes of all colours in any age have always offered scapegoats to the population, so that the power-deprived citizen can have power over someone instead of rebelling against the system.

Mr. Emotionally Retarded Non Smoker has just paid a tax for a service he does not use, a traffic ticket against which there is absolutely nothing he can do, and which he identifies with theft. The boss has given him a hard time unfairly and he could not even tell Mr. Boss to 'go to hell', as he deserves. His wife tells him what to do, even where he believes he should have some control -- at home.

He has no courage to quit his job and give the boss his due, tell the wife to go to hell or drive his car against the post that holds the photo-radar. Rotten "public health" is the saviour that offers him the sacrificial lamb: The Smoker - and the lamb comes complete with the moral justification of "self defense". Mr. Non Smoker finally has power over someone!

Who cares if it is proven that the dangers of passive smoking are a scientific fraud? Who gives a damn if the law violates property rights? "See if I care about how Mr. Smoker feels, and whether it is cold outside! It's him, not me! I love the smoking ban for, finally, I can say 'I hate', without breaching political correctness and without being called an ass.

All this and a well-armed, criminal system that sides with me to boot: A law! Where is a smoker who breaks the "law" so I can exercise my power?

Like the dumb dog who bites the broom that hits him instead of jumping at the throat of he who handles it, Mr. Non Smoker will grip with locked jaw that little fragment of power that makes him feel like he's not a total loser. He will not let go - unless Mr. Smoker induces a loss to him that is greater than his gain.

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

Special thanks to Lady9196

Will proposed Illinois Riverboat Gambling Bill HB 0025 be replaced by HB 2035?

Surprise! Within HB 0025's referral actions for Lost "Gaming" (06-01-07), on the "Gaming" Committee page is a linked Notice of Hearing for HB 2035. I did some exploring to find it, because someone told me that they had read every bit of verbiage in the amendments proposed for HB 0025 and could find no references to allow riverboat casinos a smoking exemption from Smoke Free Illinois.

It appears to me that our IL legislators are playing games again. When I checked into HB 0025 and each of the activity references from 6-01-07 with Gaming links, I found the "Notice of Hearing" on October 17th for HB 2035. That's the bill (HB 2035) with references to extending smoking in casinos and verbiage to amend Smoke Free Illinois. Our elected officials will be attempting to incorporate gambling profits with transportation funding. (See below)

I admit, I hadn't looked up the amendment language on HB 0025 before.....since, I think, it's the third bill this year that has been proposed to exempt the casinos, including a Chinese puzzle of multiple proposed amendments.

This is still only an upcoming committee hearing for HB 2035, but seems our politicians haven't chosen to share its existence with the public yet. I could be wrong, but why haven't our Illinois House representatives extended the "action deadline" on HB 0025 out past the hearing date, if they weren't trying to camouflage it?

This entire fast shuffle in our IL Assembly is nauseating!

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

95th General Assembly HB 2035Gaming

Notice of Hearing
Hearing Scheduled for Oct 17, 2007

Chairperson: Lou Lang
Vice-Chairperson: George Scully
Republican Spokesperson: Brent Hassert
Scheduled Date: Oct 17, 2007 10:00AM
Location: Room 16-503 James R. Thompson Center Chicago, IL
Posting Date: Oct 01, 2007 10:00AM
SUBJECT MATTER: Hearing for the purposes of considering HB 2035
Clerk of the House: Mark Mahoney

Bill Status of HB2035 95th General Assembly
Full Text Votes View All Actions Printer-Friendly Version


House Sponsors
Rep. Chapin Rose - William B. BlackSenate Sponsors(Sen. Rickey R. Hendon - Mattie Hunter - Iris Y. Martinez - Donne E. Trotter and Kimberly A. Lightford)

Last Action Date: Chamber Action 9/19/2007

House Placed on Calendar Order of Concurrence Senate Amendment(s) 8,9,10

Statutes Amended In Order of Appearance
20 ILCS 2705/2705-312 new
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Department of Transportation Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois. Requires that, if the federal government offers to provide any grant or other financial assistance to the State or to units of local government in the State on a matching-funds basis for transportation projects, then, if the State does not appropriate the matching funds necessary to receive the financial assistance, the Department of Transportation must establish and maintain a program to enable units of local government or other interested public or private parties to pay the cost of the matching funds necessary to receive the financial assistance with respect to any specific transportation project. Effective July 1, 2007.

Senate Floor Amendment No. 8
(Note: This Amendment file is so gigantic and amazing that it requires it's own .pdf file. PDF
Seems Chicago could be entering the Gambling industry! - Garnet)

Deletes reference to:
20 ILCS 2705/2705-312 new

Adds reference to:
New Act

20 ILCS 301/5-20
20 ILCS 605/605-530 new
0 ILCS 2505/2505-305
was 20 ILCS 2505/39b15.1

30 ILCS 105/8a
from Ch. 127, par. 144a

30 ILCS 105/8h

30 ILCS 500/50-70

30 ILCS 740/2-7.1 new

35 ILCS 143/99-99

70 ILCS 1825/5.1
from Ch. 19, par. 255.1

70 ILCS 3615/4.03.2 new

205 ILCS 670/12.5

230 ILCS 5/1.2

230 ILCS 5/3.12
from Ch. 8, par. 37-3.12

230 ILCS 5/3.20

230 ILCS 5/3.22

230 ILCS 5/3.23

230 ILCS 5/3.28 new

230 ILCS 5/3.29 new

230 ILCS 5/9
from Ch. 8, par. 37-9

230 ILCS 5/14
from Ch. 8, par. 37-14

230 ILCS 5/15
from Ch. 8, par. 37-15

230 ILCS 5/26
from Ch. 8, par. 37-26

230 ILCS 5/27
from Ch. 8, par. 37-27

230 ILCS 5/28
from Ch. 8, par. 37-28

230 ILCS 5/28.1

230 ILCS 5/30
from Ch. 8, par. 37-30

230 ILCS 5/31
from Ch. 8, par. 37-31

230 ILCS 5/31.2 new

230 ILCS 5/36
from Ch. 8, par. 37-36

230 ILCS 5/54.5

230 ILCS 10/1
from Ch. 120, par. 2401

230 ILCS 10/2
from Ch. 120, par. 2402

230 ILCS 10/3
from Ch. 120, par. 2403

230 ILCS 10/4
from Ch. 120, par. 2404

230 ILCS 10/5
from Ch. 120, par. 2405

230 ILCS 10/5.2 new

230 ILCS 10/6
from Ch. 120, par. 2406

230 ILCS 10/7
from Ch. 120, par. 2407

230 ILCS 10/7.1

230 ILCS 10/7.3

230 ILCS 10/7.4

230 ILCS 10/7.15 new

230 ILCS 10/8
from Ch. 120, par. 2408

230 ILCS 10/9
from Ch. 120, par. 2409

230 ILCS 10/10
from Ch. 120, par. 2410

230 ILCS 10/11
from Ch. 120, par. 2411

230 ILCS 10/11.1
from Ch. 120, par. 2411.1

230 ILCS 10/12
from Ch. 120, par. 2412

230 ILCS 10/13
from Ch. 120, par. 2413

230 ILCS 10/13.2 new

230 ILCS 10/14
from Ch. 120, par. 2414

230 ILCS 10/18
from Ch. 120, par. 2418

230 ILCS 10/20
from Ch. 120, par. 2420

230 ILCS 10/23
from Ch. 120, par. 2423

235 ILCS 5/5-1
from Ch. 43, par. 115

235 ILCS 5/6-30
from Ch. 43, par. 144f

410 ILCS 82/35

720 ILCS 5/28-1
from Ch. 38, par. 28-1

720 ILCS 5/28-1.1
from Ch. 38, par. 28-1.1

720 ILCS 5/28-3
from Ch. 38, par. 28-3

720 ILCS 5/28-5
from Ch. 38, par. 28-5

720 ILCS 5/28-7
from Ch. 38, par. 28-7

735 ILCS 30/15-5-45 new

815 ILCS 420/2
from Ch. 121 1/2, par. 1852

30 ILCS 105/5.676 new

30 ILCS 105/5.677 new

30 ILCS 105/5.678 new

30 ILCS 105/6z-69 new

30 ILCS 105/5.490 rep.

230 ILCS 5/31.1 rep.

230 ILCS 5/54 rep.
Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Creates the Chicago Casino Development Authority Act. Creates the Chicago Casino Development Authority and vests its powers in the Chicago Casino Development Board. Provides that the Board shall select casino operators to develop and operate a land-based casino in Chicago. Reenacts the provisions of Public Act 94-804, and changes the provisions amending the Riverboat Gambling Act requiring certain owners licensees pay 3% of their adjusted gross receipts into the Horse Racing Equity Trust Fund by removing the 2-year limitation on the payments and requiring all owners licensees to pay a scaled percentage of gross gaming receipts. Amends the Horse Racing Act of 1975. Allows advance deposit wagering. Deletes provisions concerning the Horse Racing Equity Fund. Adds provisions concerning drug testing for horses. Creates the Backstretch Programs Advisory Board. Makes other changes. Amends the Riverboat Gambling Act. Authorizes the issuance of 2 licenses to conduct riverboat gambling and a license to conduct land-based casino gambling in Chicago. Allows the Authority to receive an owners license to conduct land-based casino gambling within that municipality. Changes the short title to the Riverboat and Casino Gambling Act and makes corresponding changes in other Acts. Allows an owners licensee to lease gaming positions in addition to the gaming positions authorized under current law. Makes changes concerning the admission tax rate and the distribution of wagering tax moneys. Makes other changes. Amends the Riverboat (and Casino) Gambling Act, the Regional Transportation Authority Act, and the Downstate Public Transportation Act to provide for money to be transferred from the State Gaming Fund to the General Revenue Fund for the purpose of providing funding to public transportation systems and for the repayment of the money to the State Gaming Fund. Amends the Smoke Free Illinois Act. Provides that any riverboat owners licensee conducting gambling operations pursuant to the Riverboat and Casino Gambling Act within 5 miles of the border of a state allowing (1) similar facilities for conducting gambling games and (2) smoking in such facilities may permit smoking on such riverboat subject to specified conditions. Amends the State Finance Act to create the Racing Industry Workers' Fund, the Depressed Communities Economic Development Fund, and the Capital Program Acceleration Fund. Contains an inseverability clause in relation to the amendatory provisions. Effective immediately.

Senate Floor Amendment No. 9
Deletes reference to:
410 ILCS 82/35
Removes provisions amending the Smoke Free Illinois Act.

HB 0556: Future of Cigarette Tax Uncertain - DuPage County, IL - Home Rule?

It is still unconstitutional, according to the Illinois State Constitution, for any Illinois county to assume home rule authority without a vote by residents to delegate that authority to them. Cook County is the only county in Illinois with Home Rule Authority....and we've all observed how well they have used it. Perhaps, that is why no other county in Illinois has been able to cajole voters into giving them that same authority over the past half century.

DuPage is back, only this time their board is attempting to tack their budget problems on the currently pending Illinois HB 0556 that proposes a state wide tax increase for cigarettes. This time though, DuPage is trying to draw in a few other greedy counties (Lake County, where I live, included) to give the counties more taxation clout.

This seemed a good time to resurrect NTUI's press release, dated last January, regarding opposition to county cigarette taxes. (copy below)

Only the date and bill number (HB 0556) have been changed by our Illinois Assembly to protect the legislators in our state who can't seem to balance Illinois' budget without gouging smokers yet again.
Garnet Dawn - Illinois Smokers Rights -
The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter - - Respect Freedom of Choice!

Future of cigarette tax uncertain
By Dan Petrella,
GateHouse News Service
Tue Oct 09, 2007, 06:29 AM CDT

DuPage County, IL - The deadline for DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom to propose his 2008 budget is coming next week, and the fate of the cigarette tax the county hopes will close its anticipated budget gap is still unclear.
Officials have predicted there will be an estimated $20 million shortfall in next year’s budget unless the county finds a new source of revenue. Over the past several months, the county has pinned its hopes on a new $1-per-pack cigarette tax being debated in Springfield.

The bill has already passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, but differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill must be rectified. The deadline for final action on the bill was originally scheduled for August, but it has been extended five times and is now Friday. There is a chance it could be extended again.

Several weeks ago, the County Board gave Schillerstrom an extra month to come up with a budget, in part because board members wanted to wait for the outcome of the cigarette tax. He must present his proposal to the board next Tuesday. Schillerstrom and other county officials have made numerous trips to the state capital to lobby for the tax bill.

“If we don’t find a new revenue source, there will be significant cuts made (to the budget) that will have a serious impact on people’s lives,” Schillerstrom said last month. “It’s not like we have a budget with a lot of fat in it that you can go pare out a certain percentage and it won’t have any impact on people’s lives.”

Schillerstrom has predicted the tax could generate as much as $25 million in new revenue each year. Without an increase in revenue, cuts will have to be made and that could include jobs, though Schillerstrom has not said how many positions are at risk.

Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a Chicago-based nonpartisan budget watchdog, said a cigarette tax can be an effective way of closing a budget gap, but should be used to offset the health care costs created by smoking. He would not comment specifically on DuPage County’s situation because the budget has not yet been proposed.

“A great deal of spending in DuPage and in other counties is health care and health-related services,” Msall said. “In general terms, cigarette taxes have proven to be very politically popular among the general public both as a means for raising revenue and discouraging people from smoking.”

Msall said he does not consider a cigarette tax regressive because smokers chose whether or not to buy cigarettes. But that choice also can make revenue generated by the tax fall short of predictions. If smokers go to neighboring counties with lower taxes to buy their cigarettes or kick the habit altogether, the tax may not create as much revenue as expected, he said.

But the future of the cigarette tax still remains uncertain. Some of DuPage’s own state representatives have not committed to supporting the bill.

“I’m for DuPage County getting the revenue they need, but there are other things in there besides DuPage County,” said state Rep. Bob Biggins, R-41st District, of Elmhurst.

On top of the $1 tax DuPage and other Chicago-area counties would be allowed to add to a pack of cigarettes, the bill would also implement an additional state tax.

Biggins said without seeing the final version of the bill he would be voting on, he could not say if he would vote in favor of it.


Contact: Jeff Trigg (312) 427-5128 or Jim Tobin (773) 354-2076 (cell)


Honorable Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. and all Illinois Senators;

We urge you to oppose Senate Bill 716 and to let the bill expire this session without action.

Senate Bill 716 is a bad bill for taxpayers, small businesses, and state government revenues and should be opposed now and in any future versions.

Every county already has the opportunity to impose cigarette taxes and the current laws do not need to be changed regarding home rule authority. The power to grant home rule authority to counties currently rests with the voters and that power should not be taken by the General Assembly. Du Page and other counties’ voters have spoken at the ballot box numerous times against giving their county the power to tax cigarettes. Those votes must be honored.

Fiscally, this is a bad bill for state government revenues. State cigarette tax revenues are steadily declining. Through the first six months of FY 2007 state cigarette tax revenues are down $4.3 million from the same time period in FY 2006. FY 2006 state cigarette tax revenues were $120 million lower than FY 2004. Passing Senate Bill 716 will reduce state cigarette tax revenues even more.

Alongside cigarette tax revenues, cigarette sales across the state are declining. In 2006, 57.5 million fewer packs of cigarettes were sold in Cook County than the previous year. Those reduced sales harm small businesses and our economy even more than the state budget. Senate Bill 716 only places higher hurdles in front of small businesses when we should be knocking down hurdles in front of the American Dream.

Finally, tobacco consumers have been picked on more than enough in Illinois. Chicago has the highest cigarette tax in the nation, and Illinois should be looking to cap if not reduce cigarette taxes in the state. These taxes are regressive and hit families and the poor the hardest.

The General Assembly has nothing to gain by passing Senate Bill 716. Doing the counties’ dirty work for them will only present you with harder budget decisions going forward. If the counties want the home rule authority to tax cigarettes, let them go to the voters and ask for it, as they should. Please oppose Senate Bill 716.


Jim Tobin is President of National Taxpayers United of Illinois.
Jeff Trigg is the Executive Director.

407 S. Dearborn, Suite 1170 * CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 60605
(312) 427-5128 * Fax (312) 427-5139 * Web Site * E-mail

Monday, October 08, 2007

Over 2.8 Million Residents Reject Smoke Free Illinois Act - SB 500

Since I've re-activated Land of Lincoln Smokers Diary again, I'm sharing the Illinois Smokers Rights press release, following our Illinois Assembly's passage of SB500 - Smoke Free Illinois Act, and prior to Governor Blagojevich signing it into law.

Garnet Dawn



Over 2.8 Million Residents Reject Smoke Free Illinois Act - SB 500

LAKE BLUFF, IL (MAY 17, 2007) -- Illinois Smokers Rights, on behalf of over two million, eight hundred thousand smoking residents in Illinois, and The Smoker's Club, Inc., does not accept the validity of The Smoke Free Illinois Act (SB 500) recently passed by the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. This pending law states that it is justified based upon 'proven' health findings which are, in fact, unsupported and unresolved scientific claims taken from inconclusive studies.

We challenge the validity and authority of this new pending law because it was written and based upon highly questionable material supplied by the American Cancer Society.

Specifically, we wish to challenge two widely publicized health claims. We would like to see documentation from those experts who claim eight Illinois resident deaths are caused daily by second hand smoke and that breathing environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace is like inhaling the smoke from sixteen cigarettes (or even expanded to include the equivalent of smoking a pack of twenty cigarettes) in a single eight hour shift. We would like a detailed explanation to validate, in detail, how these calculations and statistics were created.

In actuality, provable ETS exposure for the most heavily exposed bartenders would be about one-fifth of a cigarette or one cigarette per week. We would also like to receive conclusive documentation to support the other ETS health claims made in The Smoke Free Illinois Act.

Smoking, itself, is not a right any more than non-smoking or smoke free air is a right. Our rights issues are based upon are our 'right to choice'. The error being made by our legislators is in their attempt to turn a legal personal life style choice into a crime on private property. The Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act of 1989 eliminated smoking in public places, and smoking residents cooperated.

The Smoke Free Illinois Act, based upon unconfirmed health statement sound bites, proceeds to violate our US Constitution and Bill of Rights. When our Illinois General Assembly representatives took office, they each took an oath and swore to uphold our Constitution. The constitutional purpose of our government is to promote commerce, build roads, protect us from foreign invasion and protect individual rights. This includes property rights. Any act to the contrary is an outright violation of our Constitution. A smoking ban is a violation of property rights.

The Constitution was written in such a manner to specifically limit the power and scope of government to preserve our individual rights. We are a constitutional republic, not a mob rule democracy and minorities still deserve consideration under our laws.

We have over eleven hundred municipalities in Illinois and more than one thousand of them have not chosen to impose local smoking bans. Among the communities that have passed new bans, based upon the Illinois Clean Air Act - Home Rule Amendment enacted a little over one year ago in January of 2006, several have enacted exemptions, including bars.

Also, of the one hundred and two counties located in Illinois, only Cook and Sangamon counties have enacted severe smoking bans, and McLean county has instituted one in unincorporated areas (while still exempting bars).

Perhaps the foremost question in the minds of those Illinois legislators, health agencies and tobacco control experts who support banning the use of a legal product on private property, should be to wonder how the Smoke Free Illinois Act will affect the health quality and living standards of those who are forced to close their businesses and those who will loose their jobs under a state-wide smoking ban.


Garnet Dawn
Midwest Regional Director
The Smoker's Club, Inc.
Media Interview Requests
Illinois Smokers Rights -

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Your Favorite Supper Club/Restaurant - 2017

I wrote the following a few months ago and have it linked on my Illinois Smokers Rights website. I thought blog readers might enjoy sharing a cynical look at our possible futures too:

"Your Favorite Supper Club/Restaurant"
January 1, 2017

Whereas, it has been determined as law in this state that it is a crime to knowingly emit any airborne carcinogens in any private business establishment that invites the public to enter, we have established these mandatory procedures to comply with required health standards, and no exceptions will be made.

No Smoking will be allowed within 500 feet of this establishment!

Upon entering, guests will be required to completely disrobe and check all clothing articles, shoes and personal effects which will be retained in our "clean room" holding area during their dining experience. Items will be returned to our guests upon departure. (All clothing emits carcinogens from new textile chemicals, dry cleaning and fabric softeners.)

Guests will also be required to pass though our disinfectant showers to remove any carcinogenic traces of perfume, after shave lotion, skin cream, hairspray or other chemicals.

Guests will find that we have now removed all carpeting and upholstery in our dining and bar areas to eliminate dust mite threats. You will now be dining in plastic protected splendor. Note: We will no longer be decorating your table with candles.
Whereas, it has been determined by law that coffee, butter, salad dressing and desserts are unhealthy and unnecessary for a balanced diet; these items will no longer be available on our menu. (Guests will also be required to sign a waiver before they will be served any water, to protect this establishment from any future prosecution, as it has also been determined that water contains a vast number of carcinogens. We cannot be responsible for the health of those guests still desiring to consume water.)

Any and all alcoholic beverages will be pre-mixed in our special clean room before serving and hermetically sealed to eliminate any evaporation of ethyl alcohol into our sterile environment. Imbibing alcoholic beverages will only be allowed by using the special self sealing straws we provide with our sealed containers.

Whereas, the serving of undercooked meat is now illegal and current laws have abolished any open cooking or flame-required preparation (including grilling, frying or broiling), our entrees will now all be prepared by boiling or slow cooking and will be only served well done.

Whereas, the only form of credit or payment currently allowed by law is your National Identification Card, our guests will have their dinner checks charged to their twenty-four (24) digit National Debit Card. upon leaving. Please note: A disinfectant service charge of forty percent (40%) and a service tip of twenty percent (20%) will be added to your check before the final total is determined.

We hope you will enjoy your new dining experience and return soon. - The Management
Garnet Dawn - Illinois Smokers Rights -
The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter - - Respect Freedom of Choice!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Nicotine addicts...

After a period of inactivity for my blog, I wanted to share this letter to the Suburban Herald, as I seriously doubt it will be printed.

----- Original Message -----
From: Garnet Dawn
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2007 1:53 AM
Subject: Letter to the Editor: Ban raises compliance issues - Addicts

Herald News
300 Caterpillar Drive,
Joliet, IL 60436

RE: Ban raises compliance issues,4_3_JO30_SMOKING_S1.article

Dear Editor:
cc: Ms. Wojdyla Cain

How can the Suburban Herald News (member of the Sun-Times News Group) allow this type of journalism to be published?

Can anyone justify the opening statement "Nicotine addicts aren't the only ones bracing for the looming statewide smoking ban"? This purposely insulting and inaccurate slur would be grounds for libel, if it were any other minority group being maligned. Ms. Wojdyla Cain and those responsible for printing her story are promoting hatred for smokers. Were such terms as "Jungle Bunny", "Camel Jockey", "Hebe", "Spic", or "Retard" substituted for "nicotine addicts", we would hear national screams of indignation and indictments against bigotry.

Nicotine addiction is not the reason people smoke. Our entire population is addicted in some way to activities that are pleasurable to them. Physical dependency is no longer accepted as the definition of addiction.

Per "Addiction: The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something. An instance of this: had an addiction for fast cars."

If people smoked because they were addicted to nicotine, pharmaceutical cessation substitutes would be successful. Till the time insulting caffeine drinkers, chocolate lovers, those who drink alcohol, love gambling, motorcycles or racing cars becomes acceptable and they are also labeled as addicts, kindly refer to smokers with a little respect.

After all, smokers are your neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members.
Garnet Dawn - Illinois Smokers Rights -
The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter - - Respect Freedom of Choice!

Ban raises compliance issues
September 30, 2007

JOLIET -- Nicotine addicts aren't the only ones bracing for the looming statewide smoking ban.

Business people are burning up the Will County Health Department's phone lines with questions about compliance.

There has been a "huge increase' in the number of calls, said Cindy Jackson, program manager for the Will County Health Department's Tobacco, Control and Prevention department.

Staring Jan. 1, smoking will not be allowed in private businesses and workplaces. Restaurants, clubs, bars, casinos, offices -- you name it, they have to comply. Even church bingo and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings will be smoke free, Jackson said.

The No. 1 question concerns smoking shelters, Jackson said. For instance, both of Joliet's casinos plan to build outdoor smoking shelters.

"No one really knows what the process is yet," she said.

Joliet architect Bret Mitchell is trying to design a shelter for Harrah's, but it's practically impossible until the rules are set in place.

"We've come up with several designs," said Mitchell, who works for Buchar, Mitchell and Bajt Architects. "We are not being given any real guidance at this point."

Harrah's wants to heat and cool the area, but it has to have permeable walls to let smoke escape. The state hasn't defined what permeable means yet, Mitchell said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health drafted rules that were posted for public comment this week by the legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The rules probably won't be finalized for 60 to 90 days, leaving little time before the ban takes effect.

"It does put businesses at a disadvantage," said state Rep. Brent Hassert, R-Romeoville, who co-chairs the committee. "Springfield never moves at lightning speed. I understand the frustration."

Harrah's wants its shelter in place by the time the ban takes effect on Jan. 1, Mitchell said. The company may build a preliminary shelter and finish construction once the rules are set.

"This is uncharted territory, no one has been here before on this kind of thing," Mitchell said.

Jackson said businesses must be cautious to make sure the smoking shelters are for smoking only and employees aren't required to work in them.

"The shelters can't be like beer gardens because employees would have to work there," she explained.

Jackson is telling businesses to hold off on shelters until the state's rules are final. Once the rules are finalized, the health department will create a packet of information that will guide businesses toward ban compliance. The health department also will use advertising to get the word out.

Though the rules are in flux, Jackson said there are some aspects of the law that appear to be concrete.

She's telling business owners they have to:

• Remove all ashtrays and smoking paraphernalia from their businesses.

• Post signs on every entrance and exit that will inform costumers about the ban and where they can file a complaint if it's being violated. The signs have to be 5-by-7 inches in size.

• Enforce the ban and make sure any outdoor smoking is at least 15 feet away from a building.

• Communicate to all employees and job applicants that smoking is not allowed in the establishment.

Jackson said she gets a lot of calls from private club members that believe they are exempt from the ban.

"Private clubs have to follow the law, too," she said. "That's something a lot of people don't know."

Only a few entities are exempt, including private residences; retail tobacco shops, open prior to Jan. 1, 2008; and private rooms and semi-private rooms in nursing homes.

The Illinois Casino Gaming Commission is working to have casinos exempted from the law for five years or until neighboring state's casinos become smoke free. But so far, the effort hasn't paid off.

The Illinois Department of Public Health, local health departments and local law enforcement agencies will be enforcing the ban once it's in effect, Jackson said.

Fines for individuals who violate the ban will be not less than $100 for a first offense and $250 for subsequent violations. For business owners it will be not less than $250 for first violations, $500 for second violations and $2,500 for subsequent violations in the same calendar year.

Reporter Cindy Wojdyla Cain may be reached at (815) 729-6044 or at