Smoking Bans

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Governor Kulongoski Signs Smoking Ban Into Law

By Chris Lehman

SALEM, OR 2007-06-26 With a stroke of his pen, Governor Ted Kulongoski Tuesday made it against the law to smoke in all bars and restaurants in Oregon.

The ban leaves smoke shops and Indian casinos as the only indoor public places where smoking is allowed. The bill also creates a 10-foot smoke-free zone outside the doors of public places.

Democratic Senator Ginny Burdick of Portland called it a great day for public health in Oregon.

Ginny Burdick: “We have 35,000 workers now who will be protected in their workplaces. People should not have to choose between their health and their job.”

Smokers will have some time to adjust to the new rules. The ban doesn’t take effect until January 2009.

A similar law has been in effect for over a year in Washington. Numbers published earlier this month by the state show an increase in revenue at bars and restaurants, and a decrease in profit at non-tribal casinos in Washington, where smoking is banned.

Diehard Smokers Ready To Fight Ban

Hardened smokers have said they are ready to go to court rather than obey the smoking ban in public places in England.

Illegal smokers will face finesEngland is now officially a smoke-free zone after the introduction of a ban making it illegal to light up in enclosed public places came into force at 6am on Sunday morning.

Tony Blows, landlord of The Dog Inn in Ewys Harold, near Hereford, and a member of pressure group Freedom2Choose said the legislation was based on a “pack of lies”.

Freedom2Choose claims that many of its 3,000 members, including licensees and social club owners, could refuse to quit their habit in enclosed public areas.

The group launched a legal challenge on human rights grounds at the High Court on Friday in a attempt to “fight against injustice and erosion of freedom and personal liberties”.

Mr Blows said: “I’m doing it for the simple reason that this is my home. My wife and I work 200 hours a week in this pub.

“It’s private property and there’s no way they can stop us doing it.

“As long as we abide by licensing laws we are not doing anything wrong.

“Pubs have been smoking for goodness knows how long and you just can’t do that. It’s been brought in on the back of a pack of lies – passive smoking. There’s no proof whatsoever that second-hand smoking kills.”

England is the final part of the UK to introduce a ban, after Wales and Northern Ireland in April and Scotland last March. The Irish Republic made the move three years ago.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson hailed the ban as a big step towards a healthier population.

He said: “Only by tackling the causes of illnesses will we be able to improve health inequalities and save lives.”

Owners and managers of pubs, clubs and cafes are legally bound to enforce the ban, and face fines of up to £2,500 if they fail to do so.

Anyone caught smoking illegally will be given a fixed penalty notice of £50 – reduced to £30 if paid in 15 days – or fined up to £200 if they are prosecuted and convicted by a court.

One of the world’s leading experts on the effect of tobacco has estimated the ban could prevent up to half a million deaths a year.

Professor Sir Richard Peto made the forecast based on the experience of the Irish Republic, where cigarette sales fell by around 17% after the ban was introduced.

A similar trend in England could lead to 1.5 million people quitting smoking, he explained.

Smoke free at midnight?
Anchorage bars will try to ease patrons into the new era

What: A ban on smoking in all public indoor spaces, including bars, bingo halls, VFW posts, licensed home day cares and outdoor sports arenas.

When: 12:01 a.m. Sunday – in other words, tonight. What if a business ignores the law? Guy on the bar stool beside you puffing away? Complain at service.muni.org/cs or 343-4200. The Department of Health and Human Services will send the business up to two warning letters, and if that fails, will dispatch a health inspector.

What’s the penalty? Light up indoors and face a fine of at least $100 and as high as $500. The business can be fined that too. Police won’t be out trolling for offenders, said Lt. Paul Honeman, APD spokesman. Sometimes cops wander through bars to check on things, and if they see someone smoking, they’ll probably give a warning to start with, Honeman said. Health inspectors won’t be out in force either, said DHHS director Beverly Wooley: “We have a limited staff, and we are really pretty much complaint driven.”

Where can you smoke outside? Walk at least 5 feet outside the bar’s entrance before lighting up. However, the law says a smoker must be a “reasonable distance” from any enclosed space. Translation: If second-hand smoke is wafting into a building, you need to back farther away.

There’s also no smoking within 20 feet of municipal buildings, or 50 feet of hospitals and medical centers.

Can you smoke on patios? Maybe. The ordinance seems to allow it but doesn’t say what qualifies as a patio or deck. So the health department will probably decide that on a case-by-case basis. Some bars, including Chilkoot Charlie’s, want a wintertime outdoor heated tent that will provide some shelter to smokers. “As long as no employees are exposed to second-hand smoke by serving in the tent,” said Laura “Star” Martin, a Koot’s spokeswoman. “We … are trying to find that common ground.”

What will happen tonight? At midnight tonight – as the nightlife scene hits its party peak – bartenders and bouncers will call for clear air and collect ash trays. At least, some of them will. In truth, how the ban comes down depends on the bar. Some will go smoke-free early. Others will wait until Sunday’s business day.

Here’s a sample of what some on the scene had to say:

We pull the ashtrays off the table and do an announcement that you can’t smoke anymore. I think it will be fine. It’s hard for me to say what’s going to happen. Different marketplaces have said there’s as much as a 25 percent drop-off in bingo so we’re just kind of waiting and seeing what’s going to happen.

– Erin Jackson-Hill, assistant to the owner at Tudor Road Bingo Center Casino

Because we’re slower earlier in the night, probably around 9 o’clock or 10 o’clock, we’re going to pull our ashtrays and let people know there’s no smoking as of that time. Because at midnight we’re going to be pretty packed. So we’ll just let people know at the door that as of right now, there’s no more smoking at the bar.

– Tony Lopez, general manager of the Avenue Bar

We’ll inform people (at midnight) that the smoking ban went into effect, and they have to step outside to smoke where there’s a new wooden bench and ashtrays. We’re not going to get heavy-handed the first night because this is a drastic change after 26 years at Darwin’s.

– Darwin Biwer, owner of Darwin’s Theory

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