Opposition To Smoking Bans Heats Up VI

By Norman E. Kjono, March 1, 2007

From the editorial board of Hawaii's Star Bulletin,  February 23, 2007, "Limit Smoking Ban to Enclosed Bars:"

 "HAWAII became part of a growing trend last year with a ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants. Some bar owners are defying the prohibition and calling for exemptions, but secondhand smoke has been shown to present a serious health hazard in enclosed areas. The ban inside bars should stand. However, smoking outside bars and in bars' open-air sections should be permitted." (Underline added.)

The above appears to be good news. A Hawaii newspaper is calling for a partial roll-back of the smoking ban imposed in that state. It appears that bars who are allowing smoking in defiance of the Hawaii smoking ban are having an impact. That's the good news. Now is the time for responsible bar owners to press the advantage they have created for themselves. Compromise at this time is a sure way for bar owners to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Hawaii bar owners are clearly making a difference because news papers are calling for changes to the statewide smoking ban.


Had Hawaii bar owners rolled over and accepted their fate-agreed to be assimilated by the tobacco control Borg-we can rest well assured of the fact that the Star Bulletin would not have recommended the above changes to the smoking ban. Resistance is not futile. The common sense approach is to continue the fight, while demanding that Rep. Meyer's bill be passed by the Hawaii legislature immediately.  


From the Hawaii Reporter, January 30, 2007, "Bill Reverses Hawaii's Smoking Ban In Bars, Nightclubs and Restaurants," by Rep. Colleen Meyer (R-Kaaawa): 


"Honolulu - I drafted and introduced Bill H.B. No. 792 in the Hawaii State House of Representatives to exempt bars, nightclubs, and restaurants from the complete ban on smoking, provided that exterior signage adequately warns the public that smoking is allowed within. I'm very concerned with the calls my office is receiving about the loss of revenue that small business owners are experiencing across the state since the statewide smoking ban went into affect in November. Many long time business establishments have closed in other states due to the passage of smoking ban legislation and hundreds of others are limping along with revenues 30 to 50 percent of what they were before the ban. This is really a piece of common sense legislation that would allow a choice for both business owners and their patrons. I was joined by Representatives Rida Cabanilla, Karen Awana, Tom Brower, Cindy Evans and Gene Ward in the signing of this bill. . . . 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."  


History Repeats Itself 


We need to consider a little history. We begin with the Star Bulletin's description of the Hawaii smoking ban. From the Star Bulletin, November 1, 2006, "Some Business Owners Say New Law Will Reduce Their Customer Base," by Nina Wu: 


Local bars, restaurants and cafes will have to adjust to a new law that bans smoking at those establishments beginning Nov. 16. The Hawaii Smoke-Free Law covers all restaurants and bars, including outdoor patios and lanais, along with public places, enclosed and partially enclosed. As Hawaii readies itself to become the 14th state in the nation with a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance, the new law drew both praise and ire from the Aloha state's bar and restaurant owners. Some said it was a step in the right direction, while others complained it would reduce the number of customers. . . . Ireland's Office of Tobacco Control cites figures from the hospitality industry showing no economic harm from its smoking bans in pubs. The success might be due to bar owners providing open-air smoking sections. . . Business that fail to comply with the law may be fined up to $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense, and up to $500 for each additional violation. Individual violators of the smoking law may be fined up to $50 plus court costs. The Health Department, as well as police, can enforce the new law. However, final approval of the Health Department's draft of administrative rules is still pending. . . . The Hawaii Restaurant Association, a nonprofit representing restaurant owners, holds no official position on the smoking ban. Individual restaurant and bar owners, however, had plenty of opinions. Bill Comerford, president of E&J Lounge Operating Co., which runs Kelley O'Neil's in Waikiki and O'Toole's Irish Pub downtown, estimated he would lose 60 percent of his regular customer base because of the smoking ban."


The Washington Restaurant Association (WRA) also took no official position on statewide smoking ban I-901 in 2005, other than to say that it would not oppose the ballot measure. WRA lobbyists forcefully stated at a meeting of the Entertainment Industry Coalition (EIC) opposing the ban that is would not consider examining or presenting any evidence concerning Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS). The lobbyist's statement was in response to my position as a speaker at that meeting that not only should ETS be addressed but that the case against tobacco control claims about it was reasonably winnable. The American Veterans, where that meeting was held, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, stood down on I-901, relying on the exemption for private clubs that was written into the text for that ballot measure. Philip Morris did not oppose I-901 and said on its Web site that is supported smoking bans.  Opposition to I-901 was reduced to the statement to the that "Smoking bans are Ok, I-901 is just too extreme."


Absent meaningful or substantive opposition by tobacco companies, the Washington Restaurant Association, and former members of the Entertainment Industry Coalition Washington's I-901 passed in November 2005. Then reality forcefully presented itself:


1. The "25 foot rule," which prohibits smoking within a "presumably safe distance" form any doorway or ventilation intake, in I-901 wiped out nearly all covered decks and outdoor areas restaurants had relied on to accommodate patrons who smoke. Similar expansions of the smoking ban that will predictably be advanced in Hawaii will do so as well. In other states the "presumably safe distance" for outdoor smoking has already been expanded to 75 feet by tobacco control. Hawaii bar owners should use a 75 foot tape measure to determine where outdoor smoking will predictably be "permitted" by tobacco control advocates on their business premises.  


2. Private clubs such as American Veterans, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars who stood down from opposing I-901 found that they were not exempt after all. It turns out that, not withstanding the express exemption for private clubs in the text of I-901, tobacco control advocates applied the new smoking ban to all private clubs under the interpretation that the ballot measure prohibited smoking in public places and places of employment. Similar deceptive tobacco control "bait and switches" have also been applied in Colorado and Ohio-in effect rewriting what voters approved after the fact. Such deceptive tobacco control bait and switch tactics will also be predictably employed in Hawaii.  


3. A Washington private club, the American Legion, that filed a lawsuit based exclusively on constitutional and property rights lost. While one can always hope, my lay person's view is that lawsuits that assert business losses as uncompensated takings, property rights, and constitutional rights while refusing the address the underlying fraud of tobacco control claims about Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) will now-predictably continue to fail. This is not to say those issues are unimportant. It is to say that so long as ETS is allowed to stand as a bona fide material health risk for nonsmokers-in flat defiance of authoritative and credible conclusions to the contrary (see: Opposition to Smoking Bans Heats Up)-public health will continue to trump alleged rights.   


4. Lawsuits based on constitutional issues have also lost in Colorado and Nevada. From the Star Bulletin, January 31, 2007, "Bars Sue to Stop Ban on Smoking,"   by Craig Gima: 


"The Hawaii Bar Owners Association is suing the state Department of Health over Hawaii's new smoking law, alleging that the measure is unconstitutional. The lawsuit, filed yesterday in state Circuit Court, seeks an order stopping enforcement of the law, which bans smoking in most public places including bars and nightclubs. It also bans smoking within 20 feet of the entrance or window of an establishment. 'I'm losing my business, that's why I have to do what I have to do to make my business go back up again,' said Lance Gomes, owner of the Pigskin Sports Bar on Kapiolani Boulevard. He supports the lawsuit. The suit alleges that since the enactment of the new law, bar owners have seen a dramatic loss in business, which amounts to a taking of private property rights without just compensation. It also says the law is unconstitutionally vague because it is not clear how it will be enforced. The lawsuit says it appears that a bar can still be fined if someone smokes in the 20-foot no-smoking zone outside the bar, even if the area is not part of the bar's property. It also questions why there are exceptions to the law for hotels, nursing homes and other facilities. Deborah Zysman, the director of a Coalition for a Tobacco-free Hawaii, said the law enjoys overwhelming support from the public. Hawaii is the 14th state to pass such a smoking ban, and no ban has been successfully challenged in any of the states, Zysman said. In rulings last week, a Nevada judge upheld enforcement of that state's smoking ban, but struck down a portion of the law that called for prison time for violators. It's not clear yet whether the ruling will be appealed." (Underline added.)  


5. After I-901 passed, a discernable shift in hospitality trade began to occur. Small, independent bars, taverns and restaurants began to report significant losses in revenue while state agencies reported stable or increasing hospitality revenues. This can only occur if some patrons who smoke increasingly refuse to go to restaurants and bars to can no longer accommodate them and the bar and tavern trade shifts from small independent businesses to large franchise chains that had already gone "Smoke Free" in their bar lounges. This is yet another "Bait and Switch" by tobacco control advocates: they hold out stable or modestly increasing hospitality trade tax revenues to "prove" smoking bans have no economic effect, while hiding the devastating negative effect that the bans have on small business. This phenomenon-that "smoke Free" large franchise chains enjoy increased profits while small bars and taverns experience dramatic revenue declines-explains why state restaurant associations consistently support or refuse to oppose state wide smoking bans. What hospitality trade revenues do small bars and taverns represent among the total revenues of all members, including large franchise chains? What is touted as a franchise chain's  "level playing field" becomes small mom and pop small business owners' financial sinkhole. Into that sinkhole go not only small business owners' current livelihoods but also retirement funds from sale of their business as its value declines. Both the claims about "no business impact" and the deceitful way that bar and tavern trade revenue statistics are reported are among the most callous and self-serving ruses ever perpetrated by tobacco control. The act of hiding the migration of revenues away from small business by focusing industry totals-including fast food establishments such as McDonalds that are "Smoke Free"-is a deliberate decision to hide negative economic impact on small business and to thereby efficiently dispose of bars and taverns so effected. Tobacco control advocacy has advanced far from genuine public health to become a competitive mercantile weapon for Big Business. This phenomenon will also predictably continue in Hawaii. 


6. Both during the temporary 2004 smoking ban in Pierce County, Washington (that county ban was overturned by our state superior, appeals, and supreme courts) and after I-901 passed casino trade patrons and their dollars rapidly migrated for taxpaying nontribal private casinos to tax-exempt and smoking-ban-exempt tribal venues. That pattern continues to this day. In Washington Native American tribes are experiencing record tax-exempt gaming  revenues while nontribal casinos contend with decreased revenue trends. This not only hurts nontribal businesses but it also reduces tax revenues to the state, as well as contributions to unemployment and workman's compensation funds. To the extent that Hawaii has native hospitality trade establishments that are exempt from smoking bans this revenue migration will predictably occur. 


7. Immediately after Washington's I-901 passed tobacco control advocates with the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health applied the smoking ban to outdoor bus shelters. The county also began to aggressively expand the smoking ban to private apartment residences, despite the fact that private residences were expressly excluded from the definition of "public places" in I-901. I wrote about that in Politics, Housing, and Tobacco Control  posted to Forces.org January 18, 2007. This is another "Bait and Switch" by tobacco control to include places that are expressly exempt form smoking bans in ban enforcement. Once entrenched in bars, taverns, restaurants and other hospitality establishments the Hawaii smoking ban will predictably expand to more outdoor areas and private residences, too.  


8. As such events occur a supportive press predictably continues to promote the latest tobacco control Social Marketing sound bites. Examples in the above Star Bulletin article are that "the law enjoys overwhelming support from the public" and the more recent statement that "no ban has been successfully challenged in any of the states." Lost in the blare of Social Marketing sound bites is the fact that no citizen-whether smoker or nonsmokers-can afford to support  


The material point of the preceding is that tobacco control is an ever-expanding private, special-interest agenda that currently enjoys support from political and Big Business powers that be. It should also be clearly evident that no Hawaii bar owner's interests are safe so long as tobacco control runs its agenda unfettered.  


Recent history, as written on the pages of other states' experience, says that private clubs, bar and tavern owners, and small, independent restaurant proprietors are an endangered species under the auspices of Big Business, Big Tobacco and Big Pharmaceutical tobacco control. Tobacco control will predictably continue to expand its self-serving mandates. Those hospitality venues are therefore at risk for their existence until tobacco control is brought to its well-deserved end. Until tobacco control has been brought to an end it will predictably continue with its "Bait and Switch," deceptive tactics that fragment opposition into divisive interest groups and have served it so well to date.  


The message to Hawaii bar and tavern owners is as simple as it is brief: "You are in a fight for your survival now, even if you win an exemption today you will still lose in the long run." It seems to me that common sense would dictate winning a fight for one's livelihood and business interests today. 


As to the statement by tobacco control advocate Deborah Zysman in the Star Bulletin article above, no ban has been successfully challenged in any of the states, there is a simple response. To date, no smoking ban in any state has been challenged in court based on the totality of facts relevant to tobacco control. Those facts include the truth about Environmental Tobacco Smoke, hidden agendas and funding behind smoking ban advocacy, use of smoking ban advocacy employed as a mercantile weapon for unfair competition,  the role of Big Tobacco in advancing smoking bans and why, and numerous "Bait and Switch" tactics employed by tobacco control to deceive voters into supporting their special-interest agenda.  


We certainly have diversity of states and sufficient economic damages to work with. Plus, considering the players in and beneficiaries of the tobacco control agenda, deep pockets resplendently abound. There is a compelling need to address this increasingly-damaging special-interest agenda. Perhaps that will be possible in time to give Hawaii bars owners a boost. When the dust over tobacco control finally settles in a federal court room I suspect that Ms. Zysman's bravado statement, "No ban has been successfully challenged in any of the states," will ring about as hollow as George H.W. Bush's proclamation now a few years ago to "Bring it on." 


We'll get there. The tobacco control agenda has now existed for so long that it cannot get what it wants without revealing itself for what it truly is and always has been. Based on the discussion above it should be clear that the tobacco control agenda and the motives of its proponents are now transparent.  


What's Going on in Ohio

From the Columbus Dispatch, February 28, 2007, "Tempers Flare at Hearing on Ohio's Smoking Ban,"  by James Nash: 

A last-ditch fight against the state's antismoking law became so heated yesterday that two proponents of the law left a hearing early for their own safety. The State Highway Patrol advised the two American Cancer Society representatives to leave the Ohio Department of Health hearing because of threats from some in the crowd, said Wendy Simpkins, spokeswoman for the society. With just weeks remaining before businesses face penalties for violating Ohio's new statewide smoking ban, dozens of smokers and business owners fought yesterday to throw out all or part of the law. The president of the Buckeye Liquor Permit Holders Association told the health department that depriving patrons of the right to smoke in bars ultimately would deprive bar owners of their property by forcing them out of business, which would usurp their property rights. And a parade of other business owners and smokers said the ban tramples on basic freedoms. . . . Opponents of the smoking ban won't get far with arguments that it infringes on private-property rights or religious freedom, said Micah Berman, executive director of the Tobacco Public Policy Center at the Capital University Law School. 'Despite many creative arguments, some of which have been rehashed this morning, no antismoking law has been struck down as unconstitutional in court,' Berman said. 'I am fully confident that Ohio's smoke-free workplace act will survive any legal challenges.'"


I would like Ms. Simpkins' statement to be verified by the Ohio State highway Patrol. Perhaps what she said could be true, however whether true or false that statement raises deeply troubling issues:


1. If True: since when was it acceptable public policy in any state in this nation that a private advocacy group (the American Cancer Society) and a private foundation (the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) are allowed an unfettered right to pursue their own mercantile interests, to the point where those whose rights they increasingly restrict  respond in that fashion?


2. If False, or not completely true as stated: Ms. Simpkins' statement is fundamentally dangerous to all residents of the State of Ohio. Her statement becomes a pretense "crack down" on the "malcontents." And crack down they will, once they have created a Social Marketing excuse to do so.


Either way, Democracy, civil behavior, and the rule of just law have been unredeemably tainted by the conduct of tobacco control advocates and their political supporters in Ohio. Tobacco control has managed to reveal itself for what it truly is and always has been: a monopolistic enterprise that consumes citizens and small business without regard for the harm, hardship, and damage that it imposes. Common sense said that hearing would have been adjourned, the evidence presented by those testifying at earnestly reviewed, and the hearing reconvened when cooler heads prevail. Few things infuriate the people more than observing a tawdry spectacle where common folks' legitimate interests are studiously ignored while multi-billion-dollar special-interests are allowed to pick their pockets in broad daylight with impunity.  


Prior experience-in addition to that cited in the section about Hawaii above-also says that next will come American Cancer Society and tobacco control advocate retaliation against those who spoke out against their agenda. I began my efforts opposing smoking bans in 1994. At the time the Washington passed its smoking ban in office work environments. I provided extensive information about secondhand smoke and the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) system installed at out company to the Washington Department of Labor and industries in June 1994. I was featured in an article by Seattle Times Columnist Don Hannula, Speaking Out On Behalf Of Public Enemy No. 1 . I later wrote a special to the Seattle Times,  Taxpayers Footing The Bill To Help Anti-Tobacco Lobby Push Its Regulation Agenda. Shortly thereafter, I received a call from a free lance writer who wanted to do an article about me for what is now the Seattle Weekly. I agreed. The article (link no longer available but hard copy retained) falsely quoted me-a Viet Nam vet-as saying this would become Mi Lai (a massacre) if it did not end. The American Cancer Society falsely characterized me to the writer as a "Front for Big Tobacco" (copy of disclosed tape recording of my conversation with ACS staff about that characterization retained). The net result being one who voiced opposition to a smoking ban and had actual onsite, data about ETS already delivered to a state agency was publicly vilified in a feature article with a front page headline "Outlaw Smokers." I sent a copy of the tape recording and a sworn affidavit to the American Cancer Society the day after the telephone conversation. No response was received. The American Cancer Society materially aided in that public vilification of me and refused to comment after doing so. 


The interesting thing about those unseemly events is that during a hearing before a state body in 1994 people form the American Cancer Society also expressed concern about the hostility of the meeting, and claimed that the Washington State Patrol recommended that they leave for reasons of personal safety. Shortly thereafter I was vilified in a press report that cited a now-infamous massacre by U.S. troops in Viet Nam.   


The message in that prior experience-and now-predictable behavior-to the good folks in Ohio who attended the public hearing earlier this week is: "Be careful, watch your back." Better yet, I recommend that members of the Ohio opposition immediately contact the Ohio State Highway Patrol, make a public information request for the names of each person from that agency who was assigned to the hearing, request written confirmation that such a recommendation was in fact made to ACS person, and request the name of the officer who made the recommendation. Failing such confirmation in writing from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ms. Simkins' self-serving statement that intentionally and negatively labels smoking ban opponents as violent malcontents stands as false. Should that be the case I suggest as a layman I strongly suggest the Ohio group contact a tort attorney.  


A Difference of Views 


Smoking ban opponents in Hawaii now stand labeled as violent malcontents, according to a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. The evidence provided to me by members of the Ohio opposition who attended and/or that hearing strongly suggests that Ms. Simpkins is either greatly exaggerating or outright lying. The facts will ultimately speak for themselves. Examples of comments by the Ohio group about that meeting are: 


Subject: Re:
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 09:45:12 +0000

"My wife and I did attend. We arrived about 9:15 we were among the first to enter the auditorium. Debi, found me just before the meeting, and I met Caroline (Firecracker) during the first break of the morning.

 By the time the meeting was called to order there was a little more than 100 people in the room.

I submitted my written comments along with 221 Protest letters collected from the patrons of the restaurant.

During the course of the day there were about a dozen health professionals representing various groups, and municipalities that had offered their Pro-ban comments.

All other comments were from individual business owners, or liquor license holders and similar organizations.

There was about 45 individuals that offered comments in total. 


I honestly had to bite my tongue a couple of times when some of the health professionals made their comments. I don't know how they can say some of this stuff with a straight face.


I was the last person to offer comment at about 3:30.

All in all it was realtively well run, but I have to believe that this was all for show.

The ODH held this meeting because they were required to and for no other reason.

From: Deborah Kistner
To: (Recipient list deleted)
Subject: 10tv
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 12:10:05 +0000

so kids I was just watching the news, here is what they just said:


The D oH rules meeting yesterday was very heated, and two members of the ACS left early because they feared for their safety.


I was there, that statement is unbelievable to me.




-----Original Message-----
From: James Nash [mailto:jnash@dispatch.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 12:20 PM
To: DKIS5398@cs.com
Subject: RE: doh meeting 2/27



I was surprised too, as I didn't see anyone aggressively approach the American Cancer Society officials. (There were some disparaging comments about Tracy Sabetta and the society, but that doesn't rise to a threat.)


The Cancer Society officials say there was an anonymous threat relayed by the troopers to them at one point during the meeting, so they chose to leave early. I did see them get up and depart about 45 minutes before the meeting adjourned.


-----Original Message-----

From: DKIS5398@cs.com [mailto:DKIS5398@cs.com]

Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 2:21 PM

To: James Nash

Subject: doh meeting 2/27


Mr. Nash-


I have a question? Were the ACS people at the same meeting I was yesterday?  They feared for their safety?


As someone who was there from 945 a.m. until 245 p.m. I am appaled that your newspaper would even print that.


But then again, this whole Issue has been reported one-sided from day one!


Deborah Kistner

(Phone Number Deleted)


Readers can decide for themselves. I believe the fact that-to my personal, firsthand knowledge-the American Cancer Society has engaged in similar tactics before is very important. As things stand now, Ohio smoking ban opponents have been negatively labeled in print and on TV news as violently dangerous. What they do about that from here is, of course, their choice. It does bear consideration, however, that negative labels are crafted and applied to be used by those who fling them.  


An Imbalanced Equation 


"Exploiting one part for the benefit of another cannot, therefore, be a strategy in systems without weakening and ultimately destroying the whole. In the short term, dominator methods can seem successful, but in the long term they fail. They're ignorant of how things got to be the way they are because of the workings of systems. System imbalances must be righted, or system ills go uncorrected. Imbalances make problems multiply, until systems fail,  and we with them." (Underline added.)


Excerpted from "The Mystic Heart of Justice,"  Chrysalis Books

Denise Breton and Stephen Lehman, Pages 99 - 103

Reprinted By Permission of Chrysalis Books


 Mr. Berman stands arrogantly supreme in Ohio in his confidence that millions of dollars in legal fees committed to imposing and defending smoking bans by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have created a an unbreakable legal code. Politicians sit comfortably in state legislatures on the taxpayer's nickel. Tobacco control advocates-both those employed by states and others with private advocacy groups-perceive no threat to their salaries, health care plans, or pensions. And state budgets continue spilling millions each year in funding for tobacco control advocacy to keep the political machinery well-greased with consumer's, taxpayer's, and small business owner's money. Notably, all participants on the proponent's side of this issue stand to line their pockets and their enhance careers by ensuring that the Ohio smoking ban is sustained, whatever the cost.  And those who do so know they will automatically be listened to as credible authorities by compliant council members and legislators who have similar stakes in assuring the ban "sticks." They have lawyers available on demand at no personal cost. In short, what we observe in Ohio is the devastating consequences that a multi-billion-dollar per year special-interest infrastructure that has been created for the express purpose to deny one the choice to lawfully consume a legal product can impose.  

In stark contrast, those opposing the ban are by and large individual consumers and small business owners who do not have a nationwide advocacy infrastructure at their instant disposal, fund their efforts from their own resources, and most often must divert their efforts from earning a livelihood to prepare for the hearing and go to testify before their elected representatives. If they win the smoking ban fight they must return to earning a living in their normal lives and attempt to recover the costs the battle has imposed on them. If they lose they must do the same things, but many will also face reduced future revenue and restricted ability to establish and maintain a clientele. If they can find an attorney to ably represent them they will bear the costs of representation. There is no billion-plus foundation covering their back side, there is billion-plus no advocacy group that speaks for them, there is no grant to be had or pension waiting to sustain them, and it is clear to me from The Dispatch's report that their concerns are not even considered with the courtesy and respect that they merit.  


Events in Ohio yesterday were a frightful repeat of those at a public hearing in Colorado last week (see Opposition to Smoking Bans Heats Up IV). Bar, tavern and restaurant owners, plus private clubs, face the same risks imposed by smoking bans in Ohio as their hospitality trade colleagues in Colorado, Hawaii, and Washington (see Opposition to Smoking Bans Heats Up V). The bottom line is the caustic contempt that tobacco control advocates and their political supporters have for persons who smoke has now publicly spilled over into the same cavalier disregard for earnest due process as well as the legitimate interests of small business owners and private clubs. It's a spectacle that is at once unseemly in its appearance, tawdry as to its application, and frightening for all who respect civil discourse based on recognition of legitimate interests.  


Mr. Berman, We Have News for You! 


No, Mr. Berman, no responsible citizen in their right mind would accept today the premise that smoking bans are about legitimate public health measures. We merely need to observe the callous disregard for genuine Indoor Air Quality regulation that tobacco control imposes to understand that. Moreover, when normal folks observe pig-headed, potentially violence-inspiring entrenchment of tobacco control in a rigid, no-compromise agenda they understand that something more hidden in the background is at stake. We need only observe tobacco control's  current behavior to understand that what is at stake here is the power to mandate and the dollars to be garnered by doing so.  


The smoking ban may be perfectly legal by today's precedent, but is it just? Challenging what is perfect legal but manifestly unjust is how new precedent is established. You may preserve the ban for now, but what have you preserved? Manipulation of law to support special-interests may work in the short term but it also weakens our public governance in a way that affects us all.  


There is a point were responsible, hardworking taxpayers find it necessary to step up to the plate to protect their legitimate interests. By doing so they become those responsible citizens who stand to duty to protect everyone's rights, rather than conforming to negative labels as violent malcontents.  


The news, Mr. Berman, is that dominator systems always, predictably and with certainty fail. They do so because they thrive in the short term by exploiting one part of free market trade for the express and intended benefit to another. Accordingly, in due course dominator systems such as tobacco control fail because they self-implode on the contradictions, deceptions, and misrepresentations required to sustain them. 


Dare we hope that the American Cancer Society put tobacco control on the slippery slope in Ohio? 


Norman E. Kjono

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