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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ohio voters misled by smoking ban

It appears Ohio voters were misled when they voted YES for their statewide smoking ban. Sure is a sad way for the Ohio govt to call all of their residents "SUCKERS! THERE ARE REALLY NO EXEMPTIONS!"

At least the residents in IL weren't misled by our smoking ban. It's just that the folks in Springfield don't believe in giving exemptions to anyone.

ARTICLE: OHIO VOTERS MISLED BY SMOKING BAN


Ohio Voters Misled When They Voted for Smoking Ban; Ohio Senator Introduces Common Sense Bill

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- On Nov. 7, 2006, Ohio voters passed Issue 5, Ohio's smoking ban, which included exemptions for private clubs and family-owned businesses. Over a year later, no private clubs are exempt and no family-owned businesses are exempt as far as we know. Ohio citizens have serious concerns about Issue 5 and an apparent concerted effort by special-interests to mislead Ohio voters.

Ballot Language: What voters read when they cast their vote for Issue 5 was "Exempt from the smoking restrictions ... outdoor patios, private clubs, and family-owned and operated places of business". The ballot measure language did not define "family-owned and operated". A letter dated Nov. 28, 2007 by Ohio Department of Health Director Alvin Jackson states, "Although the entire length of the initiative could not appear on the ballot itself due to space limitations, the exact and complete wording was available in the newspapers and on the websites of the Secretary of State, your county boards of elections, and the initiating organization. The definition is intended to exclude those businesses that operate from the home, have little contact with the public, and only employ family members, thereby limiting exposure to second-hand smoke". There was no definition on the ballot and that missing definition was intended to exclude businesses that operate from the home? Six words would have clarified that virtually no family-owned business would be exempt. Was it really a space issue? Ohioans who did not subscribe to newspapers or have Internet service depended on reading the true language when they voted, not a watered down version that misrepresented the facts.

Explanation and Argument for Issue 5 -- Surgeon General Carmona's Report: Those who could access the Secretary of State's website saw five bullet items in the Explanation and Argument for Issue 5 from the U.S. Surgeon General's Report. After the five bullet items, it then summarized "For these reasons...urge a YES vote on Issue 5." The fact is Issue 5 was based solely on Surgeon General Carmona's report. Issue 5 petition language was certified April 2005. The Surgeon General's Report wasn't issued until June 2006. FORCES, Inc., a non-profit educational corporation dedicated to scientific research integrity, has filed a complaint with the Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity against Surgeon General Carmona's report. The complaint alleges the "deplorable act of scientific misconduct on the part of the U.S. Surgeon General" and the "conscious use of fraudulent epidemiologic studies by that Office, with the intent of sustaining statements and policies that are just as fraudulent as the underlying epidemiologic studies adduced as justification." "People need to be able to confidently rely on experts, such as the Surgeon General. That's what makes this such a serious matter," said Stephanie Stahl, President of Forces, Inc. "The report fails to relate dose with SHS/ETS. Biological metabolism is virtually ignored. Confounders, such as socio-economic status, are also belittled. The surveys used to collect data are very vague, imprecise and unreliable. We hope the ORI will conduct a full investigation soon."

The fifth bullet item in the Explanation and Argument -- "Smoke-free policies do not harm business" -- is also from Carmona's report. This statement is an already proven lie. The smoking ban in Ohio is hurting businesses. During the first 12 months of the smoking ban 5,400 jobs were lost in the hospitality and leisure industry. Permit holders lost a potential of $67.44 million in 2007 sales. One large beer distributor reports a 5 percent decline in sales. The coin machine industry is down 25 to 35 percent in liquor pouring establishments. The trickle down affect includes the loss of income to musicians, karaoke vendors, snack vendors and more. Families invested their money and their lives into owning their piece of the American Dream. After Issue 5, if they can sell their businesses it's for a fraction of the money, blood, sweat and tears they've invested. Due to loss of revenues, private clubs are no longer able to support charities at previous levels. "If the economic studies in Carmona's report are any indication of the credibility and validity of the remainder of his report, I don't wonder that a complaint has been filed" said Debi Kistner, Opponents of Ohio Bans. Dr. Jackson's Nov. 28, 2007 letter closed concluding smoke-free benefits to Ohio "outweigh the need for some business adjustments." Adjustments should not mean reducing business income 25 to 35 percent, nor should it include closing businesses. A question to Dr. Jackson would be, "What other health laws have been imposed by more than $2.6 million of private special-interest pharmaceutical support?" $2.1 million (80 percent) of that sum was contributed by the American Cancer Society and its divisions. The Society receives direct financial support for its smoking ban advocacy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which as of Dec. 31, 2007 owned $3.0 billion in common stock of NicoDerm CQ patch manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

American Cancer Society spokesperson Tracy Sabetta will once again display her Karmak the Magnificent skills, to proclaim the intent of voters about Issue 5. Like most psychics, however, she accomplishes her feats of legerdemain through misdirection from reality. Even many who support smoking bans acknowledge that, "Qualifying an initiative for the statewide ballot is thus no longer a measure of general citizen interest as it is a test of general fundraising ability," as quoted in a recent Yale Law School scholarship paper. Prowess at raising special-interest funding must not be substituted for the genuine will of the people. Ms. Sabetta will, no doubt, retort with her now famous line that Ohio voters "overwhelmingly" voted for Issue 5. Ohio voters voted for a ban with exemptions. They voted to have private clubs and family-owned businesses exempted. The smoking ban we have now does not represent what the voters approved nor does it represent the will of the people.

Issue 5 was fraught with misleading and missing language and was based on a report against which serious allegations of scientific misconduct have been alleged. If Carmona's report wasn't released until 14 months after the petition certification, what proof of necessity was given for enacting such restrictive legislation? No evidence was provided to the Ohio Attorney General to show whether or not the declarations made within the text of the Issue 5 petition were fair or truthful as the law requires.

Although Opponents of Ohio Bans believes that all private business owners should be allowed to make their own policies on smoking, several Ohio Senators have seen the devastating damage to family-owned businesses and private clubs and agree that at least they should be spared from this all too restrictive law. Senator Robert Schuler-R has introduced SB 346 to again exempt private clubs and family-owned businesses, as the law passed in November, 2006 stated by clearly defining "family-owned business." The bill is co-sponsored by 12 other senators. "We're extremely grateful that Senator Schuler and the other co-sponsors have introduced this legislation. Family-owned businesses and private clubs can finally get some financial relief. It's too bad that so many families have already lost their businesses or have lost such large amounts of money that nothing can be done to make it up to them. At least this bill will prevent further financial devastation to family owned businesses and private clubs," said Pam Parker, Opponents of Ohio Bans.

Those who have been affected by Ohio's smoking ban are being asked to write their respective Senators and State Representatives and ask that they support SB 346.

Related Web site: www.opponentsofohiobans.com

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