Another Smoker's Club International forum member here (http://www.smokersclubinc.com
- who ALSO, (finally), has now gained access to this site! (Whew, sorry, it really is not so "user friendly.") But I AM Glad to be here to greet you all - old friends, and new!
Here in New Jersey, our total ban went into effect on "Good" Friday! It was HURRIED through the state legislature in the last days of our "interim" Governor's tenure. (An UNelected Governor who also happens to be, obviously, "overweight")
Our Restaurant Association was FUMING - because lawmakers were ramming the legislation through during the "high" season of their holiday business - which made it difficult for hospitality business owners to drive to the State capitol and submit comments of protest.
There is no provision, under NJ's state laws, for a "referendum vote" - i.e., a way to bring the issue before the public. So the main "squawk" from restauranteurs was: "You're planning to allow smoking in Atlantic City casinos, but NOT private businesses? How is this equitable?" A group of businessmen filed suit in District Court, attempting to get a "stay" on the ban - unfortunately, it failed.
(Apparently, keeping the proceeds "coming" from the Legislatures' lucrative pension investments in the AC Casinos, was more valuable to preserve than the rights of businessmen who were trying to earn a living!)
I read NJ's proposed Bill - it relied TOTALLY upon the "no ban (business) damage" studies of Stanton Glantz (California) and his VicHealth cohorts in Australia. I asked myself, "What do the temperate climates of California and Australia have in common with the sub-freezing winters of New Jersey?" Answer: (of course) NOTHING! But try to tell the legislature - or even the local press - that. They didn't want to hear it! After all, public officials are elected by "majorities" whereas personal rights are better preserved by the concerns of "minorities."
It seems apparent that the ANTIS got to the state reps before the minority CITIZENS, who were about to be banished from all public venues, could even get a word in edgewise!
I sent lengthy letters to my state reps - revealing background info on the "sources" for those studies which the legislature was given to justify that that NJ's hospitality businesses would "not" suffer loss. (Pointing out the various flaws in how the "studies" were made.) I also sent my reps a copy of the "independent" study which was contracted by the restaurant and tavern association in New York - which showed huge losses over the course of the first 10 months of NY's total ban. The result? MY reps "abstained" on the ban vote!
Small victory, indeed, but I'm thinking, if the public had just been given more time, the outcry would have been greater; and the outcome, might have been different.
But this is how the antis work - in STEALTH. I think we need to start "pre-managing" their lobbying tactics - by providing information to the legislators of the NEXT State to be targeted by these "nannies." The kind of good and "balanced" information offered by this site!
Moreover, I am humbly hoping to offer any help I can to organize and/or fund LEGAL CHALLENGES to the bans now in place. Thirteen U.S. states have now made them law - perhaps we can start pushing back soon, so that "13" becomes their "Waterloo"? I'm ready to join that fight!
Yours in Solidarity!