November 29, 2011 (Indianapolis, IN) —The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association says the Indiana prohibitionists who want to pass a more stringent statewide smoking ban are blind to the jobs- and business-killing repercussions such a ban would have throughout the state.
“Our position hasn’t changed: business owners have the right to decide the smoking policies of their own establishments. When the government tells them what to do, it is going too far. Legislated smoking bans are a product of the ‘Nanny State’ and put businesses at risk, jobs in jeopardy, hurt local economies, and leave consumers with no choices,” said Bill Spann, CEO of the IPCPR.
Spann said he was speaking on behalf of the more than 2,000 tobacconists who are members of the IPCPR and own neighborhood cigar stores, as well as their customers and the 85,000 Americans employed by the manufacturers, distributors and retailers of premium tobacco products.
“Legislated smoking bans run contrary to the individual rights upon which the United States was built,” Spann said. “Besides that, jobs and businesses are at stake with such draconian smoking bans.”
Spann cited a Federal Reserve Bank report that used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to officially note the negative impact on businesses and jobs that such bans can have on local and statewide economies. He also referred to Indiana’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, which showed that banning smoking in casinos and horse racing establishments could cost the state about $190 million annually.
“If a smoking ban in gambling establishments could negatively impact those businesses, it could easily hurt other adult-oriented businesses, like bars. And since when should veterans and other members of fraternal clubs be denied their enjoyment of premium tobacco products like hand-made cigars and pipe tobaccos?” he asked.
“Why any legislature would let itself become preoccupied with such non-productive measures, is beyond reason. Instead, legislators should be finding ways to create more jobs and raise more tax revenues by boosting Indiana’s economy in a more business-friendly environment, instead of tearing it down,” Spann said.
“Finally, when prohibitionists say smoking bans are necessary to limit exposure to secondhand smoke, it should be known that the American Cancer Society, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington and others have shown that the federal government’s permissible exposure limits are up to 25,000 times higher than levels for components of secondhand smoke normally found in bars and restaurants that permit smoking.
“For all these reasons, we urge Indiana residents to insist that their state legislators devote their time and energies to creating new jobs and a better business environment to sustain them instead of wasting it on unnecessary jobs-killing legislative proposals,” Spann said.