Friday, January 05, 2007

Tavern League of Minnesota Announces Opposition to Statewide Smoking Ban

The Tavern League of Minnesota
235 Roselawn Ave East
Suite 17
Maplewood, MN 55117

For Immediate Release
Tavern League Announces Opposition to Statewide Smoking Ban
January 5, 2007

The Tavern League of Minnesota has adopted a position in opposition to a statewide smoking ban for the 2007 legislative session. The members of the league have drafted this statement:

Prohibition did not work the first time, and it’s not working now (as evidenced by the nearly 100 closed bars and restaurants and lost jobs in the metro area since local smoking bans took effect). Our business is "hospitality." It is our best interest to make all patrons comfortable. Modern air treatment makes this easier than ever before. The free market offers everyone choices.

Smoking bans have little to do with public health. If the issue were truly public health, banning all tobacco or air quality standards would be the subjects of legislation. Smoking bans do not hurt "big tobacco" or make people quit smoking; they hurt small business owners, our employees and customers. They divide communities and waste resources while a quarter of the population continues to smoke.

The lessons learned from the existing local prohibitions and the chaos that followed in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington is clear evidence that smoking bans are a failure. They cost jobs, wages, revenues and businesses, with no improved health benefits.

Some owners now suffering financial losses under local smoking bans mistakenly think a statewide ban would provide a "level playing field" and cause the return of some of their lost business. Unfortunately subjecting owners across the state to this economic disadvantage will not help. There will always be noncompliance, a nearby casino or a border. Smoking and non-smoking patrons will frequent establishments less often and for shorter durations.

Minnesota’s elected officials have real issues to address. A state wide smoking ban isn’t one of them.

Tavern League of Minnesota
Communications Director
Sue Jeffers

Charles Senkler

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