According to a recent Minnesota legislative poll, there is NOT widespread support for a strict statewide smoking ban
The results are found at this website, and are as follows:1. Do you support House File 305, the smoking ban bill?49.27% Yes47.97% No2.76% Don’t know
2. Should the smoking ban apply to bars as well as restaurants?47.60% Yes51.59% No0.80% Don’t know
3. Do you feel private clubs should be exempted from a smoking ban?54.74% Yes41.51% No3.75% Don’t know
4. Should local governments be allowed to pass a stricter ban than state law?42.68% Yes53.74% No3.58% Don’t know Official results found here: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/survey/hf305.aspPerhaps after seeing 107 of their favorite bars and restaurants close in the Twin Cities, the general public is beginning to feel that such bans are onerous and unfair. Now let's see if lawmakers will listen to their constituents, and / or the facts which prove that secondhand smoke is up to 25,000 times SAFER than OSHA workplace air quality regulations.
"Ventilation not Legislation" is an amendment we can all live with
Smoking bans have shut down 100 + bars and restaurants in the Twin Cities after barely 18 months. But a ventilation / filtration amendment to smoking bans offer a safe alternative. Filtration and ventilation options are the manner in which welding smoke is eliminated in the workplace where strict OSHA air quality standards must be met. And it is the manner in which secondhand smoke.....which is far, far less hazardous.....should also be regulated; not banned.On November 15, 2005 when the Hennepin County Minnesota Commission decided to explore amending the smoking ban that has devastated so many establishments. Testimony was given by one individual who claimed to be a mechanical ventilation expert, hired incidentally by the smoking ban proponents. After his testimony claiming there was no way to ventilate secondhand smoke, Commissioner Penny Steele asked a great question:
"Isn't indoor charcoal and wood-fired grilling a popular trend in bars & restaurants these days?....and isn't inhaling those fumes indoors potentially deadly? " (note how similar charcoal, wood, and tobacco smoke are as far as hazards....in fact wood and charcoal contain far more hazardous chemicals)Expert reply: "....um, yeah"Commissioner Steele: "Well, why isn't anybody dying in the restaurants from the cooking smoke?"Expert: "Because they have special ventilation....."Steele: "Couldn't establishment owners use a similar type of ventilation to also render secondhand smoke harmless?"Expert: "uh, well, I suppose they could......."And thus the above exchange killed this "expert's" testimony, along with the rationale for smoking bans altogether.
I have engineered many Smokeeter ventilation systems to establishments over 15 years to solve secondhand smoke issues. And our primary design criteria is first to provide 10 - 15 air changes per hour of Smokeeter filtration. Which means the entire room is completely filtered every 4 - 6 minutes, and contrary to pro-smoking ban activists' claims is no where near tornado-like winds. Secondly, I insist on using electronic air filtration systems on tobacco smoke even though we also handle other types of filtration systems, because electronic air cleaner filtration removes the smallest possible airborne particles 0.01 microns.And my selling point always was that our equipment will meet or exceed all OSHA air quality standards when the customer purchases a system designed for 10 -15 air changes per hour. This guarantee is backed by the factory warranty as well, but truth be told we in the field didn't always have access to testing equipment to back the claim on every job. That is the reason I bring up the St. Louis Park, MN. Environmental Health Department air quality test results for secondhand smoke. The city inadvertently proved our claims for us.
Consider:The Smokeeter models Crystal-Aire & LS are installed above the ceiling, and direct smoke away from the non-smoking area. Keeping smokers and non-smokers safely accomodated.T.G.I. Friday's in SLP has 2 Smokeeter Crystal Aire systems pictured above in place, and the test results measuring secondhand smoke levels, when smoking was allowed, exceeded OSHA air quality standards by a factor of 68........68 times safer than OSHA guidelines...... show me the public health problem there. Click here for data.Applebee's in SLP has 2 Smokeeter LS systems pictured above in place, and the test results measuring secondhand smoke levels, when smoking was allowed, exceeded OSHA air quality standards by a factor of 152........152 times safer than OSHA guidelines...... show me the public health problem there. Click here for data.Santorini's in SLP has 1 Smokeeter Crystal Aire systems pictured above in place, and the test results measuring secondhand smoke levels, when smoking was allowed, exceeded OSHA air quality standards by a factor of 174........174 times safer than OSHA guidelines...... show me the public health problem there. Click here for data.So I again express my gratitude to the St. Louis Park Environmental Health Department, they have inadvertently provided testing that proves for our customers and to lawmakers everywhere what we have always known to be true....you just can't buy advertising like that.At the very least, the above information proves that a ventilation amendment should be part of any smoking ban ordinance......though common sense and air quality facts tell us that smoking bans are an unnecessary intrusion into private bussinesses to begin with.Update: The American Cancer Society air quality testing of secondhand smoke proves ETS is 532 - 25,000 times SAFER than OSHA regulations.When writing a ventilation amendment into law, these are the important points to include:1) "ventilation/filtration option will segregate smoking area from non-smoking" (I have engineered many systems over the years which drive smoke away from non-smoking section/ walls are an even more effective means of separation)
2) "this system needs to provide a minimum of 10 air changes per hour" (filtration of the interior room every 6 minutes at a minimum)
3) "the filtration system is to be independent of the existing HVAC" (typical HVAC merely recirculates up to 80% of interior air without filtration; an exception could be made for an HVAC system with a highly efficient electro-static precipitator (ESP) filtration system)
4) " ESP filtration is the most effective particulate removal system because it is very effective in removing particles as small as 0.01 microns"
(Ventilation equipment is allowed in the industrial workplace to remove welding smoke, why not in the hospitality workplace to remove tobacco smoke? The fact that Nicoderm, Nicorette, Nicotrol, money via RWJF is used to finance smoking ban lobbyists is the likely reason......it's all about making money not concern for health)
Let's Clear the Air about air quality testing and secondhand smoke
One of the current modus operandi of the pro-smoking ban movement is to conduct PM 2.5 (micron) air quality particle testing in newly mandated non-smoking establishments.....this is a highly misleading method which the media seems eager to publish. Here are some facts to consider before believing this dishonest and disingenuous PM 2.5 AQ data.Air quality testing of specific secondhand smoke components like nicotine is the proper way to conduct AQ testing, but because such factual AQ testing shows that there is no health hazard (see American Cancer Society test results link ) , the pro-smoking ban activists have concluded that factual and scientific air quality testing is the last thing they want to do......it doesn't support their agenda.
So now all pro-smoking ban activists use the PM 2.5 particle size measurement method. PM 2.5 is a designation by the EPA referring to particles sized at 2.5 microns.http://www.epa.gov/pmdesignations/Particles measured at 2.5 microns do not differentiate what type airborne dust particles are in the air, it could be clothing dust, saw dust, chalk dust, machine coolant mist, dead skin cells etc. etc. This type of AQ testing can IN NO WAY determine if a health hazard exists, because it does not determine what is in the air..... in a recent study dead skin cells were found to make up the greatest percentage of airborne pollution.
Airborne Dead Skin Cells
Human skin is constantly regenerating, and in the process a single person will shed billions of dead skin cells each day. About 80% of the visible airborne particles in a room (for example highlighted in a ray of sunshine) is comprised of dead skin cells. These dead skin cells contain bacteria, and can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Therefore, remove a large percentage of people from an establishment by passing smoking bans and you will also remove up to 80% of the airborne pollution from the PM 2.5 micron range. As this testing data by the pro-smoking ban Minnesota organization MPAAT/ClearWay MN proved:
(click to enlarge)Further to note, this particle chart (below) from the American Society of Industrial Hygiene which lists arborne pollutants by their particle sizes, shows that AQ testing of PM 2.5 (microns) doesn't measure for the full spectrum of secondhand smoke components.
(click to enlarge)
link to particle chart:
http://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/2007/01/airborne-particle-chart-from-american.htmlI hope that journalists, lawmakers, and the general public begin to see through the dishonest and misleading tactics being used by the pro-smoking ban activists. The fact that activists are now using these questionable tactics even though they are familiar with sound scientific methods, shows that they will resort to any and all underhanded means to accomplish their agenda.......facts and science be damned.
Update: Correct AQ testing method for secondhand smoke.
Anti-smoking groups look to drug giants for funding
CanWest News service
Monday, January 22, 2007
OTTAWA - The Canadian Cancer Society is about to publish an update to its guide that helps smokers who want to quit.
It cost $75,000 to redevelop the popular book One Step at a Time, but the national charity didn't have to worry about the price. That's because it asked Pfizer Canada, the country's largest maker of nicotine replacement therapy products, to pay the cost.
Pharmaceutical giants are some of the top financial contributors to groups such as the Lung Association, Canadian Cancer Society, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, and other groups.
However, anti-smoking charities, non-profit groups and other organizations rarely trumpet those relationships or the fact they receive large donations, research grants and sponsorships from the makers of drugs they often promote.
"When it comes to characterizing a disease or talking about a treatment, many times it sounds like they're speaking with the voice of their funder," said Alan Cassels, a drug-policy researcher at the University of Victoria.
Charities say financial contributions from pharmaceutical companies are accepted only with a strict "no-strings attached" policy. With limited disclosure and unclear rules, however, it's difficult for consumers to know how drug companies are involved with such groups and what influence they may have.
For Dr. Jerome Kassirer, professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine and editor-in-chief emeritus of the New England Journal of Medicine, the issue is simple: consumers have no way of knowing whether they are listening to a sales pitch from a drug company that's disguised as advice from a charity.
"Would the pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars a year if they didn't think it was valuable? Of course not," he said.
© The Edmonton Journal 2007The story above is is found online here:http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/story.html?id=1b2a817a-3260-4ebf-b25b-85a4ddbbd700Why would any lawmaker continue to listen to any of these pro-smoking ban groups, now that it has been revealed that their agenda is financed by pharmaceutical nicotine interests. Smoking bans are merely a surreptitious pharmaceutical marketing plan.
Pharmaceutical company caught lobbying lawmakers for a law to benefit its business interests, backs down to spare its public image
Merck is a Johnson & Johnson partner company which has been lobbying lawmakers to mandate the use of their new product Gardasil. Recently Merck decided to stop this questionable practice.The company said it made the decision after re-evaluating its lobbying program, which has generated fierce debate with some religious organizations saying it could encourage promiscuity and parents groups questioning the need for such a widespread vaccination program.It would be nice to see the Johnson & Johnson Company learn that lesson. A drug company which lobbies lawmakers to mandate the use of their alternative nicotine products by funding smoking ban efforts via the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is no less offensive. It is dishonest, deceiptful, and borders on racketeering as far as I'm concerned.......I hope the media and lawmakers wake up to this disgusting practice before it's too late.
Bars with Ventilation Could Dodge Smoking Ban
The above title and story is taken from "My Fox News" KMSP TV channel 9. The (Minnesota) Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs made amendments to the proposed smoking ban Monday. The change would allow bars with ventilation systems to clear out cigarette smoke to escape a statewide ban.I did happen to be present during the afore-mentioned Minnesota Senate Committee hearing which passed the ventilation amendment.While I think this amendment will help create an appearance of compromise on the part of lawmakers.........I don't think pro-smoking ban advocates have anything to fear in allowing this amendment to pass. The costs associated with these filtration / ventilation upgrades may make the option of going smoke-free look much more attractive to establishment owners.Clearing the Air will keep a watchful eye on this amendment which may do little more than help soften the appearance of lawmakers' rigid stance on the smoking ban debate.
Smoking bans: good public policy? Or simply a great pharmaceutical marketing plan?
To the average non-smoker as I am, it might appear that the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Americans for Non-Smoker's Rights, the American Medical Association, countless research Universities around the country, etc. are lobbying our politicians for smoking bans for health reasons.
However, upon some preliminary investigation it is clear that these NGO's are backed by $446,000,000.00 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) which has direct ties to the Johnson & Johnson Company, and J & J is the manufacturer of Nicoderm & Nicoderm CQ via its wholly owned subsidiary ALZA. Recently, the buyout of Pfizer Consumer Health(see page 4 or 61) means J & J profits even more from the passage of smoking bans thru additional sales of Nicotrol, Nicorette, Commit, (see pgs 32,33,56) and any other over the counter smoking cessation drugs once manufactured by Pfizer Consumer Health division.
*Update, recent 1st quarter '08 profits at Johnson & Johnson are up 40% (link). Looks the the rent seeking legislation (smoking bans) are working exactly as planned.The data supplied to these NGO's and subsequently our politicians should be viewed as highly dubious at best, since it comes from the largest manufacturer of pharmaceutical nicotine products which benefits by selling their alternative nicotine products like Nicoderm, Nicoderm CQ, Nicotrol, etc. when tobacco nicotine use is prohibited via smoking bans.
About McNeil Consumer Healthcare products
For whatever reason our local lawmakers seem to ignore the conflict of interest, if they know about it at all. I am curious if some of these local lawmakers receive campaign support from any or all of these special interests........Are local media outlets, or attorneys general interested in investigating? We'll see.
Here are some links to financial grants from the Nicoderm people at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to:
Recipient: American Medical Assoc. $88,000,000.00 http://replay.web.archive.org/20070927173004/http://www.rwjf.org/reports/npreports/smokeless.htm
was http://www.rwjf.org/reports/npreports/smokeless.htm before RWJF removed from their current website
Recipient: American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association $99,000,000.00
to American Lung Association:
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids received $84,000,000.00 from Nicoderm interests at RWJF:
(the number of grants from Nicoderm / RWJF to CTFK are too numerous to list here)
Recipient: numerous research universities around the country
Government air quality testing of secondhand smoke (is secondhand smoke really harmful?):
The American Cancer Society air quality testing proves secondhand smoke is up to 25,000 times safer than OSHA indoor air quality regulations for secondhand smoke:
In this special report out of Washington DC by the Center for Public Integrity, we've found an interesting bit of information:
...the pharmaceutical industry has mounted a sophisticated grassroots campaign to build support for its position on key issues that affect its bottom line. The industry has funded various groups to champion its positions, sponsored studies tilted to the industry and hired public relations firms to spearhead campaigns to soften up public opinion and government policies....
Update: J & J spent $1.5 million lobbying Obama White House for healthcare laws that will increase their profits.......just as smoking bans have.
Very important foot note, smoking bans have closed thousands of bars and restaurants eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs, more information at this hyperlink:
Comedian's take on the issue:
http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001020 (Peer reviewed and published excerpts):
report on the scope of relationships between these tax-exempt foundations and for-profit corporations including major food and pharmaceutical companies.
As another instance, which may reflect aligning interests (conflicts of interest), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has played a leading role in promoting anti-tobacco products and maintains Smoking Cessation Leadership Centers and programs, although its endowment is mainly invested in Johnson & Johnson, a leading manufacturer of cessation products, and some board members have been represented on both the Foundation and the company's boards.
Evidence suggests 3M has been looking into nicotine delivery methods as a possible new market:
The Minnesota State Representative who authored the smoking ban bill has simutaneously authored a bill to legalize the smoking of marijuana
No hypocrisy there....nosireeIt reminds me of the smoking ban effort in 2005 when the smoking ban author at the capitol said he would exempt the tobacco shops. The lawmaker stated he was not concerned about the health of tobacco shop employees because they knew they were engaged in a job which allowed smoking........but mysteriously the bar & restaurant worker didn't know his or her employer allowed smoking?....yeah right.Truth is stranger than fiction. Minnesota Representative Tom Huntley authored a bill to legalize smoking marijuana, while he simultaneously authors a bill to ban smoking tobacco. The hypocrisy of liberal lawmakers knows no bounds.
Secondhand smoke should be regulated not banned
The nationwide trend of implementing a ban on secondhand smoke is justified, say activists, to protect the health of workers. The hypocrisy and inconsistency however, is that every other workplace air quality issue is regulated by OSHA standards, rather than banned. And since smoking bans destroy hospitality businesses in record numbers , air quality regulation is a less destructive method to safeguard the health and welfare of employees and patrons.Whether it be welding or plasma smoke exposure in factories, diesel smoke exhaust in tunnels or on truck loading docks, ozone produced from copying machines in offices, etc. OSHA regulates all these air quality issues to safeguard the health and safety of employees in all workplaces. So why be inconsistent regarding secondhand smoke which is far less hazardous than welding or plasma smoke for example?
Regarding the claim, by pharmaceutical nicotine funded interests , that OSHA doesn't have a permissible exposure limit for secondhand smoke components, the OSHA table is linked below for your research:http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9992In the OSHA table you'll find a safe permissible exposure limit for thousands of individual components, pick the individual component you want to measure in secondhand smoke, and there is an OSHA safe limit for it. OSHA permissible exposure limits are the safe level of exposure for an 8 hour day / 40 hour per week time period.
Some OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) examples of components in secondhand smoke:
Nicotine safe level of exposure (PEL) is 0.5 mg per cubic meter
arsenic safe level of exposure (PEL) is 0.3 mg per cu. meter
benzene safe level of exposure (PEL) is 10 parts per million (ppm)
formaldehyde safe level of exposure (PEL) is 0.75 ppm
acetone safe level of exposure (PEL) is 2400 mg per cu. meter
The method above is how OSHA regulates employee exposure to welding smoke as well, there is no OSHA permissible limit for "welding smoke", secondhand smoke, wood smoke, or any other composite pollutant of two or more chemicals. OSHA is much more scientific and precise than that......each chemical component of an indoor air pollution source must be measured independently to determine if a health hazard exists.
Arbitrarily declaring that secondhand smoke is a health hazard without conducting any air quality testing is simply a matter of opinion with no basis in science or fact. If we start passing laws based on flawed data we get flawed laws, laws which when finally scrutinized under the microscope of science cannot and will not hold up to a challenge.
Minnesota lawmakers need to stop following the herd of fear-mongering states that have gone before. Minnesota needs to declare that we have a more competent science based community that has conducted air quality testing, and instead of falling for the rhetoric of 16 other states who tell us all that the earth is flat.......we will conduct scientific air quality analysis to determine the facts. Which is a much more preferred method of implementing laws as opposed to giving credence only to partisan funded special interest groups.When will lawmakers wise up to this secondhand smoke is hazardous hoax. Air quality testing across the globe proves that secondhand smoke is actually 2.6 - 25,000 times SAFER than occupational (OSHA) workplace regulations:http://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/2007/11/johns-hopkins-air-quality-testing-of.htmlhttp://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/2007/04/bmj-published-air-quality-test-results.htmlhttp://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/2004/04/american-cancer-society-test-results.htmlhttp://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/2006/02/air-quality-testing-and-secondhand.html
Does smoking ban promoter the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation profit from sales of products which cause cancer?
The parent company and founder of the Robert Wood Johnson Founadtion is accused by this American Cancer Society blog and the EPA of manufacturing and selling a child care product which is linked to causing cancer.
That parent company and founder is the Johnson & Johnson Company, who manufactures a household product, Johnson's Kids Shampoo Watermelon Explosion, which contains 1,4-dioxane. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls this chemical, already known to cause cancer in animals, a probable human carcinogen.
From the Cancer Society weblog comes this statement:
Cancer is not the only risky link to children's bath products. It seems these items are also linked to early puberty development. And this is concerning because a fast-paced growth rate combined with children's porous skin increases susceptibility to toxins that can enter the bloodstream. One breast cancer expert says an increase in breast cancer risk is linked to toxic exposures during the formative years of life.
The irony of course is that the Robert Wood Johnson Founadtion (RWJF) funds nearly all smoking ban lobbying efforts to "protect" us from health hazards.......yet the fact of the matter is that RWJF profits from product sales which may directly contribute to an increase in cancer rates among children. RWJF also profits from sales of alternative nicotine products like Nicoderm, manufactured by the Johnson & Johnson Company (ALZA), demand for which increases after the passage of tobacco nicotine smoking bans.
RWJF is the single largest individual shareholder of Johnson & Johnson Company stock, an estimated $5.4 billion holding.
Wisconsin lawmaker who supports free market choices receives public threat by activist group
This website appears to be a front a group which advertises all sorts of alternative nicotine products, it seems little wonder then that they support efforts to ban tobacco nicotine use. Including efforts to intimidate lawmakers who don't support their agenda.
That's how you sell "outdoor smoke shacks" and "self treatment to quit smoking" products listed on their webpage.
The veiled threat to Representative Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) is not so veiled. And is a blatant attempt to threaten lawmakers who refuse to perpetuate the lie that secondhand smoke is the deadliest substance known to mankind.
Even as new environmental health department and American Cancer Society air quality testing of secondhand smoke prove that exposure levels are actually 15 - 25,000 times SAFER than OSHA permissible exposure limits, found here:http://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/2006/11/is-secondhand-smoke-health-hazard.htmlThen again, it is well documented that the lies to lawmakers about health hazard claims of secondhand smoke have always been perpetuated by big money interests, with no crediblity or interest in fact or science
Hawaii lawmaker introduces bill to repeal smoking ban
Hawaii's smoking ban is relatively new, yet there is significant backing to repeal the ban.Lawmakers are citing a Supreme Court ruling that determined that private businesses are not public.A U.S. Supreme court decision during the early 1970's ((Lloyd Corp v. Tanner, 407 U.S. 551 (1992)) said a place of business does not become public property because the public is invited in. So, by that same reasoning. A restaurant or bar is not public property. We need to support small business and stop regulating them out of business.” One of the consistent justifications to pass a smoking ban is for lawmakers to claim that bars and restaurants are "public places".........a Supreme Court ruling however, provides significant clout when arguing case law. And as for the other argument of "protecting employee health", OSHA is the workplace authority which monitors hazards on the job. And air quality monitoring of secondhand smoke has proven that measured levels are 15 - 25,000 times SAFER than OSHA Standards CFR 29 for secondhand smoke components.Clearing the Air will be keeping an eye on the success of this repeal......and providing help on the ventilation / OSHA aspect of the issue.
Smoking bans are good for business
If your business is selling foreclosed homes of displaced employees.
This was, until recently, our home.......back in the days when free markets were allowed to operate freely.
I wonder if the realtor will disclose the mold problem in the basement office?Oh, and then there is that minor matter of no final inspection after I installed the deck
.What will make this sale even more difficult is that 2 blocks away is a new home development which just started construction of 400 new single family homes......Smoking bans are good for........?
According to a Minnesota Senate report, the tribal casinos cannot be exempt from a statewide smoking ban
The full Minnesota Senate report is found here, and states:Do state ..... laws apply on American Indian reservations?To the extent that state law is "prohibitory" as opposed to "regulatory," it applies to American Indian reservations under the operation of Public Law No. 280, which provides Minnesota with the authority to enforce criminal and prohibitory law on American Indian reservations,[I]f the intent of a state law is generally to prohibit certain conduct, it falls within Pub.L. 280's grant of criminal jurisdiction, but if the state law generally permits the conduct at issue, subject to regulation, it must be classified as civil/regulatory and does not authorize its enforcement on an Indian Reservation. The shorthand test is whether the conduct at issue violates the state's public policy.The smoking ban law is generally to prohibit certain conduct specifically to prohibit smoking. Therefore, for fair and equal treatment under the law, the tribal casinos cannot be exempt from a statewide smoking ban.If however, DFL leadership does want to exempt the tribal casinos from a statewide smoking ban, then lawmakers need to rewite the smoking ban bill to be a regulatory law instead of prohibitory. A regulatory smoking ban law would allow for air quality testing and monitoring to ensure that secondhand smoke levels are within air quality safety standards. Regulatory monitoring is the manner in which welding smoke is dealt with in the workplace, and it is the manner in which secondhand smoke should also be controlled. OSHA has a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for all the components of secondhand smoke, which can easily be measured to determine if the hospitality workplace is within compliance. The fact that lawmwkers have never proposed a ban on welding smoke indicates that OSHA regulatory air quality standards are a safe acceptable method for dealing with air quality issues in the workplace. A regulatory smoking ban is the only manner of ban that will exempt the tribal casinos. On the other hand, a prohibitory smoking ban which exempts the tribal casinos will surely be challenged and ruled as unequal treatment under the law in court.
Are Minnesota lawmakers exempting tribal casinos from a proposed statewide smoking ban to fulfill campaign funding promises?
Democratic party leaders stutter and stammer when confronted with this lack of consistency regarding protecting the health of all hospitality workers. Exempting tribal casinos from a statewide smoking ban, seems to be an admission by lawmakers that they realize secondhand smoke is not the health hazard that the non-profit activists claim. When confronted on the obvious fact that the tribal casinos are exempt from the proposed statewide smoking ban, DFL smoking ban proponents claim that as sovereign nations, the tribal casinos are exempt from state law. Yet that explanation seems to contradict state law found here:To the extent that state law is "prohibitory" as opposed to "regulatory," it applies to American Indian reservations under the operation of Public Law No. 280, which provides Minnesota with the authority to enforce criminal and prohibitory law on American Indian reservationsThe Minnesota Environmental Law goes on to say:[I]f the intent of a state law is generally to prohibit certain conduct, it falls within Pub.L. 280's grant of criminal jurisdictionNow feel free to correct me if I'm wrong but isn't a statewide smoking ban a law that prohibits a certain conduct; ie. smoking in an establishment where workers are exposed to secondhand smoke?But former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Steve Sviggum points to another possible reason for the DFL endorsed smoking ban to exempt Indian casinos. From the Bemidji Pioneer Sviggum writes:Under this proposal — which is being pushed by Democrats — tribal casinos would be exempt from following this statewide mandate. Oddly enough, Minnesota tribes are among the largest campaign contributors to Democratic lawmakers. According to a recent campaign finance report, Minnesota tribes put more than $1.2 million in the DFL’s campaign coffers through contributions and disbursements during the last election cycle. Not surprisingly, they are allowed to maintain their smoking privileges under this plan.So if Minnesota lawmakers are going to be consistent in their concern for the health and welfare of all hospitality workers, while also proving to residents of Minnesota that they are not pawns to the tribal Indian casinos, then the casinos should not be exempt from a statewide smoking ban. Public Law No. 280 clearly shows that the Indian casinos are subject to the same prohibitory laws that the rest of Minnesota residents are.The alternative is to make the smoking ban regulatory which would not apply to the tribal casinos. A regulatory law would subject bars and restaurants to regular OSHA air quality monitoring of secondhand smoke; just like we do in our manufacturing facilities where employees are protected from welding smoke using OSHA standards.
Clearing the Air provides testimony in the MN House regarding air quality, secondhand smoke, and OSHA standards
You can follow the coverage here.
Note the smoking ban's author, Rep. Huntley, in the background of the photo.
Writer Don Davis politely states:
Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth thinks about testimony being delivered Thursday by Mark Wernimont, an air-handling engineer who opposes a statewide smoking ban.
My guess is that Rep. Huntley was actually thinking about how to rid the testimony of yours truly, rather than actually giving thoughtful consideration to the air quality testing of secondhand smoke conducted by a local environmental health department and the American Cancer Society.
Especially since those test results proved secondhand smoke is 15 - 25,000 times SAFER than OSHA Standards CFR 29. It's very odd that facts and air quality testing apparently have no place in an air quality issue.