State: More Than 15,000 Smoking Complaints So Far

State: More Than 15,000 Smoking Complaints So Far

POSTED: 10:45 am EDT April 12, 2007

CINCINNATI -- When Ohio's smoking ban rules go into effect later this
month or early next month, the state expects its enforcement arm to
be busy on the first day.

News 5's John London said that since December, the state has received
more than 15,000 official complaints about smoking in public places
such as bars and restaurants.

The law that bans smoking has been in effect since December, but no
tickets or fines have been issued because the rules for enforcing the
law were still being worked on.

Officials told London that they now expect the rules to be completed
by the end of April, well ahead of an early June deadline.

Previous Stories:
March 8, 2007: Reds Ban Smoking At GABP
January 31, 2007: Local Restaurant Owner Gets Warning Letter About
Smoking Ban
January 30, 2007: Smoking Ban Still Hazy
January 16, 2007: State Begins Looking At Comments On Smoking Ban
January 10, 2007: Want To Sound Off On Smoking Ban Rules? Better
December 15, 2006: Smoking Ban Causes Heartburn For Some Restaurants
December 7, 2006: Liquor Group President: Agreement Stops Smoking
December 6, 2006: Lawsuit Won't Block Ohio Workplace Smoking Ban
December 4, 2006: Impending Smoking Ban Will Have Far-Reaching
November 8, 2006: Pub Owner Worries Smoking Ban Will Hurt Business
November 2, 2006: Leaders Point To Smoking's Financial Effect
September 28, 2006: Competing Anti-Smoking Issues Cloud Ballot

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April 09 @ 11:46:31 EDT
Some firms and organizations say they make far less a year after the law took effect. But lawmakers say benefits are worth the cost.

By Edward Colimore
Inquirer Staff Writer

Playdrome Woodcrest owner Jon Perper (standing) talks with a customer. "We immediately saw a dramatic hit in the bar part of our business" in Cherry Hill's Woodcrest Shopping Center, Perper said.

Jon Perper says he'll close his Woodcrest bowling center in June and knows of about 10 other New Jersey centers expected to follow.

Deborah Dowdell, president of the New Jersey Restaurant Association, says hundreds of restaurants, bars and taverns have seen sales decline, by as much as 50 percent; others have closed in the last year.

Meanwhile, many veterans' posts, fraternal organizations, billiard parlors, and charitable bingo and raffle groups have watched their take drop.

A year after the state's indoor public smoking ban went into effect, employers and organizations across New Jersey are complaining that their business has gone up in smoke.

Smoking customers - especially from Pennsylvania - are staying home or taking their patronage to Philadelphia's suburbs, where there is no ban, business owners say. Indoor public smoking also is prohibited in Philadelphia.

But New Jersey lawmakers said they had seen little if any negative effect in the state and are unlikely to adjust the ban, unless it is to eliminate the exemption for casinos.

"The Legislature would have to see data before it would be prepared to subject people to the health risks of indoor smoke," said Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr. (D., Burlington), a physician and sponsor of the ban. "It would be a very tough road to travel."

Another sponsor, Sen. John Adler (D., Camden), said similar smoking restrictions had worked in New York and California with no economic disruption. A ban is being considered in Pennsylvania.

"There is no reason it won't work in New Jersey," Adler said. "People have to adjust their personal habits to abide by the law."

The law's first year "has been almost entirely good," he added. "It's hard to quantify lives saved and illnesses avoided."

Many business owners, however, say they have had no trouble quantifying financial losses.

"We immediately saw a dramatic hit in the bar part of our business," Finnigan's, said Perper, 52, as he sat in an empty Finnigan's in Cherry Hill's Woodcrest Shopping Center. "This was like Cheers. People would come here after work and watch the bowling" through a big window behind the bar.

"But business dropped off 20 percent compared to the same time the year before. I also saw a 10 percent drop in open play at night. I knew what it was immediately. . . . The smoking law has improved the environment in the bowling centers unfortunately at the cost of doing business."

Perper, chairman of the political action committee for the 35-member New Jersey Bowling Proprietors Association, said his losses and slim profit margin had forced his decision to close the center, which his father opened in 1960.

He plans to sell the liquor license and concentrate on reshaping his Playdrome on Kings Highway in Cherry Hill into a family entertainment center with bowling, billiards, and rides and other attractions for children, he said. He also owns bowling centers in Pennsville, N.J., where the landlord has helped by lowering the rent, and in Devon and Allentown.

His centers in New Jersey "have a high customer base from Pennsylvania, where there is no smoking ban," said Perper, who said he had lost about $500,000 in gross revenue at the Cherry Hill and Woodcrest locations in the last year. "If we had smoking and Pennsylvania didn't, they would be flocking over here."

While the law exempts casinos, Atlantic City has taken measures that are soon expected to require 75 percent of the gambling floors to be smoke-free. Some New Jersey legislators, including Adler, also have sponsored legislation to eliminate the casino exemption.

Adler, Conaway, and other ban proponents, including the American Cancer Society and the Summit-based New Jersey GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution), argue that the health benefits far outweigh any inconveniences. In New Jersey, an estimated 2,000 people die of secondhand smoke each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

While having benefits, the Legislature's action also has disadvantages, according to the state hospitality industry, which brought in $3.9 billion last year.

Dowdell, of the New Jersey Restaurant Association, which represents 1,200 members, said hundreds of the state's 23,000 eating and drinking establishments had been hurt.

While many others reported no financial impact or even a slight increase in sales, business at places depending more heavily on liquor sales dropped "anywhere from 5 to 50 percent," Dowdell said.

Among them is the traditional corner tavern, "where people would go to smoke, meet friends and have a burger," she said. "Now they're saying, 'If I can't smoke, I'll buy a six-pack and have a cookout at home.' . . .

"You can't unring the bell. For some, the damage is done."

Eleanore Travia, former owner of Illusions, a go-go bar in Florence, knows firsthand. After the number of customers declined precipitously, she closed her doors Feb. 1 and put the business up for sale.

"My business was down 65 percent on April 16 last year - the day after the law went into effect - and it never came back," said Travia, 64, whose family owned the bar since the 1950s.

"I had a friendly neighborhood place. To hell with these people," she said, referring to smoking-ban supporters. "My $40,000 in sales tax is gone. I had 15 employees regularly and 150 dancers over the course of the year. Does New Jersey care they don't have jobs? They don't care. I would have stayed another 15 years, but now I'm done with New Jersey."

Organizations that depend on games to raise money also have been hit. Attendance at bingo games in the state has dropped 25 percent to 30 percent, said William Yorke, a regulatory compliance consultant and retired executive director of the state's Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission.

"The typical bingo player is a smoker," said Yorke, vice president of product development for Continental State Fair Bingo in Belleville, N.J., which provides bingo supplies and instant raffle tickets.

As a lobbyist for the bowling centers, Dennis M. Culnan Sr. tried to persuade legislators to allow the construction of ventilated smoking rooms, such as those in New York and Maryland.

He sent a bowling shoe to every lawmaker to make a point: Bowlers can't go outside to smoke because their leather-bottom shoes can get damp and become slip-and-fall hazards when they return to the hardwood lanes.

"That problem - over liability - makes the bowling centers unique," Culnan said.

Jon Kroljic, general manager and vice president of Perper's Woodcrest Playdrome, said he'd be sorry to leave the business where he has had so many pleasant memories.

"It's been home to me. Everybody knows your name here," he said. "You don't feel like a stranger."

Bowler Henry Baldyga, 82, of Voorhees, was the first customer to cast a ball down an alley at the Woodcrest bowling center - and he plans to be the last.

"I bowled at other places over the years, but this was the best," he said. "I'm very disappointed."


Why should one more drop of our soldiers blood be spilled on foreign soil? Why fight/die for 'freedom' anymore when our citizens are pissing it away at the voting booth?


'I used to have compassion, but they taxed it and legislated it out of existence.'
Smoking Ban Causes Heartburn For Some Restaurants
Others Worry About Summer When Ban Is Enforced
POSTED: 3:48 pm EST December 15, 2006
CINCINNATI -- Lunchtime on Fridays is typically the busiest time of the week at the Sports Page restaurants.

"Right about now, we'd be packed and I wouldn't be standing here right now. I'd be working on the floor or waiting on customers," owner James Paskal said.

But not this Friday.
Today, these downtown favorites were half empty, and Paskal said it's been this way since the state's smoking ban took effect Dec. 7, even though it won't be enforced until July.

"I would say at least 30 percent, maybe more. Yesterday was really bad," he said. "We've had customers tell us

I got the ok to use this article - not written by me.

Walter Williams Phony Science and Policy
Apr 13 2007 12:00AM
The junk science of yesteryear.

Many Americans find tobacco smoke to be a nuisance. Some find the
odor offensive, and others have allergies or asthma that can be
aggravated by smoking in their presence. There's little question that
tobacco smoke causes these kinds of nuisances, but how successful
would anti-smokers have been in a court of law, or public opinion, in
achieving the kind of success they've achieved based on tobacco smoke
being a nuisance?

A serious public health threat had to be manufactured, and in 1993
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in to the rescue
with their bogus environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) study that says
secondhand tobacco smoke is a class A carcinogenic.

Why is it bogus? The EPA claimed that 3,000 Americans die annually
from secondhand smoke, but there was a problem. They couldn't come up
with that conclusion using the standard statistical 95 percent
confidence interval. They lowered their study's confidence interval
to 90 percent. That has the effect of doubling the margin of error
and doubling the probability that mere chance explains those 3,000

In 1998, the World Health Organization's International Agency for
Research on Cancer released the largest ever and best formulated
study on ETS. The research project ran for 10 years and in seven
European countries. The study, not widely publicized, concluded that
no statistically significant risk existed for nonsmokers who either
lived or worked with smokers.

The bottom line is that the EPA cooked the books. There is no proof
that second hand smoke causes lung cancer. The anti-smoking zealots
used junk science to advance their agenda. Sound familiar?

Now frankly I despise cigarette smoke. Aside from my respiratory
problems it makes me feel sick. On the other hand I don't feel that
I have the moral authority to go into someones place of business and
tell them what they must do.

I'd rather find a place that is accommodating to me to do my

Strickland is quoted in the Blade as saying it's a fact that people are smoking less because of the smoking ban - a fact, because of less tax money coming in. He's ignorant & uniniformed. There's an enormous number of Ohioan's who have simply taken their cigarette dollar elsewhere, or roll their own - just to make a point. If they can't smoke them in Ohio, they sure as hell aren't going to give Ohio their tax dollars when they buy them. Many are buying them online. A lot of them have friends or family mail them from out of state. A huge number, simply makes a cigarette run out of state each month (not Michigan, taxed too high there). It's kind of like people who go to Canada to buy pain meds (codeine). We are almost the only country in the world that you can't buy codeine over the counter, and yet, we have some of the highest numbers of drug addiction - go figure. Canada, England, Mexico, & countless other countries don't have huge numbers of codeine addicts. And while they consider it to be the same level drug as the USA, the only warning on the bottle is 'This bottle contains enough drug to seriously harm a child. Please keep out of reach of children.'. So why pay doctors a hefty office call fee to beg for something for pain (that they are so paranoid to give) when you can simply hop to Canada & buy it there? Same holds true for buying cigarettes. Our country has become so phobic & has brain washed it's people so badly, it's sad. They have convinced people that this or that will kill you - when actually, it's all to make a buck (follow the money - Toledo Talk has a solid post in it's archives about that). Pharmacutical companies are running the show in this country, and now it's to make money on worthless smoking cessation products (that insurance won't pay for, but they pay for stomach stapling). Next up is the 'suggested' or 'required' psychological testing of all kids in school for depression (read: prescriptions). The smoking ban is a cash cow for them, and the cancer society. But you tell a lie long enough, people will believe it.

This is propaganda. You folks need to do better.

propaganda? i was thinking it was a dose of reality.

what would you call this......

Anything from the rabid smoker-hating side is gospel-fact-and must never be questioned. Anything that questions or presents another view, or even shows facts, is 'pro-smoking site' (my new favorite), 'big tobacco; (the old Clinton/Gore days terminology), or 'propaganda'.
I've always found that amusing.


Why should one more drop of our soldiers blood be spilled on foreign soil? Why fight/die for 'freedom' anymore when our citizens are pissing it away at the voting booth?


'I used to have compassion, but they taxed it and legislated it out of existence.'

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