New York City Considers Extending Smoking Ban to Parks, Beaches
New York, New York September 16, 2009 – The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association today announced it is joining forces with opponents of the proposal to extend New York City's smoking ban to include the city's parks and beaches.
Dr. Thomas A. Farley, New York City's health commissioner since early June, proposed the broad-reaching ban last week as part of a tobacco-free strategy that would affect more than 1,700 parks, playground and recreational facilities, in addition to the city's seven beaches and 14 miles of shoreline. It would also increase local, state and federal taxes on tobacco, and urge businesses to reject financing and sponsorship from the tobacco industry.
"It is clear that Dr. Farley likes to manipulate human behavior and tell people what they can and cannot do. Now, only a few months into his new job, he's trying to manage the behavior of smokers and legitimate businesses even beyond the inordinately high levels of control he inherited. Someone ought to tell him about the constitution and the rights we have as individuals," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.
The IPCPR is comprised of some 2,000 members, including owners of retail cigar stores and manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars and related accoutrements.
"Our members are small businesses, mostly mom-and-pop operations that employ thousands of people. We pay local, state, federal and payroll taxes. Our customers enjoy premium cigars like most people enjoy fine wine. The more you limit the places you can enjoy a good cigar, the quicker you put us out of business and eliminate all those jobs and the taxes they generate," McCalla said.
McCalla cited a Federal Reserve study that showed how smoking bans have proven to be economic dampeners.
"An Illinois smoking ban in casinos saw a decline in casino revenues of 21 percent while neighboring state casinos – all without smoking bans – had revenues stay flat or make slight gains even during a slowing economy," he said.
"The myths surrounding secondhand smoke – especially that which one might encounter in an outdoor environment - have played on the ignorance and gullibility of the public. Even the Surgeon General's report says the health effects of secondhand smoke are inconclusive. And that was indoors!
"To those of you who don't appreciate the cultured aroma of a fine cigar, what else don't you like the smell of – wet dogs and cheap perfume? Are you going to ban them next?" he asked.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009