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  • 30.06.2014 Alexandria Tobacco Users Are Unhappy With New Law

    There is a certain irony to it, some have said.Smokers in Alexandria will have to leave local discount cigarettes stores to light up the products they just bought there.At least 25 feet from the stores to be exact, starting Jan. 1 after the Alexandria City Council passed an ordinance Oct. 4 banning smoking cigarettes in businesses previously exempt from state and local smoking cigarettes bans, including bars and buy cigarettes stores.And some tobacco users are not happy."They think the City Council way overstepped their boundaries," said Vonne Neal, owner of Alexandria's Smoke Shop." With...

  • 09.11.2012 Southern Board Bans Tobacco

    All of Southern University’s campuses will ban cigarettes store starting in January, the Southern Board of Supervisors decided.The move makes Southern the first college system in Louisiana to ban all cigarettes products. Nicholls State University became the first public college in Louisiana to become tobacco free at the beginning of this calendar year.Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. said the new policy is about promoting healthy lifestyles and setting a quality standard for all of higher education.“We’re going to look at it as the beginning of a cultural...

  • 18.10.2012 New Jersey Considers New Taxes On Non-cigarette Tobacco Products

    Little cigars, which are taking increasing space on area tobacco-shop shelves, are shaped and smoked just like cigarettes. But because New Jersey taxes them differently, they cost nearly one-third the price.Over the past several years, increased state and federal taxes have helped turn some smokers on to less-taxed cigarettes store products, local shop owners and anti-smoking cigarettes groups say.New Jersey has a $2.70 tax per cigarette pack, and the federal government has a $1.01 excise tax it enacted two years ago.That sixth-highest cigarette tax in the country may entice more smokers to...

  • 10.09.2012 Free Patches For Smokers

    Quitting smoking cigarettes just got a little easier. For a limited time, the California Smokers' Helpline is sending callers from Nevada County free nicotine patches. Eligible cigarettes store users who call 1-800-NO-BUTTS and enroll in the free telephone-based cessation program will receive a free two-week starter kit of patches, while supplies last.The patches are an FDA-approved treatment proven to help smokers kick the habit. They release nicotine into the bloodstream through the skin, reducing withdrawal symptoms and slowly weaning smokers off nicotine. Nevada County was one of 34...

  • 09.09.2012 Films Subsidized By State Promote Smoking

    California taxpayers subsidize major motion pictures that depict smoking cigarettes, which promotes the unhealthy habit and undermines efforts to keep young people from lighting up, according to UCSF researchers.In a report published Tuesday in PLoS Medicine, the researchers say the state and other governments may be violating their own health policies and goals when they subsidize or offer tax credits to makers of movies that directly or indirectly promote smoking cigarettes."We have a situation where governments today are now spending taxpayer money to sell discount cigarette online to...

One Year Later, Smoking Ban Critics Lose Steam

Keep breathing easy, Wisconsin - Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the statewide ban on smoking cigarettes in bars and restaurants.

Since the law took effect July 5, 2010, most Wisconsinites, including former detractor Gov. Scott Walker, have grown to accept or have embraced the ban.

A survey released last week by advocacy group SmokeFree Wisconsin found that 75% of respondents supported the ban, up from 69% in 2008 when state lawmakers were still debating the issue.

"It's healthier now for me and my staff," said Michael Charles, manager of Beer Belly's restaurant at S. 5th St. and W. Layton Ave. "When you go home you don't reek like buy cigarette online anymore - I like that."

Even Walker concedes the ban is here to stay, saying last week that he won't attempt to change the current law. In the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Walker criticized the ban for infringing on the rights of private business.

"Although I did not support the original smoking cigarettes ban, after listening to people across the state, it is clear to me that it works. Therefore I will not support a repeal," Walker said in a statement.

The SmokeFree survey shows the smoking cigarettes ban enjoys support across partisan lines, with 66% of Republicans, 74% of Democrats and 80% of independents saying they favored the law.

More than 90% of the 500 likely voters polled in mid-June say they go out to eat and drink the same or more often now that the state is smoke-free. The poll was conducted by a nonpartisan national polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.

"The ban hasn't hurt business at all," said Derek Stamates, a manager at Tracks Tavern and Grille in Riverwest. "We've seen more families with kids coming in. It didn't drive anyone away."

After Wisconsin became the 27th state to enact a smoking cigarettes ban, the law initially upset some bar owners and patrons but has seen little controversy since.

Figures from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show that nearly 600 businesses statewide were named in complaints from last July through early June.

The number of smoking cigarettes complaints has declined significantly in the past 11 months, according to records from the state Health Services department. The data show that complaints increased in the winter months, but hit an all-time low in May.

Economically, state records show bars and restaurants haven't been hurt.

State sales tax collections overall in food and beverage establishments increased $4.1 million, or about 1%, from 2009 to 2010, data from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue show. Advocates see this as proof that the ban hasn't diminished business.

Also, a study from the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center released earlier this year found municipalities that enacted municipal smoke-free ordinances ahead of the statewide ban showed no adverse economic effects.

The number of alcohol licenses in the municipalities studied, which included Appleton, Eau Claire, Madison and Shorewood, remained constant before and after the ordinances went into effect.
Critics say law hurt bars

Still, opponents say that the ban has hurt the bottom line for hundreds of bars and restaurants across the state.

Pete Madland, executive director of the Tavern League of Wisconsin, said his organization has lost nearly 170 members, or more than 3% of its membership. He attributes this in part to the smoking cigarettes ban.

"We warned people that businesses would close and jobs would be lost," Madland said. "If I spoke to 100 members, maybe two or three would say business has been as good or better since the smoking cigarettes ban started."

While health advocates point to research that smoking cigarettes bans don't affect the bottom line of bars and restaurants, Madland disagrees.

"Wisconsin is unique - no other state has so many taverns per capita, and we knew the effect of the ban would be magnified in Wisconsin," he said. "They can say what they want; all I know is my members are hurting. . . . I don't know how long it will take to recover, if we will recover."

At King Pins bar in St. Francis, owner James Babcock said his revenue has declined some.

"I had a couple of people who just quit coming in," Babcock said. "In a way, I'm happy they can't smoke cigarettes in here, because it's healthier and cleaner in the bar. I just think the government is taking more and more of our rights away."

Just as important as a bar's bottom line is the health of its customers and employees, said Maureen Busalacchi, executive director of SmokeFree Wisconsin.

"You have healthier workers and healthier workplaces, so it's a real positive," Busalacchi said. "You go to a bar for a lot of reasons - for the food, for the company, for the drinks. Now you can have clean air, too."


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