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Last Call for Joe Camel and Virginia Slim
By Elissa Gootman
Anna Pilzer, 27, her cousin Victoria Alers-Hankey, 28, and her boyfriend
were savoring post-family-dinner drinks at Liquor
Store, a small, dark bar in TriBeCa, when, about 20 minutes before midnight on Saturday, someone whisked the ashtray
from their table.
Could this be the start of the New York City smoking ban, they wondered.
Would midnight really mark, with Cinderella-like
precision, the moment that the smoky New York City bar would go the way of the spittoon and the three-martini lunch?
Unsure, the boyfriend, Jim O'Hare, 28, went to the bar. He got another
ashtray. He brought it back to the table, where it
remained as Saturday turned into Sunday, the day when smoking in almost all city bars, restaurants and other workplaces
officially became illegal. The three continued to smoke after midnight, without incident, and patrons at nearby stools and tables
did the same. For now, at least, there was a reprieve.
Even as the ban took effect yesterday, cigarettes burned into the morning
at many bars — maybe because managers had heard
that city inspectors would issue only warnings, not fines, until May 1. (Even then, smokers will not be fined; just the
establishments.) At some places, ashtrays were removed but patrons kept smoking nonetheless. And at others still, bartenders
cupped their hands, called for silence and eulogized the days of the smoke-filled saloon.
Frank's Restaurant straddles West Chelsea and the meat market district
and serves an abundance of hefty steaks during the
week. But its vast, bright dining room was largely empty late Saturday night.
There was a six-top of birthday celebrants in the front of the house
and a bachelor event in a private back room. At the bar, a
man in a chef's tunic polished off his steak tartare, fully garnished, then lighted up.
He is the owner, Steven Molinari.
"We've been open since 1912, through World War I, the Depression — we'll make it through this," he said, even as he affirmed that most diners enjoyed a cigar with their steak.
"I asked my grandfather if he sold drinks during Prohibition," Mr. Molinari
said. " `It's against the law to serve people alcohol,' is all he'd say."
Mr. Molinari suggested that if asked whether he was observing the smoking
ban, he would give the same
non-response. "I'll tell you, `It's against the law to allow people to smoke,' " he said.
But he was confident that smoking would not disappear from public places
entirely. "They closed the hardcore gay clubs, they
went underground," Mr. Molinari said. "Same thing will happen with smoking — people will find a place to do it."
Sorry, Old Boy, the Mayor Says 'No Smoking'
By Warren St. John
THEY are as much a part of Manhattan's old private clubs as leather chairs, billiard tables and investment bankers named Winthrop: oak-paneled bars, befogged with cigar smoke.
The oak bars will remain, but as of today, the last acrid skeins of
cigar smoke are dissipating into the chandeliers and settling
onto the velvet draperies and dark red Scalamandré fabrics of men's lounges in the city's mustiest old clubs. The city council's
smoking ban, an effort to protect employees from second-hand smoke, has kicked in, and to the dismay of many members of
those clubs, the law applies to cigars — and it applies to them.
"The attitude at every place I know is that this is the most asinine
law they've ever heard of," said Michael M. Thomas, a writer
and a member of the Racquet and Tennis Club, on Park Avenue. "I know of no more detested law than this."
Mr. Thomas doesn't even smoke cigars, but that's beside the point, club
members say. The basic premise of clubs is that
members should be able to go to their clubhouses and do as they please, which should at least include the option of lazing in a
big club chair with a highball of single-malt scotch and a stinky cigar in hand. Having that option taken away without so much as
a vote from the house committee, well, it's just very un-club-like. Steven T. Florio, the chief executive of Condé Nast
Publications, a member of the New York Yacht Club and a man known for his love of cigars, actually quit smoking four months ago, but that hasn't changed his opinion of the law.
"This is way over the line," he said. "If you're a member of any private
club and they have a designated area where you can
smoke a cigar, I think that should be allowed. It's one of those nice things you can do with your buddies."
But what about all those humidors and private cigar lockers? Most clubs
haven't figured out what to do with those yet. Charles
H. Townsend, the chief operating officer of Condé Nast and the rear commodore of the New York Yacht Club, recently
donated a humidor to the club, "with a brass plaque and everything," he said.
"I don't know whether I get it back," Mr. Townsend said. "I'm not going to go over there and snatch it."
A good, well-sealed humidor might be exactly what Mr. Townsend and his
cigar-smoking buddies need to keep their stogies
fresh until the anti-smoking fervor subsides. At least, he said, that's the hope.
"The tide goes in and the tide goes out," Mr. Townsend said. "Who knows how long this regulation is going to be around?"
Walk a Mile for a Camel? Not Far Enough Anymore
By Andrew Jacobs
Although she quit years ago, Maggie Paley still fondly recalls the early
1970's, when, she said, nearly every desk in Time-Life's
offices was adorned with an overflowing ashtray. "You'd walk through the office, and everyone was smoking, with all the
windows closed," said Ms. Paley, then a writer for Life magazine. "No one asked for permission to smoke."
How times have changed. Beginning today, America's capital of freewheeling
indulgence joins an increasingly puritanical nation
in its war on tobacco. With the exception of a handful of upscale cigar bars, smoking will be banned from all public indoor
spaces; four months from now, an even-more-draconian state law, signed last Wednesday by Gov. George E. Pataki, will
outlaw even the specially designed, employee-free smoking chambers that the City Council had permitted in its legislation.
"This is really the end of an era," said Bruce Snyder, the manager of
the "21" Club, the West 52nd Street landmark that has
been an oak-paneled refuge for uptown Brahmins since in 1929. For more than 30 years, Mr. Snyder has been tending to the
well-fed bankers and publishing executives who retreat to the clubby smoking parlor after their meals.
And while he is not too worried about the ban's impact on the bottom
line, he does fret over a more intangible loss: the
disappearance of a cultural tradition that, for him and countless others, defines the city that invented the 15-minute cigarette
break, the smoking jacket and the smoke-drenched coffeehouse.
"I mean, having a cigar or a cigarette over port after dinner is so civilized," he said. "I can't imagine New York without it."
Smoking Ban Relies on Voluntary Compliance
By Richard Perez-Pena
A new team of city inspectors will fan out to bars and restaurants across
the five boroughs on Sunday to enforce the new
antismoking law, but officials concede that in a city with 25,000 places to grab a bite or a drink, they will have to rely
heavily on voluntary compliance.
Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden announced this week that while
the law would take effect on Sunday, the inspectors
would issue only warnings, and not fines, until May 1 — a decision that he said was intended largely to avoid lawsuits by bar
owners saying they do not understand what the law requires.
Despite the city's budget crisis, the Department of Health and Mental
Hygiene has hired a dozen new inspectors, creating a new
night shift in addition to the 100 inspectors who already work during the day visiting bars and restaurants and policing smoking
and other health laws. Officials say they expect the new crew to generate enough revenue through fines to pay for itself.
Yet even with the added resources, the city will depend on bar owners
and patrons to police themselves — an inevitable
approach, given the size of the task, and one that has mostly worked well with the various restrictions on restaurant smoking that the city has had since 1988.
But some bar owners complain that the city has not adequately explained
the new requirements and has not given them enough
time to adjust. The law was passed three months ago, and the city regulations implementing it were not published until Tuesday.
"By having a 30-day phase-in period, we minimize any potential for lawsuits," Dr. Frieden said.
David Rabin, a part-owner of two high-end clubs, Lotus and Union Bar, and president of the New York Nightlife Association, a group of about 100 bars, said the city was being unrealistic.
"The real world is, it's 2 a.m., there's a table that's already bought $700 worth of drinks and everyone's had a few, and someone at their table wants to light up a cigarette, and won't listen when I ask them not to," he said. "What am I supposed to do? The city says call the police. That's ridiculous. No bar owner would do that."
He also predicted widespread conflict between neighborhood residents
and noisy bar patrons escaping to the sidewalk for a
cigarette late at night. And many bar owners have said the ban will hurt their business.
After Sunday, health inspectors will pay random visits around the city.
Officials say that bars that have not complied will receive
warnings, and will be at the top of the list for return visits after May 1, when violations will bring fines of $200 to $2,000, at the
discretion of a department tribunal. A customer complaint will also draw a prompt inspection, they said.
The city will keep to its longstanding practice of penalizing only the establishment, not the customer who smokes.
A Bear Market for Ashtrays and Matches
By Clyde Haberman
O.K., maybe it is unfair to expect that the ban, which goes into effect
on Sunday, will work its magic right away, or even when
fines kick in after a month's grace period. But sooner or later it will be reasonable to ask if the number of people who die in the
city, roughly 60,000 a year, significantly declines.
Otherwise, what is the point of this antismoking exercise, not to mention an even more stringent state law passed on Wednesday in what, for tortoiselike Albany, qualified as nothing flat? (Funny how state leaders are incapable of putting together a budget remotely on time, but when it comes to re-engineering human behavior, they shift into warp speed.)
Many predictions have been made about the consequences of the antismoking campaign. Most, including the one about the lives that will be saved, beg a time-will-tell response.
Will bars lose business, as owners warn? Or will they flourish, as Mr.
Bloomberg, that world-famous barkeep, confidently
predicts. For now, no one really knows.
The mayor's reasoning is that bar customers will drink more if they
are not smoking. Never mind ample anecdotal evidence that
smokers, as a group, are bigger spenders than nonsmokers.
"The smokers will come in after work and have a few beers," said Ciaran
Staunton, who testified at several Council hearings as
the owner of O'Neill's, a bar on Third Avenue in Midtown. "At lunch, they kick back and have an extra coffee or dessert. The
check for a smoker is larger. That's a reality."
Another reality is that related businesses expect to be bruised by the
ban, not devastatingly perhaps, but enough for them to
For example, since items that produce ash are prohibited, there doesn't seem much point wasting money on ashtrays. Orders are definitely down, said Carl Talesnick, president of the Hyco Restaurant Supply Company in the South Bronx.
Mr. Talesnick carries everything from refrigeration units to coffee
cups. Losing orders for ashtrays or for souvenir matchbooks,
which he also supplies, will hardly break him, he said.
STILL, a loss is a loss. And ashtrays are only part of it. He, too, believes that smokers linger at the table more than nonsmokers. "We supply the coffee, the food, the drinks," he said. "I sell the glassware for the after-dinner drinks and even the whipped cream for Irish coffee. That's going to hurt us even more than ashtray or matchbook sales."
"On the selfish side," Mr. Talesnick volunteered with admirable candor,
"I'll probably lose some business on bar stools."
Inevitably, stools get cigarette burns. "Now, there will be no need for them to be replaced," he said. "We sell air fresheners. I'm
sure there will be a loss on that, too."
New York State Adopts Strict Ban on Workplace Smoking
By Winnie Hu
After two years of legislative gridlock, New York today became only
the third state to pass a tough antismoking law that would
ban smoking in nearly every restaurant, bar and workplace.
The Legislature moved exceptionally quickly to pass the measure, overcoming
fierce opposition from some Republican
members and a heavy lobbying campaign by the tobacco, liquor and restaurant industries, which derailed a similar effort less
than a year ago.
Hours later, Gov. George E. Pataki signed the bill into law, clearing the way for the smoking ban to take effect in 120 days. But
Lisa Dewald Stoll, the governor's press secretary, said that Mr. Pataki
remained concerned about what he saw as
inconsistencies in the new ban, including how it would affect local antismoking measures. He urged legislators to address those
In addition, the state law will close several exemptions that were added
at the last minute by the City Council. Smoking will no
longer be allowed at establishments personally operated by their owners, and bars and nightclubs will no longer have the option
of building specially ventilated rooms that can be used for up to three years.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who initially proposed the city ban without
those exemptions, has told state legislators that he
supports the state ban. Jordan Barowitz, a spokesman for the mayor, said that Mr. Bloomberg "is very pleased that the state is
ensuring that all New Yorkers work in a safe environment."
Ban on Smoking in the Workplace Draws Little Protest
By Winnie Hu
The Senate Health Committee had only one issue to debate today — a proposal
for a statewide ban on smoking in the
workplace — but so many lobbyists, political aides and journalists jammed into its conference room here in the State Capitol
that the door could not be shut.
As supporters and opponents spilled out of the room, the 16-member committee unanimously passed the smoking bill after only
muted criticism from several senators.
Lawmakers were cautious, knowing that things have a way of veering off
course in Albany, but they said the Legislature could
pass the measure as early as Wednesday.
The bill, which re-emerged just days before New York City's tough new
antismoking laws are to go into effect, would ban
smoking in nearly every restaurant, bar and indoor workplace across the state. The bill, which has broad, bipartisan support,
was approved today by the health committees in both chambers.
But 5 of the 10 Republicans in the Senate committee officially signaled
their reservations about the bill by voting in favor, but
"I agree that smoking is very bad," said Senator Thomas W. Libous, a
Republican from Binghamton. "But the ramifications of
this bill, as strict as it is, will be devastating on small businesses. I think there could have been much more compromise."
"I think individual counties should be setting the rules," Assemblyman
Burling said afterward. "I'm not pro-smoke, but I am
about individual rights and freedoms."
That message was also echoed by the Conservative Party of New York State,
which is influential with upstate Republican
senators. Even before the bill was introduced last Friday, Michael R. Long, the party chairman, had already faxed out a news
release saying that American troops in Iraq would be shocked "to find that their freedom of smoking a legal substance has been
usurped by our democratically elected officials."
The state ban, if approved, would apply to localities that either do
not have any existing legislation or have less-restrictive
legislation. It would not affect localities that have stronger laws, like Westchester and Nassau, or limit their ability to pass
stronger laws in the future.
Ban on Workplace Smoking Nears Vote in State Senate
By Winnie Hu
ALBANY, March 24 — Legislative leaders have agreed on a tough new bill that would ban smoking in nearly all workplaces throughout the state, including restaurants and bars, but the fate of the bill remained uncertain tonight after it ran into stiff opposition from some Republican senators.
The proposed state ban, if approved, would be one of the most restrictive
antismoking measures in the country — even more
stringent than the new smoking ban that is scheduled to take effect in New York City on Sunday, because it does not include
several exemptions that were added to the city's law by the City Council.
The state proposal would prohibit smoking in nearly all indoor work
places, except in a small number of cigar bars and
membership clubs with no paid employees. It would also allow special tobacco-promotion events at restaurants and bars, but
would limit them to two a year instead of the five allowed under the city ban.
The state ban would also not exempt establishments that are operated by their owners, nor would it allow bars and nightclubs to have separately ventilated smoking rooms for up to three years. The city's law makes exceptions in both cases.
The Legislature took up the smoking issue again this week after coming
close to passing a more-narrowly focused law last year
that would have banned smoking in restaurants. While the Assembly passed last year's bill, Senate Republicans, facing a heavy
lobbying campaign by restaurant groups and the tobacco and liquor industries, never put it to a vote.
Today, the Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, pledged to support
the bill, but stopped short of saying that it would pass
The bill was debated by Senate Republicans behind closed doors this afternoon, and several aides said afterward that there was substantial concern about how a smoking ban would hurt small businesses, primarily in upstate communities.
Senator Bruno acknowledged this evening that his members "were very
vocal about sharing those feelings, and I am very
sensitive to all of that." But aides to the senator and lobbyists closely following the situation said that Mr. Bruno was considering
allowing the bill to come to the floor for a vote on Wednesday, even if he is not sure of how his entire Republican conference
intends to vote for it. It is expected to be discussed in the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday. "We're still talking about it,"
Senator Bruno said. "We'll just see how it goes this week."
If passed by the Legislature, the bill would then be sent to Gov. George E. Pataki for approval. The language in the bill says that the proposed smoking ban would take effect 120 days after the governor signs it.
Mollie Fullington, a spokeswoman for Governor Pataki, said that "the
governor is generally supportive of the concept, but he'll
need to review the details of the legislation."
Tobacco Companies Pledge to Fight Justice Department
By Sherri Day and Jonathan D. Glater
Tobacco companies pledged yesterday to fight Justice Department efforts
to recover $289 billion from the industry, which the government contends
conspired to deceive consumers about the dangers of its products. Several
legal and industry
experts questioned the legal foundation of the lawsuit.
The companies named in the suit are Philip Morris, a unit of Altria;
Brown & Williamson, a unit of British American Tobacco;
Lorillard, a unit of Loews; R. J. Reynolds Tobacco; and the Liggett unit of the Vector Group. They plan to file a joint motion for dismissal in the fall, lawyers for the companies said.
The companies say that they are confident in their chances of a dismissal
because the judge overseeing the case has already
thrown out two of the three counts in the initial suit, which was filed in 1999.
Lawyers and tobacco analysts said that the government's chances of winning this case against the tobacco industry seemed slim.
U.S. Seeks $289 Billion in Cigarette Makers' Profits
By Eric Lichtblau
The Justice Department is demanding that the nation's biggest cigarette makers be ordered to forfeit $289 billion in profits derived from a half-century of "fraudulent" and dangerous marketing practices.
Citing new evidence, the Justice Department asserts in more than 1,400
pages of court documents that the major cigarette
companies are running what amounts to a criminal enterprise by manipulating nicotine levels, lying to their customers about the
dangers of tobacco and directing their multibillion-dollar advertising campaigns at children.
Those practices continue even today, despite the industry's repeated
pledges to change its ways, the Justice Department said in
filings in federal court in Washington as part of a federal lawsuit first filed by the Clinton administration in 1999.
The Justice Department's aggressive attack on the industry surprised
many legal analysts because Attorney General John
Ashcroft has voiced public skepticism in the past about the strength of the federal lawsuit.
The tobacco industry said the charges were without merit, asserting in new filings of its own that its public pronouncements about cigarettes were free speech protected by the First Amendment.
A Last Call on Tobacco Is Starting to Feel Real
By Elissa Gootman
There are, certainly, supporters of the smoking ban, among them reformed smokers who find cigarettes either disgusting or too tempting, nonsmokers who loathe smelling otherwise after a night on the town, and waitresses who pass through dense gray clouds on their way to the kitchen. But to many patrons at beer-drenched sports bars, neighborhood pubs and velvet-roped cocktail lounges, the smoky bar is nothing less than a mainstay of city life.
In all corners of all five boroughs, there are those - among them boisterous baseball fans, overworked secretaries and tormented artists - who argue that a bar without smoke is hardly a bar at all.
Restaurateurs Sue to Block Nassau County's Ban on Smoking
By Bruce Lambert
Several bar and restaurant owners have sued to overturn Nassau County's new smoking ban — and if the court finds it defective, shrinking political support could thwart passage of a new version.
The suit was filed on Tuesday in United States District Court in Central
Islip, where lawyers for both sides may appear before a
judge as early as Thursday.
What makes the challenge crucial is that the ban, which the County Legislature here barely passed, by a vote of 10 to 9, has lost at least one of its original supporters.
Nassau's law, which broadened a partial smoking ban, took effect March
1. It will be followed by a similar one in New York
City on March 30.
Neighboring Suffolk County has postponed its ban until 2006, and some
Nassau bar and restaurant owners — especially those
near the Suffolk County border — say they will lose many customers to competitors in Suffolk. Supporters of the Nassau law
disagree, saying that bans in other states have drawn more business from nonsmokers.
The plaintiffs include the Garden City Hotel and the Pankos and Stardust
Diners, in East Meadow. Their suit contends that the
legislators adopted the ban improperly because they failed to make a required environmental impact review and failed to repeal
the old law, which they said contradicted the new law.
"They were in a rush to judgment," said the owners' lawyer, Arthur J.
Kremer. He is seeking a temporary injunction lifting the
New York Budget Dispute Carries Threat of a Shutdown
By Al Baker
This afternoon, Mr. Silver publicly accused Mr. Pataki of trying to
shut down the government, referring to a March 7
memorandum from the governor's budget director, Carole E. Stone, that laid out a plan for frugal spending on only the most
essential services. Within hours, the governor shot back that Mr. Silver was the one who was trying to shut state government,
and Pataki officials said that the memo described their effort to keep government running.
Mr. Silver, speaking before about 4,000 hospital executives, administrators, health care workers and others gathered outside the Capitol to protest proposed budget cuts, likened Mr. Pataki to a boy who will take his basketball and go home unless everyone else plays the game his way.
"He's raising the threat of closing down state government if he does
not get tobacco securitization," said Mr. Silver, referring to
the governor's plan to borrow $4.2 billion immediately against the state's share of the federal tobacco settlement to solve about a third of the looming $11.5 billion budget gap this year and next. About $10.4 billion of the state's share of the settlement was to have trickled in at a rate around $500 million a year over the next 20 years.
"The governor is threatening to close down government to get his way," Mr. Silver said.
Philip Morris to Leave New York
By Janny Scott
Just weeks before one of the toughest antismoking laws in the country is to go into effect in New York City, Philip Morris USA announced yesterday that it intends to end a 101-year relationship with the city by moving its headquarters to Richmond, Va.
A spokesman for the company, which has 682 employees in Manhattan and
6,800 in and around Richmond, said the decision
was in no way prompted by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's antismoking legislation.
The decision by Philip Morris USA, the largest cigarette maker in the
country, comes at a time when the city has lost nearly
176,000 jobs over the last two years and unemployment has jumped to 8.4 percent. The Bloomberg administration is struggling
to close a $3.4 billion budget gap for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and residents are facing the largest property tax increase in city history.
Even so, several economists said the broader implications of the company's
decision, if any, remain unclear. The city has been
losing corporate headquarters for decades. While having one's headquarters in New York City brings certain advantages,
including access to a highly skilled work force, it is expensive; in a downturn, they said, all companies try to cut costs.
Philip Morris's announcement comes less than a month before March 30,
the date Mayor Bloomberg's antismoking legislation, a sweeping ban on indoor
smoking in public places, is to take effect. According to Mr. McCormick,
Philip Morris had been
exempted, along with other tobacco businesses and manufacturers, from the city's less stringent antismoking law enacted in
Asked whether the new law influenced the company's decision to move, Mr. McCormick said it did not.
"You wouldn't make a decision of this magnitude based on something like
that," he said. "We have employees around the
country, many of whom work in buildings where smoking is not permitted, and they certainly comply with the law. The law goes into effect at the end of March and we intend to comply with that."
Westchester Lawmakers Ban Smoking in Workplaces
WHITE PLAINS, March 3 — The Westchester County Board of Legislators voted 12 to 3 tonight to outlaw smoking in all indoor workplaces.
The ban, which will go into effect in 90 days, met its stiffest opposition from the restaurant and tavern industry, whose businesses are covered to protect workers there.
The county executive, Andrew Spano, is expected to sign the legislation,
will join bans already approved in New York
City and in Nassau County.
The Westchester legislation does not have loopholes for promotional
uses or allot extra time to phase out specially ventilated
smoking sections, as New York City's ban does.
Dennis Gallagher, the general manager of the Willett House restaurant
in Port Chester, N.Y., said the ban would push 20
percent of his business into adjacent Connecticut, where there are no bans on smoking. He said half of the people calling for
reservations want to know if they can smoke.
Six years ago, when the Board of Health told restaurants they had to
reconfigure to create separate areas and ventilation for
nonsmokers, the restaurant spent $500,000 to remodel, he said.
"This law isn't about secondhand smoke," he said, "it's about the American Cancer Society trying to get people to stop smoking."
James O'Toole, a bartender at Dudley's Parkview Restaurant in New Rochelle, testified that if the law was passed, "I'll be on the unemployment line."
Going Out for a Breath of Fresh Smoke in Nassau Bars
By David W. Chen
When Jacqueline Venditto arrived late Friday night at Minnesota's, a popular nightclub in Long Beach, Nassau County, she knew that something odd was in the air.
First, the employees at the club seemed to be going out of their way
to amplify the finer points of a new local law banning
smoking in bars and restaurants. The disc jockey repeated the announcement several times as midnight approached, in a fashion that reminded her of a New Year's Eve countdown.
Then, after 12 o'clock came, Ms. Venditto, 22, a student at St. John's
University, ended up outdoors because her friends could
no longer smoke inside. It was 27 degrees. No one in the group was happy.
Forcing people to go outside to smoke was making the county look foolish, Ms. Venditto said.
From Great Neck to Farmingdale, Long Islanders who were out and about
as Friday yielded to Saturday were grappling with
the new reality of a world without indoor smoke.
From Great Neck to Farmingdale, Long Islanders who were out and about
as Friday yielded to Saturday were grappling with
the new reality of a world without indoor smoke.
Some bars and restaurants made a point of asking patrons to do their
smoking outdoors. Others made halfhearted efforts to
enforce the ban, while expressing their distaste for it. Still others flouted the law, believing that the enforcement would be spotty
and the penalty inconsequential.
The initial reaction, predictably, was split. Some nonsmokers were elated. Some smokers, seething, promised to boycott Nassau County. Still others tried to make light of the situation by cracking jokes or repeating a line from Sharon Stone's most notorious scene in "Basic Instinct": "What are you going to do? Charge me with smoking?"
W.H.O. Adopts Tobacco Pact but Many Countries Object
By Alison Langley
GENEVA, Saturday, March 1 — The World Health Organization adopted a
final text of the Framework Convention on
Tobacco Control early today, but many major nations, including the United States and Germany, said they would not
adopt the treaty in its current form.
The draft treaty, approved after four years of negotiations, will be presented at the W.H.O.'s annual conference here in May.
David Hohman, the American health attaché in Geneva, said the
wording in some sections was either unacceptable or violated
the Constitution. "While the U.S. does not object to forwarding the draft convention to the World Health Assembly," he said,
"these and other issues will have to be addressed."
If adopted in its current form, the treaty would place ban advertising and promotion of tobacco products, in countries where that would be constitutional. It would also impose high taxes on tobacco products.
Further, the tobacco industry would be required to divulge all the ingredients
in cigarettes and print warning labels that cover at
least 30 percent of the package. The treaty would also ban companies from using terms like "ultra light" or "light."
It would encourage nations to fight against cigarette smuggling and enact strict indoor air laws.
If the treaty is passed in May, it then goes to the W.H.O.'s 192 member
nations for ratification. Once 40 have passed it, the it
officially goes into effect in the countries where it has been approved.
Last Call, and Last Puff, as a Smoking Ban Nears
By Bruce Lambert
The metropolitan region's first total ban on smoking in bars and restaurants takes effect in Nassau County at midnight tonight. But exactly what will happen is anybody's guess.
Will smokers obediently stub out their butts when the clock hits midnight,
or defiantly puff away into the wee hours? Will
bartenders scowl and whip out fire extinguishers, or look and breathe the other way? Will smokers forgo Nassau County and
frequent bars and restaurants in Queens and Suffolk County?
One thing is certain. Squadrons of enforcement agents will not be swooping
down on all-night diners, or bursting through the
swinging doors of saloons armed with ashtrays. Midnight, in fact, may prove to be a bit anticlimactic.
"I don't know that going out on Friday night is going to be any different
from going out on Thursday night," said Dr. David M.
Ackman, the county health commissioner.
His agency is in charge of enforcement, but he said, "We're not putting
anybody under surveillance Friday." Nassau's 23 health
inspectors, called sanitarians, will not even be on duty that night.
In the next couple of weeks, a notice about the new rules will be mailed to the county's 5,000 bars and restaurants, as well as to bowling alleys and bingo halls. The ban at bingo halls will not take effect until Jan. 1. Inspectors will include smoking on the list of what they check during unannounced visits, made at least once a year.
Based on their experience with Nassau's 1996 ban on smoking in many
workplaces, health officials say they expect most
businesses to voluntarily comply. The new rules are an extension of the 1996 law.
But officials are ready to get tough with those who resist. "There will
be a few places, and I expect it to be a handful, where we
have repeated complaints," Dr. Ackman said. "Generally for the first offense, we will talk to the owner. Only after the second
infraction will we bring a violation."
The fines — imposed on the business owner, not the offending smoker — are up to $250 a day. If an owner continues to violate the law, absorbing the fines as a cost of doing business, health officials can resort to the ultimate weapon and shut down the establishment.
Voters Say Why Mayor Is Slipping in Popularity
By Jennifer Steinhauer
At the mention of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's name, Barbara Carr's arm moved furiously up and down, as if she were trying to wave away the odor of three-day-old cod.
"Please, no, I can't stand him!" said Ms. Carr, turning her sunglassed gaze toward a case of cream pies and zeppoles in Alfonso's Pastry Shoppe, a popular bakery in the Meier's Corner neighborhood of Staten Island.
Ms. Carr, 45, cast her vote for Mr. Bloomberg with a majority of Staten
Island voters in the 2001 election. But the mayor's
decision to raise property taxes 18.5 percent, his antismoking legislation and his scant appearances in her borough have since
turned her against him.
"At that time I thought he was going to do things for us," Ms. Carr
said. "But he has come down so hard on us, it's absurd. To
me, New York City is his little play toy that he sits back and plays with and then jets back to one of his islands as he watches us fall into chaos."
Yesterday, a Quinnipiac University poll put the mayor's approval rating at 48 percent citywide.
Much of the erosion of support is among voters who were most affected
by the property tax increase and, it would seem, least
support his anti-smoking policies, based on interviews with those polled and with other New Yorkers. They are the people who least appreciate hearing about tolls on East River bridges, after a recent hefty increase in parking fines.
"I am 48 years old, my mom is 73 and we've lived in New York all our lives," Robin Leckow, who lives in Whitestone, Queens, wrote in a recent e-mail message to a reporter. Ms. Leckow said she is a smoker, like her mother, whose social life revolves around bingo. The new smoking law prohibiting smoking in bingo parlors has ruined that, she said. "She won't get out of the house now, or see her friends," Ms. Leckow said.
"The mayor has completely priced us out of buying our cigarettes in
New York," added Ms. Leckow, who voted for Mr.
Bloomberg. "So once a month we drive out of state and buy cartons for our own use. Now he wants to criminalize this, and hunt me down for taxes.
Legislators Unmoved by Bid to Delay Nassau Smoking Ban
By Bruce Lambert
Restaurateurs and bar owners staged a last-ditch effort today to delay Nassau County's new smoking ban, which is set to take effect at midnight Friday. Supporters of the measure, however, urged county lawmakers to stand firm.
The rival groups held rallies and news conferences on the front steps
of the main county office building here, and more than 100
people signed up to speak at the Nassau County Legislature meeting, even though the issue was not on the formal agenda.
In the end, the Legislature closed the meeting without action, leaving
the ban's effective date intact. But the opponents are
continuing to press their case.
"My customers are telling me, `We're going to go to Suffolk,' " said
Michael Panagatos, who owns the Empress Diner in East
Nassau legislators adopted the ban in October in a narrow party-line vote, 10 Democrats to 9 Republicans. But opponents were heartened today that one Democrat, Lisanne Altmann, now favors amending it. Since the ban passed by only one vote, her switch could be pivotal.
But the presiding officer, Judith A. Jacobs, was adamant about sticking with the March 1 date. "I have no intention of putting this back on the floor for a vote," she said.
Even if the Nassau Legislature takes further action, County Executive
Thomas R. Suozzi, a fellow Democrat, has vowed "in
unequivocal terms that he would veto any attempt to amend this legislation," Ms. Jacobs said. A spokesman for Mr. Suozzi
Sales of Cigarettes Online Hit
By Bob Tedeschi
ONLINE sellers of cigarettes have been in an enviable position — until
recently. As states steadily raised cigarette taxes in an effort to balance
budgets and curb teenage smoking, more and more consumers turned to the
Web, where cheap
But such bargains may not be so easily found in the future, some analysts said, as states like New York prepare to outlaw online tobacco sales, while others crack down on cigarette buyers who do not pay taxes.
The law was largely intended to curb under-age smoking, since many online
cigarette sites do little, if anything, to verify the age
of customers. But skeptics point to legislation in other states to enforce online cigarette tax collection, and say the law's true
intent is to protect state coffers, not coughers.
"We all know this isn't about public health," said Joseph F. Crangle,
a lawyer with Colucci & Gallagher in Buffalo, who has
represented online cigarette sellers from Indian reservations in upstate New York. Mr. Crangle, who declined to identify his
clients' Web sites, said traditional merchants lobbied Albany to protect the economic interests of both the state and the
merchants, who have lost substantial sales to the online retailers.
Those who work with the online cigarette sellers differ on how much the new laws will affect business. Robert Rubin, a Forrester Research analyst, said online cigarette retailers were likely to flout the law. "States can get tougher with the regulations, but their ability to police is limited," Mr. Rubin said. "It's so hard to police because these sites can pop up and go away so quickly. The anonymity of the Internet is great for this."
Enforcement of cigarette-related laws has long been a problem. A report
by the General Accounting Office last year noted that
the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department were responsible for investigating and enforcing the Jenkins Act, the law requiring remote cigarette sellers to inform states when a purchase takes place.
But, the G.A.O. report said, neither the Justice Department nor the
F.B.I. identified "any actions taken to enforce the Jenkins
Act with respect to Internet cigarette sales." One problem, the report said, is that violations of the act are considered
misdemeanors, and government investigators do not think such charges are worth pursuing.
Santa Fe is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that was overturned this month by the appeals court panel, paving the way for the reinstatement of the New York law banning mail-order and Internet tobacco sales. Mr. Sanders said the company would take "whatever course of action" required to overturn the law, including a petition to the United States Supreme Court.
As City Tobacco Ban Looms, Tavern Owners Get Sly
By Denny Lee
Let the cat-and-mouse games begin. With only weeks to go before Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban rolls into town, bar and club owners are maneuvering to dodge it.
More than a few bar owners have vowed to simply ignore the law, and
risk fines of up to $2,000 and the loss of their permits.
One bar owner on Staten Island, who, like nearly all those interviewed, requested anonymity, plans to hold a raffle each month
and collect $5 from each smoker. Half the pot would go toward paying off fines, the rest to the winner.
Some bar owners are considering "smoke-easies,'' secret back rooms they
can use to evade the nicotine police. Less intrepid
souls are searching for loopholes.
One of the few legal exemptions is for ventilated smoking chambers, which employees are forbidden to enter, even to empty the ashtrays. Despite the high price tag ($15,000 and up) and the fact that these chambers can be used only until March 2006, many owners are betting that these rooms will offer them a competitive edge.
"Everybody is putting one in," a downtown club owner said. "It's capitalism."
Perhaps the haziest area is enforcement. If a barfly lights up despite a no-smoking sign and a bartender's nudge, can a bar owner be fined? Smokers themselves are not liable for fines, according to Sandra Mullin, a spokeswoman for the Health Department, which plans to hire a dozen nighttime inspectors before the law takes effect on March 30.
"We expect the law will be largely self-enforcing," Ms. Mullin said.
NY C.L.A.S.H. Note: Ms. Mullin is mistaken. The law states that smokers can be fined $100 for each incident.
A Sad Ballad for the Water-Pipe Cafes of Astoria
By Bill Werde
At the heart of this community in Astoria are the shisha cafes. Six of them dot the two-block stretch, each with a handful of small wooden tables and a stable of the ornate namesake water pipes that filter flavored tobacco - apple is the most popular - for patrons.
"I'd say they bring as much as 50 percent of the business to this block," said Rafea Nablsi, one of the owners of Laziza.
Now the centuries-old tradition of shisha, and those cafes, face the specter of the city's new Smoke-Free Air Act. When the law goes into effect on March 30, it will leave little wiggle room for the shisha cafes.
For a community already beset by tougher restrictions covering immigration registration, closing the shisha cafes would mean not just the loss of a cultural institution but also the loss of up to 40 jobs.
And at Mazazique Cafe, Ali el-Ride added between greetings to customers:
"The law is ridiculous. The only people who come
here are people who want to smoke. Who is the law protecting?"
6 Are Charged With Selling Millions of Counterfeit Marlboros
By William Glaberson
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged six men yesterday with importing millions of counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes from China and selling them through tax-free businesses on the upstate Seneca Indian reservation.
Firms Try to Delay Law on Cigarettes, Say Advocates
By Winnie Hu
More than two years after New York passed a landmark law requiring that cigarettes be made to extinguish quickly to avoid setting fires, some state legislators and advocacy groups are accusing the tobacco companies of trying to delay the regulation.
Philip Morris Companies, the nation's largest cigarette manufacturer,
and other cigarette companies have sought more time to
evaluate and comment on the preliminary regulation, which was published Dec. 31 by New York's Department of State, the
agency that is overseeing the new law.
Last week, state officials extended the deadline for public comment
on the regulation by 60 days, until April 15. That means the
fire safety standard for cigarettes cannot take effect until October, at the earliest, because the law gives the cigarette companies
180 days to comply once the final regulation is published.
Brendan McCormick, a spokesman for Philip Morris, said that company officials were not trying to delay the regulation, and that they had worked closely with the state to address complicated technical issues. He said the company would have to change its manufacturing and distribution processes significantly, but he declined to estimate the overall cost.
As Animosity Grows, Pataki and Silver Take Rift on the Road
By James C. McKinley Jr.
Both the Republican governor and the Democratic speaker of the Assembly
went to western New York today and trumpeted their sides in an increasingly
bitter debate over the state budget, another sign of a growing
animosity between the two men.
"It's mortal combat," a senior Democratic official said. "Frosty is an inane understatement. The staffs hate each other."
Mr. Silver has become more and more strident in his public criticisms
of the governor over the last two months. The governor
has nimbly counterattacked with the assertion that the Assembly leader has blocked anti-terrorism legislation, which Mr. Pataki
Mr. Pataki has also pleaded with Mr. Silver to authorize about $4 billion
in new borrowing, backed by annual payments from a
court settlement with tobacco companies, to help balance the state's books. Mr. Silver has refused to act on that proposal, too.
"It's getting frosty at this point, as nothing is happening," one person close to the governor said.
The speaker has made it plain that his chamber will not give the governor
the ability to use the borrowed tobacco funds until the
entire budget for next year is negotiated.
Ban on Internet Cigarette Sales Is Upheld
By Terry Pristin
Reversing a lower court ruling, a federal appeals panel yesterday upheld a New York State ban on Internet and mail-order cigarette sales.
The ban, intended in part to prevent children from buying cigarettes
through the Internet, was approved by the State Legislature
in 2000, but never took effect. Two tobacco companies, Brown & Williamson and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco, a direct-order
cigarette business, successfully sought an injunction against the statute, and it was subsequently struck down by a federal judge in 2001 on constitutional grounds.
Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said the Federal District Court had erred in finding that the law violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The panel of Judges José A. Cabranes, Roger J. Miner and Rosemary S. Pooler said the ban applied equally to businesses in New York and elsewhere that did not engage in face-to-face sales. The court held that the state had legitimate reasons to justify the restriction, including the public-health goal of reducing tobacco consumption by imposing a heavy excise tax on cigarettes.
In June 2001, Judge Loretta A. Preska of Federal District Court in Manhattan
said the state had failed to seek less restrictive
The state attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, said the law would take effect
within a few days, after necessary documents were
Suffolk Votes to Ban Smoking, With a Grace Period of 3 Years
By Bruce Lambert
Suffolk County, which has a reputation for readily banning everything from detergents with phosphates to the release of balloons, is turning out to be less of a pioneer on curbing smoking.
Its County Legislature voted yesterday to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, but delayed the effective date until 2006. Bans in neighboring Nassau County and in New York City are to take effect in March.
The sponsor of the Suffolk law, Legislator Brian X. Foley, said that
the delay was a necessary compromise to gain the backing
of leaders from the bar and restaurant industry and to win the votes needed for passage.
Some bar and restaurant owners complained that they had already spent thousands of dollars for special ventilation to satisfy an earlier Suffolk law, and that they needed the continued patronage of smokers to pay off those investments.
The Suffolk legislators approved the ban in a 13-to-5 vote. County Executive
Robert J. Gaffney has not said if he will sign the
City Seeks to Recoup Tax Money From Internet Cigarette Vendors
By Diane Cardwell
Seeking to recoup millions of dollars in uncollected tax revenues, the city filed suit yesterday against several companies that sell cigarettes over the Internet but, the suit alleges, do not properly report the sales to the authorities.
Lawyers for the city said they believed it was the first time a locality
had taken such strong aim at Internet cigarette tax evasion.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that the suit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, was intended to punish companies
that advertise tax-free cigarette sales through the Internet.
One site, BuyDiscountCigarettes .com, advertises itself as selling cigarettes
tax-free because it is located on the Jemez Pueblo, a federally recognized
American Indian sovereign nation, it says. But Mr. Proshansky said that
non-Indians must still pay tax on
cigarettes bought there, and that the company should be filing reports of Internet sales.
"We file reports with appropriate taxing authorities," said Kai Gachupin,
the owner of a company that operates the site along
with four others named in the suit. Mr. Gachupin said that cigarettes were no different from other goods that are sold tax-free on the Internet.
NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note: We bold that statement for good reason. If govt. is going to go after one outlet/industry that sells items on-line and doesn't charge tax then they should be going after all of them. Otherwise, it's just part of the anti-smoking crusade and nothing more.
In Shift, Restaurant Group Backs Smoking Ban
By Al Baker
The New York State Restaurant Association, once a vociferous ally in the fight to allow smoking in bars and restaurants, reversed course today and vowed to push for a statewide ban on smoking in all places of employment.
The group's announcement, labeled historic by advocates of the tough new antismoking laws that are sweeping across counties in New York and states from Maine to California, immediately rekindled an antismoking proposal that died in disagreement during last year's legislative session.
But unlike that bill, which included exemptions to the ban, the goal
this year is to draft a bill that would entirely ban smoking in
everything from factories and state office buildings to restaurants and bowling alleys — anywhere people are employed, the
antismoking advocates said.
If passed as envisioned, the law would supersede local rules and be
stricter than any laws now on the books, including the one
set to take effect in New York City on March 30. Rick J. Sampson, the president of the restaurant association, said it would
create a "level playing field" for businesses by eliminating smoking as a draw for customers.
But another trade group, the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association, which represents 5,000 bars, restaurants and other businesses where alcohol is sold, still favors the more modest smoking rules in last year's bill.
"We support adoption of a reasonable restriction of smoking in our establishments,"
said Scott Wexler, the group's executive
It is unclear whether a bill that meets the Restaurant Association's goals will be drafted, proposed or passed.
Smoke in Suffolk, Revisited
Leading critics of a proposed ban on smoking in bars and restaurants
in Suffolk County now support a revised ban, the
measure's sponsor said yesterday. The agreement is expected to clear the way for the ban's adoption by the Count
Legislature at its next meeting, on Jan. 28.
"This is a breakthrough," said the sponsor of Suffolk's ban, Brian X.
Foley, a member of the County Legislature. He plans to
hold a news conference today in Hauppauge, where he said representatives of bars, taverns and restaurants would endorse the
The announcement did not specify how the bill would be changed, but Mr. Foley said that "the revisions do not in any way water down the intent."
As Smoking Ban Hits Jails, It's the Guards Who Worry
By Robert F. Worth
Some inmates in New York City's jails will soon face an additional punishment: no smoking.
Starting in March, the antismoking legislation signed last Monday by
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will go into effect. It will be
applied to jails as well as most bars, restaurants and city-owned buildings, city officials said Thursday.
The plan may be welcomed by those irritated by clouds of secondhand
smoke in cellblocks, but some prison guards say
removing nicotine from an already tense environment could cause trouble.
The move is likely to anger inmates as well as guards, said Capt. Peter
Meringolo, the president of the Correction Captains
Association, which has 950 members working in the city's jails.
"The inmates do use cigarettes as a form of stress relief," Captain
Meringolo said. "I am concerned about their reaction, and I
would hope there would be some area where the staff could smoke."
Norman Seabrook, the president of the New York City Correction Officers'
Benevolent Association, a union with 10,000
members, said: "I think this will cause officers to have some confrontations with inmates. I think correctional officers have a right
to smoke if they want to."
In a statement, the city's Department of Correction commissioner, Martin
F. Horn, said city lawyers were still studying the new
law, which mentions city-owned buildings but does not specify jails.
Dutchess and Orange Counties Will Enforce Smoking Rules
By Lisa W. Foderaro
Two counties in the Hudson Valley will begin enforcing new smoking restrictions in restaurants and workplaces on Wednesday.
The smoking bans enacted by Dutchess and Orange Counties are not as strict as the ones recently approved by New York City and Nassau County on Long Island, but they are causing a local furor all the same. The new smoking law in New York City is to go into effect March 30, and Nassau's is to start March 1.
Groups representing restaurants and bars in Orange and Dutchess Counties
have already filed federal lawsuits against their
The suit filed by the Dutchess/Putnam County Restaurant and Tavern Association
on Monday seeks to have the new law
overturned and declared unconstitutional. "It is overly vague and overly broad," said the lawyer representing the group, Kevin T. Mulhearn. "Its enforcement applications don't make sense."
The president of the association, Michael J. Leonard, who owns a restaurant
in Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County, said he
installed an exhaust system two years ago in his bar area, which is separate from the restaurant. Under the new county law,
smoking will be prohibited throughout his establishment, Greenbaum & Gilhooley's.
"It will be devastating to my business and to my smoking customers,"
he said. "It's totally unjust."
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OUR TROOPS FIGHT FOR FREEDOM WHILE OUR POLS RESTRICT IT
By Steve Dunleavy
LOOK at it this way - our troops are risking their lives for freedom.
Freedom from the brutal regime in Iraq, freedom for us at home to maintain those freedoms that so many have died for.
They fight so that those nitwits who staged a "die-in" on Fifth Avenue are free to demonstrate. They fight to maintain a freedom of choice in government, whether it's the freedom to join the Ku Klux Klan or freedom of choice for women.
Today as I remain smokeless at my hangout of Langan's bar, I feel that I have lost a small degree of freedom.
No question, being barred from smoking is trivial to some of the greater freedoms.
But history has shown that losses of small freedoms accrue and lead to others.
Can the collective Cromwellian claque in Albany and City Hall realize that banning smoking in bars and restaurants is banning a product that is legal?
This canard of second-hand smoke is just blue smoke and mirrors.
During the now infamous tobacco hearings, it had to be said that industry leaders lied through their teeth.
But the anti-smoking lobby used a carbon copy of those lies.
They constantly referred to "medical reports" where in fact there has not been one independent study into second-hand smoke.
Cross Fifth or Sixth Avenue behind a bus, get stuck in a New Jersey tunnel and tell me about our lungs.
Look, if you don't like a newspaper, don't buy it, if you don't like a television show, turn it off, if you don't like fast-food restaurants, don't eat there.
You want to support the war or oppose it. Go ahead, knock yourself out, support or oppose, that's what this country is all about.
But to suppress the freedom to smoke in a bar or a restaurant which is quite obviously up to the proprietor or the workers who have the choice to continue work or not, is mind-boggling.
Banning small freedoms begat bans on bigger ones, and that's not what this country was built on when they figured that taxation without representation was not a fair shake.
This ain't a fair shake.
MIKE: IT'LL ALL BLOW OVER
By Frankie Edozien and Angelina Cappiello
Mayor Bloomberg yesterday predicted that the furor over the city's
tough indoor smoking ban would soon peter out and that
everyone would just get used to it.
The law went into effect yesterday, but pub-crawlers kept lighting up, taking advantage of a one-month grace period before fines begin.
But some bar patrons insisted that Bloomberg was just blowing smoke.
Grace Garcia, 58, who was sipping some brew at the Playwrights Bar in Midtown, said the ban "sucks."
"Considering the stress level in the city, this restricts us from going out and relaxing."
Renee Calisano, 37, of Queens, concurred. "I think it's awful," he said. "Once you open the door for the government to take away your rights, they keep taking."
SMOKERS HECKLE MAYOR
By Stephanie Gaskell
Whose the biggest clown in town?
According to a few thousand people who attended the circus at Madison
Square Garden last night the answer is: the city's
cigarette-busting mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
Hizzoner was roundly heckled while serving as honorary ringmaster for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Circus at the Garden - hearing boos from a crowd that wanted to snuff out his butt ban.
"Smoking shouldn't be banned," said one of the hecklers, Laquesha Glen of Manhattan. "I can understand restaurants, but bars? Please, be real."
The worst moment for the mayor was when he introduced the clown Bello as "the greatest clown in the world" - only to hear wiseguys shout back "that's you!"
Bloomberg's office did not return a call for comment.
...AND GREED, TO BREED
Speaking of Albany, who says they can't walk and chew gum simultaneously?
Just last week, legislation passed the Assembly and Senate and was signed by Gov. Pataki.
And all on the same day!
What sort of issue could warrant such near-historic alacrity?
A state terrorism bill? Uh . . . no.
No, the winner is: A smoking ban.
The law not only goes beyond Gotham's tough new rules (which took effect last night), it exceeds those of every other state in the union.
Yet, amazingly, there was little opposition to the bill - even though, at the beginning of the week, upstate Senate Republicans chirped their outrage.
In the end, it seems, they didn't want to be on the wrong side of Senate
Majority Leader Joe Bruno, who has been pushing
this for a while: It sailed through the Senate with all Republicans on board.
And then Gov. Pataki signed it immediately - despite what he termed "concerns" about it.
Could he have first considered the bill's ramifications - for small businesses, the state's tourism industry, etc. - before deciding to sign?
No, that would be logical. More important, waiting might allow time for some real opposition - such as from his Conservative Party backers - to coalesce.
So - poof! The ban is now law.
This, folks, is what can be achieved when the lords of Albany actually set their minds to it.
Who cares that the budget will be late for the 19th consecutive year, and drive the state ever deeper in the red?
The worst budget crisis in state history, terrorism - these and many other critical issues can wait.
Albany's got other priorities.
And to hell with New Yorkers.
LAST LEGAL GASP FOR PUFFERS
By Hasani Gittens, Tatiana Deligiannakis and Erin Calabrese
The deadline for the city's anti-smoking ban came and went this morning - with defiant pub patrons continuing to puff away.
"I think it's completely irrelevant, especially when there's so many other things to worry about," said Wade St. Germaine, who lit up a cigarette at the East Village bar Supper well after the midnight deadline.
"Smoking helps relieve stress."
The city's anti-smoking law went into effect this morning at one minute past midnight, but bar-hoppers kept blazing up around the city, enjoying the start of a 30-day grace period before bartenders will be forced to extinguish smokers.
But John Conroy, 30, doesn't think 30 days is nearly enough.
"They will never stop smoking in Irish bars," Conroy said, enjoying a cig at a SoHo haunt. "A pint of Guinness and a smoke, that's their night out."
Mariana Bell, smoking at the Kettle of Fish in Chelsea, said the new law is "like Prohibition. It won't last."
One East Village bartender said city officials can fine her until they're blue in the face, but she'll never kick out a smoker - especially a civil servant.
She said she volunteered for the Red Cross after Sept. 11 and, "after talking to the people and hearing their experiences, if they want to come in here and smoke, I'll let them and I'll get fined and I'll pay for it out of my own pocket."
Customer Elizabeth Press wasn't smiling when she called the policy "fascism at its finest.
"More people die from obesity than second-hand smoke."
At the famous Cedar Tavern, where painter Jackson Pollock and writer Jack Kerouac used to hang out, Bruce Ferguson, 80, of Manhattan, legally sucked on a ciggy for the final time earlier in the day.
"This is the first time something I want to do is being taken away from me. I fought for this country's freedom for four years in World War II," he said, taking a drag on his cigarette.
He had three words for anti-smokers: "You people stink."
CIG BAN IS ASH-ININE
By Linda Stasi
GIVING a whole new meaning to the term oxymoron (or maybe just moronic), the city has agreed to a "smoking cooling-off" period. How you can be smokin' and cooling off at the same time no one knows, but they know they really mean it. Maybe it's like sex without heat.
In short, the new smoking laws the mayor shoved down our throats like grain in a paté duck will not be stringently enforced for 30 days.
However, what the dopey politicians never figured on when enforcing their wills against perfectly legal tobacco is that it is now cheaper - and safer - to get caught smoking pot.
Restaurant owners should be allowed to choose whether to have smoking or nonsmoking establishments - and we should be allowed to choose whether to go there or not. It's one thing to prohibit smoking in the workplace. We have to be there - but who's ever been forced to go to Le Cirque!? And no, I don't smoke anything. Well, not anymore.
EVEN OUTDOOR CAFES ARE BUTTING OUT
By Sam Smith
Many city bars and restaurants plan to make their sidewalk tables and chairs smoke-free - even though the new laws that kicked in last night permit up to 25 percent of licensed outdoor space to be set aside for smokers.
Owners and managers contacted by The Post said they thought it would be too hard to keep die-hard puffers corralled in the exempt space.
"It would be a management nightmare," said Guy Carpo, owner of Carpo's Café on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, who is making his entire outdoor seating area smoke-free.
"How do you explain to tourists who are unfamiliar with the laws only two tables can smoke? Then how do I decide who sits there?"
The city's smoking law, which covers nearly all public spaces, kicked in at 12:01 this morning. Tougher state laws - which rule out city exemptions like ventilated smoking rooms and owner-operated bars - come into force in about three months.
The state regulations include restricting cigarette company promotions in bars and clubs to two a year - three less than the city was prepared to allow.
That has caused a frenzy in the industry in recent days to secure promotional nights with the city's hippest venues, industry sources say.
GATHERING DUST INSTEAD OF ASHES
By Sam Smith
Ashtrays are a thing of the past in bars and restaurants as of last night, when the city's smoking ban went into effect.
As some souvenir-hunters sought out some higher-end models, with embossed
bar names and logos, workers at many bars and
restaurants were left wondering what to do with items made obsolete by the new law.
At 21, the restaurant's green marble ashtrays will go into storage.
"Prohibition ended. Maybe the smoking ban will end, too, and we'll be
able to use them again," said spokeswoman Diana
At L'Orto, a posh Italian restaurant in lower Manhattan, owners are brainstorming new uses for their stock of lead crystal ashtrays.
"Maybe use them to hold condiments or potpourri in the bathroom. Or maybe we'll put lottery tickets in one and bet on how long it takes to rescind the law.
GOING BUTT NAKED
By Adam Miller
Smoke-loving New Yorkers were hauling ash to their favorite bars and eateries across the Big Apple yesterday to enjoy some last puffs before it's lights out for lighting up with drinks or after meals.
Tonight, at the stroke of midnight, the city's highly controversial ban on smoking in bars and restaurants goes into effect - and there's no butts about it.
At Muldoon's bar on East 43rd Street, smokers were savoring some last gasps - and burning over the ban.
In between puffs, Paz Ulseth, 27, said the city's ban can kiss his ash.
"I think it sucks," fumed Ulseth, a flight attendant from Manhattan.
"It's not right. The city's taking away one of our freedoms. It's outrageous. I love smoking. I find it so relaxing."
Glen Barrack, 31, of Manhattan, said the ban should go up in smoke.
"It's ridiculous," said Barrack as he puffed away with his buddy, Troy Hedien.
"It's going to really hurt business at these bars and restaurants. The city should stop the ban before it starts."
Hedien, 37, said the city deserves a major butt-kicking for smoking out smoking.
"The ban is awful," said Hedien.
"It's wrong. And the bars and restaurants are really going to suffer as a result."
Muldoon's manager Tom Downey added: "It's very upsetting. We're going to lose a lot of business. I can guarantee that."
To enforce the ban, a dozen cigarette cops will patrol bars and restaurants.
Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg yesterday defended the ban - and said that
most bar and restaurant owners "secretly don't
NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note: Just like the "literal" 1000 people he says have died each year from secondhand smoke, he KNOWS what most bar and restaurant owners want. Give us the names of the dead or the owners that agree with you or stop lying Mr. Mayor.
By Kenneth Lovett and Stephanie Gaskell
Gov. Pataki yesterday reluctantly signed a stringent statewide ban on smoking in public places - just minutes after the Legislature overwhelmingly passed the controversial measure.
The statewide ban will supercede the Big Apple's own smoking law - which is set to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday - and kill some of the exemptions in the city ordinance.
Pataki spokeswoman Lisa Stoll said that while the governor has reservations about the bill, he signed it super quick "because he believes a statewide ban on smoking in the workplace will lead to a healthier New York and will reduce the cost of health care for New Yorkers."
The law, which is one of the toughest of its kind in the country, goes into effect 119 days from today and effectively outlaws smoking in almost all public places.
Exemptions exist for private homes, personal automobiles, hotel rooms, retail tobacco businesses, existing cigar bars, and outdoor areas of restaurants with no roofs.
Separately enclosed rooms of residential health-care and adult facilities are exempt, as well as volunteer organizations with no employees - like an American Legion Hall.
Steve Salvesen, an architect with R.I.P. Construction in lower Manhattan, has been hired by six bars to build special smoking rooms.
"It's just another case of one hand not knowing what the other's doing," he said.
"I think that it's kind of sad that a city agency would be overrun by a state agency, especially when people have spent their hard-earned money to retain professional services and then at the last minute a new law which overrides the underlying law screws everybody."
Salvesen said he spoke to two of his clients yesterday and they're "pretty hell-bent over it."
Opponents complained the bill is too restrictive, infringes on people's rights, and has too many inconsistencies.
HOLY SMOKE! NOW MIKE WANTS A STATEWIDE BAN
By Kenneth Lovett and Stephanie Gaskell
Even as the city granted a grace period in enforcing its new smoking ban, Mayor Bloomberg yesterday came out in support of a tougher statewide prohibition on smoking in public places.
Bloomberg spokesman Ed Skyler told The Post yesterday the mayor supports the controversial bill expected to be acted on by both houses of the state Legislature today.
Unlike the city law, the state bill would not allow smoking in small bars where the owners are the only employees.
FUMING SMOKERS HAUL ASH TO JERSEY
By Sam Smith
In one last gasp of protest against the upcoming smoking ban, smokers are taking their butts to Hoboken.
The group CLASH, Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, will congregate across the Hudson River at midnight next Saturday, one minute before Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban takes effect.
(NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note: Appreciate the publicity but the reported event time is inaccurate. Cocktail hour begins 5PM on Sunday, March 30th)
"We're going where smokers are accommodated equally," said head CLASHer Audrey Silk. "This city is hurting for money. Well, we're going to take ours somewhere else."
The "Bye Bye Bloomberg Bash," as the group is calling it, will take place at Frankie and Johnnie's Steakhouse, a former Hoboken speakeasy, and will feature speakers and, probably, a lot of smoking.
Another protest, a mass walkout from Big Apple bars onto sidewalks to coincide with the start of the ban at 12:01 a.m. next Sunday, is being discussed by city bar owners and will be decided upon Tuesday.
City officials will unveil further details of their plan this week to enforce the new smoking ban, and how the new detail of a dozen cigarette cops will patrol bars and restaurants.
Pipe dreams for smokers
IT seems that smokers here in the city are hoping for a last-minute reprieve. The rumor among restaurant owners is that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will delay his strong-arm anti-smoking tactics for 60 to 90 days before the new laws kick in. "It apparently would be for economic reasons and the war," says our source. "I mean, really - New Yorkers can't not smoke in wartime." But a representative for the mayor says it's all wishful thinking, declaring, "The ban starts March 30."
CLUB OWNERS HUFF AND PUFF TO OVERTURN CIG BAN
By Sam Smith
With 13 days remaining before they pack up their ashtrays, some club and bar owners are still hoping to stub out the city's smoking ban.
At least three clubs are planning legal action, seeking exemptions to the new law because of their member-only status.
Other businesses, under the umbrella organization New York Nightlife Association, are considering a lawsuit against the city based on the lack of an environmental review before it was adopted.
A similar action is already under way in Nassau County, where smoking bans kicked in at the beginning of this month.
The three member-only clubs seeking exemptions are the Players Club, a 110-year-old establishment on Gramercy Park South; the Down Town Association; and the swanky Union Club on the Upper East Side.
Attorney Richard Farley, who is representing the clubs, said, "There has been long-held recognition that, in private places, there is limited government rights to go in and start regulating.
Farley said the member-only clubs also are interested in New York Nightlife Association's contention that an environmental review is required.
JORDAN'S MAY BE ONLY ONE TO BEAT BUTT BAN
By Braden Keil
The air may truly be rarefied at Michael Jordan's The Steakhouse in Grand Central Terminal, once New York City's smoking ban begins March 30.
After The Post's report on Sunday that a legal loophole left Grand Central's restaurants and bars exempt from the city smokeout, Metropolitan Transportation Authority czar Peter Kalikow issued an order requiring all tenants to comply with the clean-air rules.
Yesterday, leaseholders at Grand Central and Penn Station received official notice of the restriction from the MTA.
"The provisions of your lease requires you to abide by New York City's laws, as well as New York state law," the letter said.
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, Kalikow said, "Adopting New York City's anti-smoking legislation at our [city] facilities makes sense and avoids confusion . . . MTA customers, employees and employees of retail establishments in our facilities are entitled to enjoy the health benefit of a smoke-free environment."
But the MTA decree, legal experts say, won't apply to Michael Jordan's.
A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled in 1999 that the city could not enforce anti-smoking regulations against Michael Jordan's because the weaker state law superseded city law. The decision applied only to Jordan's.
Jordan's owner Peter Glazier had no comment on his possible status as the only restaurateur in the city who can still invite his patrons to light up.
When asked about the Jordan's exception, MTA spokesperson Tom Kelly said, "We would expect them to comply."
But the restaurant is not compelled to comply.
The 1999 court case arose after a city inspector determined that the eatery had exceeded the number of seats by the bar at which smoking was permitted, then issued the restaurant 12 summonses alleging Jordan's violated the Clean Air Act.
The MTA even joined in the suit with Jordan's to argue for the tenant's rights against the city. It was a slam-dunk decision for the restaurant.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Stanley L. Sklar ruled that Michael Jordan's "served a transportation purpose and that its lease with the MTA could exempt it from city regulations."
"Under the lease, we had a right to smoke, and the city challenged that right," Jordan's attorney told The Post in an earlier interview.
"And we were successful in convincing the court that we weren't subject to the city smoking regulations."
One Grand Central restaurateur, who requested anonymity, said he expects lawsuits by the other non-exempt businesses could arise against the MTA, if a New York state law, now being drafted, isn't passed in Albany soon after the city ban goes into effect as expected.
'GRAND' PLAN TO SNUFF SMOKES
By Kenneth Lovett and Braden Keil
By the end of the month, the only puffing at Grand Central Terminal will be done by trains, if two state lawmakers have their way.
Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-L.I.) and Assemblyman Alexander Grannis (D-Manhattan) are planning to introduce legislation that would close a loophole in city law designed to prohibit smoking at restaurants.
Since Grand Central is state property, the law now exempts eateries there.
Fuschillo and Grannis said their bill would make the state's smoking laws as tough as the city's.
Gov. Pataki has said that he would support a statewide smoking ban but first wants to see the specific language in the bill.
And the New York State Restaurant Association has issued a statement saying it endorses a smoking ban "in all workplaces including restaurants, taverns, bars and private clubs."
Julie Canfield, a spokeswoman for Grannis, said, "We're very close on the language. The law itself would be as strong if not stronger than New York City."
But Canfield noted there could be exemptions in a state bill to allow - as city law does - smoking in cigar bars and tobacco shops.
THE 'GRAND' PLACE TO SMOKE
By Braden Keil, Sam Smith and Sarah Gilbert
Grand Central Terminal is set to become a smokers' oasis on March 30, when the city's ban on smoking in bars and restaurants is scheduled to kick in.
The famed station's establishments - which are leased out by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority - have special status because the building is run by the state agency, giving it statutory immunity from outside regulation.
And that includes Mayor Bloomberg's tobacco patrol, authorities confirmed to The Post.
In anticipation of their windfall, proprietors from the seven eateries and bars with liquor licenses inside the terminal - including Michael Jordan's The Steak House, the Campbell Apartment and a branch of Cipriani's - are gearing up to take full advantage of their unique status.
"They are exempt because it's a state building," said Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the MTA, which operates the terminal and holds a 110-year lease from Penn Central.
City health officials who are enforcing the ban also confirmed the train station's smoking status.
"The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene does not regulate establishments that are on state property," said department spokeswoman Sandra Mullin.
"Due to the exemption, we are going to make a sizable portion of the restaurant a smoking section," declared James Chapman, a spokesman for the terminal's Cipriani Dolci.
Chapman said a smaller section, once cordoned off for smokers, will soon be set aside for nonsmokers.
A representative of nearby Metrazur said the restaurant is planning to host cigar nights, while the terminal's Oyster Bar, which permits smoking in its saloon and bar, said it expected its clientele to double after April 1.
Bloomberg spokesman Jordan Barowitz said the city has no plans to pursue litigation against the state's rule.
That's likely due to the fact that Grand Central's special status was confirmed by the Manhattan Supreme Court in 1999, after city officials tried to make the terminal's Michael Jordan's The Steak House comply with city anti-smoking laws and ban its smoking section because of the open configuration of the restaurant.
Instead, the owners won in a decision that ruled that state law superseded the tougher city law in the landmark building.
"Under the lease, we had the right to smoke, and the city challenged that right," said Mark Rottenberg, an attorney for Michael Jordan's told The Post. "And we were successful in convincing the court that we weren't subject to the city smoking regulations."
VAGUE RULES LEAVE ROOM FOR ERROR
By Sam Smith
With 21 days until Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban, bars and restaurants
who want to build a special smokers' room say
they're being left in the dark by the city about the new regulations.
Under the new law, which takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 30, all establishments regulated by the city must be smoke-free, unless they build a self-contained room.
But those who are considering the option are finding a mess of confusing building regulations, uncooperative bureaucrats, and a price tag that could send their profits up in smoke.
"It's $20,000 minimum to build one," said architect Steve Salvesen of R.I.P. Construction Consultants, which is working with six downtown bars on smoking room plans.
Splash, on West 17th, plans to convert a coat-check room into a smoking chamber. But because of confusing building specs, it won't be ready in time for the ban, said owner Brian Landeche.
"There's a lot of mystery on the amount of air that needs to be pulled out and pushed into the room," he said. "You can't get information from [the city]. The only way you find out a lot of times is to go ahead and build it and wait for an inspector to come in."
Langan's, on West 47th, has been trying to get answers from the Health Department since January about rules over building materials.
"The last correspondence we got [from the department] was six weeks ago, and they said they didn't have any answers at that time," said owner Des O'Brien. "We started this back in January so we'd have the 10 weeks to get it done. That 10 weeks has evaporated."
Meanwhile, Bar None in the East Village has a smoking room already under construction - to stop smokers congregating on the sidewalk. But manager Pam Schon said building work is being hampered because the city's smoking room specs are confusing and vague and "no one is committing to say what the laws are."
The Health Department says it has supplied appropriate information, but that regulations aren't yet finalized for the new law and if bars want more clarification they will have to wait until then.
CHEF'S ROUNDABOUT SOLUTION: GET ON THE BUS
By Braden Keil
Top chef Daniel Boulud has come up with a novel scheme for anyone who wants to puff after a meal at his four-star eatery come March 30 - he'll send them riding around the block in a fancy bus.
"There is no ban on smoking on a private bus," said the award-winning chef.
Boulud, one of the more creative culinary figures in the world, has a vision of a luxury trailer that could be parked outside his Upper East Side restaurant, Daniel.
"They could retreat to this cozy, decadent den to smoke to their hearts' content . . . with some excellent cognac, of course," said Boulud.
"The luxury smoking salon on wheels could even travel from restaurant-to-restaurant
to accommodate stranded smokers
shivering on the cold sidewalks," he said.
The chef's street lounge would be a self-service operation with ashtrays that emptied automatically, and stocked with the finest aperitifs, hors d'oeuvres, cigarettes and cigars. Of course, the driver's side would have to be enclosed from the smoky main cabin.
The zany idea could even attract sponsorship from tobacco companies and luxury car manufacturer, said the chef.
"Then all we would need is the parking permit," Boulud said.
Lois Freedman, general manager of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurants, also had the idea of a mobile smoking salon.
At this point, the van is just an idea. "It's a concept we may explore in the future," she said.
FUMING OVER A FINE MESS
By Stephanie Gaskell
Bar and restaurant owners were fuming yesterday after learning health inspectors will only issue tickets to them and not to smokers who light up in violation of the upcoming ban.
"The law makes it clear that we're both liable," Rob Bookman, attorney for the New York Nightlife Association, said during a final public hearing yesterday before the law takes effect March 30.
"If a Health Department inspector comes in and tickets us because five people are smoking, they better give tickets to those five people, too," Bookman added.
Health Department spokeswoman Sandra Mullin said that won't happen.
"The onus to comply with the law is on operators," she said. "Notices of violation will be issued against operators who permit smoking, not customers."
Like the previous 1995 smoking law, the new ban affecting virtually all public spaces allows inspectors to slap a $100 fine on people caught smoking in off-limits areas.
"We did not exercise this aspect of the 1995 law and do not intend to begin this practice now," Mullin said.
"The intent of the law was to have enforcement focus on the owners," said City Council member Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), who chairs the Health Committee. "The target is going to be places that flagrantly thumb their nose at the law."
BUTT BUSTERS HIRED FOR ANTI-SMOKE LAW
By Stephanie Gaskell
Call them the "Butt Cops."
The city Health Department is hiring a dozen inspectors for special nighttime duty to enforce the city's tough new smoking ban - which is just weeks away, The Post has learned.
The tobacco inspectors - called "environmental technicians" - will bolster the force of 100 health inspectors who work daytime hours, said spokeswoman Sandra Mullin.
"The law goes into effect on March 30 and on March 30 we're going to begin enforcing the law," she said.
The new evening enforcers are not licensed health inspectors - but have the power to issue smoking and other health code summonses, Mullin said. They will earn $13 an hour, she said, a little less than regular health inspectors.
The new law, which takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 30, bans smoking in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants.
Critics have argued that the law will be very tough to enforce. But officials say they're ready and business owners should be, too.
"We will be enforcing the law," Mullin said.
The law provides exemptions for cigar bars and for bars or restaurants that are operated entirely by their owners - as long as there are no more than three of them. The law also allows businesses to build special smoking rooms.
Only business owners will receive tickets. Customers who smoke are not liable. Fines start at $200 for the first offense and jump as high as $2,000 for the third offense.
NY C.L.A.S.H. Note: The reporter is mistaken. The law states that smokers can be fined $100 for each incident.
NASSAU SMOKERS GET BUTT-KICKING
By Lisa Pulitzer and Cynthia R. Fagen
It was lights out for lighting up in Nassau County yesterday.
The state's most stringent workplace smoking ban went into effect, prohibiting smokers from lighting up in public places, including restaurants and bars.
The controversial new public-health law is being met with mixed reactions.
While proponents are breathing a sigh of relief, bar and restaurant owners worry their businesses will go up in smoke, driving customers to cross the border into Suffolk, where the ban does not go into effect until 2006.
By Kati Cornell Smith
The feds yesterday charged six smugglers who slipped at least 35 million fake Marlboros onto an upstate Indian reservation, where they were sold as the real deal, authorities said.
The bogus butts, made in China, were passed off as Marlboros at two
Cattaraugus Reservation tobacco shops - Double D
Smokeshop and the Iroquois Tobacco Co. - and through a Web site. [Smokemcheap.com]
MAYOR MIKE'S HALL MONITORS
Responding to the City Council's decision to override Mayor Bloomberg's veto and pass a bill banning cell phones in theaters, Hizzoner's press secretary, Ed Skyler, had this to say:
"Considering the challenges facing the city, we think our law-enforcement officers should spend their time keeping New Yorkers safe instead of raiding movie theaters."
But many cops won't be able to make it to the theater, anyway. They'll be too busy patrolling city bars and restaurant, looking for that ultimate evil-doer: the cigarette smoker. This, at a time of heightened concern about terrorism.
It looks like Mayor Mike isn't all that much better than the council, when it comes to deploying cops for the important stuff - like protecting New Yorkers from the real bad guys, the criminals and terrorists.
The council should've heeded the logic in Skyler's words.
And maybe his boss should've, too.
SPITZER VS. N.Y.
By William Tucker
STATE Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has made his choice. Given the option of supporting trial lawyers or the people of New York, Spitzer has gone with the trial lawyers.
Last Monday, Spitzer filed a motion in New York's Appellate Division opposing the effort by State Supreme Court Judge Charles Ramos to open an investigation on whether six law firms that represented New York in the 1998 tobacco settlement deserved fees of $625 million.
The judge wants the fees deposited in an escrow account controlled by the state. If they are indeed excessive, he says, the state might be entitled to some of this money.
For a state facing a $12 billion deficit, $625 million is nothing to sneeze at. But Spitzer disagrees. As the state's chief litigator, he has come down firmly on the side of the lawyers.
Here's how it happened.
The tobacco lawsuits, as you may recall, involved the claim by 46 states against the tobacco companies for alleged "excess" Medicaid costs incurred by people who smoke cigarettes. A 1998 Master Settlement Agreement awarded the states $246 billion, to be paid over the next 25 years. New York's share: $25 billion.
In fact, a 1997 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found there are no "excess Medicaid costs." In cold, harsh terms, a smoker who dies of lung cancer at 65 costs Medicaid less than a healthy individual who spends his or her last four years in a nursing home. Long-term care is Medicaid's fastest growing expense.
At bottom, the tobacco settlement was just a novel and easy way for states to raise money.
Judge Ramos is a lawyer with a conscience. Last June, when the settlement came before him for routine approval, he blinked. $625 million! Isn't that a rather large amount for a case that never went to trial? Is it possible that the state might be entitled to some of that money? The judge decided to conduct his own investigation.
But when Ramos asked the attorney general's office to participate, Spitzer turned him down.
JAIL GUARDS: SMOKE BAN IS UN-KOOL
By Frankie Edozien
City inmates are about to lose one of their few privileges - smoking.
Corrections Commissioner Martin Horn announced yesterday that Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban will be put into effect in city jails, beginning April 1.
Fearing prisoner unrest, Horn said the upcoming ban is one of the reasons his agency needs a new $120 million punitive unit.
Horn testified at a City Council hearing that tight living space could cause inmates to be edgy and misbehave.
That surprised Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn), the chair of the Fire & Criminal Justice Services Committee.
"Just as an aside, are you going to be offering [smoking] cessation programs?" she asked.
The smoking ban didn't sit well with the corrections officers union, which is considering a lawsuit to block it from being enacted.
POLS OK CIG BILL TO BAN SUFFOLK-ATING SMOKE
Joining their neighbors to the west, Suffolk County legislators yesterday passed a ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants, beginning in 2006.
The measure, which passed by a vote of 13-5, is similar to smoking bans recently enacted in New York City and Nassau County.
Suffolk County Executive Robert Gaffney said he had not yet decided whether to sign the measure into law.
Suffolk's implementation of the smoking ban would not be fully realized until 2006, as part of a legislative compromise.
BONDED TO SMOKERS
By Nicole Gelinas
GOV. Pataki wants to plug part of New York state's growing budget deficit by selling bonds backed by future revenues from our share of the national tobacco settlement.
He also wants folks to quit smoking.
He can't have it both ways.
Tobacco bonds add a new twist of hypocrisy to the 1998 deal between 46 states and the Big Four cigarette firms.
New York state, in theory, wants people to stop smoking. "We are sending a clear message not to smoke," state Health Commissioner Antonia Novello said in 2001 as she touted the increasing number of people who have called the state-run quitters' hotline.
She should stop working so hard.
Investment bankers and ratings analysts are explicit about the fact that the success of tobacco-backed bonds hinges upon the public's continued inability to quit.
MIKE CASTS DRAG 'NET
By John Lehmann and David Seifman
Mayor Bloomberg has launched a new attack in his war on smoking, hitting cigarette pirates with federal racketeering charges.
City lawyers charge out-of-state operators have devised a "massive tax-evasion scheme" by selling smokes over the Internet and dodging millions of dollars in taxes.
The city is suing the owners of 15 Web sites for more than $15 million - three times the amount it claims it has lost in unpaid taxes.
SMOKING BAN IGNITES LAWSUIT
A group of Poughkeepsie-area restaurant and tavern owners has filed a lawsuit in federal court, saying a new smoking ban is unconstitutional.
The Dutchess County legislature passed a law in September that will take effect today banning smoking in restaurants (bar areas and dining rooms), bingo halls, bowling alleys and work places. Bars or taverns that generate 60 percent or more of their gross income from selling alcohol would be excluded and could still allow smoking.
"The heart of the lawsuit is the vagueness and overbreadth of the law," said Kevin Mulhearn, the attorney representing the restaurant and tavern owners. "It was a very poorly drafted statute."
The suit asks a judge to declare the law unconstitutional and keep the
county from enacting or enforcing it.
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Beating butts ban
City's few tobacco bars a haven for smokers
By Fernanda Santos
Andrew Gordon took a deep drag from a Gitanes Blondes, then puffed small
circles into the smoky air of a swanky SoHo
"This is an after-work ritual I won't have to quit," Gordon, 32, of
the upper West Side said Friday night, his body sunk deep
into a squishy velvet chair at Circa Tabac on Watts St.
The citywide butts ban that began yesterday eliminated smoking in almost every bar and restaurant - but there's a handful of places where it's still legal to light up.
"Tobacco bars" like Circa Tabac - usually in the form of cigar bars - are one of the rare exemptions to the city's anti-smoking law and a more stringent state regulation that is set to go into effect July 23.
State may ease up on smoke law
By Nicole Bode, Joe Mahoney and Lisa L. Colangelo
Take a deep breath, smokers: The state's new butts ban may not be as tough as it looks.
State lawmakers, who pushed through one of the nation's most stringent smoking laws last week, are considering changes that would broaden exemptions for some hard-hit businesses, officials said yesterday.
State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer) is willing to look at amendments to the law before it takes effect in July, spokesman John McArdle said.
Meanwhile, it was a tough first day in the city for New Yorkers who just wanted a drink and a smoke.
An unhappy Nelson Ala stood in the cold rain last night as he puffed a cigarette outside the Molly Wee pub on Eighth Ave.
"I completely forgot about it and then I noticed there were no ashtrays," said the 33-year-old guitarist from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. "I just kept thinking Bloomberg is probably the worst mayor ever."
State butts in on bars
New law snuffs out special smoking rooms
By Fernanda Santos, Kerry Burke and Maki Becker
At 10 minutes to midnight, Carlo Schiano, the manager of the boutique
bar Pianos on Ludlow St. in the East Village, turned
off the music and announced: "Last call for smoking."
He was greeted with boos and catcalls. Still, at 12:01 a.m. today, when the city's ban on smoking in all workplaces went into effect, his bartenders picked up the ashtrays and asked everyone to snuff out their cigarettes.
Many patrons walked out. One defiant couple continued to puff away beneath a "No Smoking" sign.
"I don't agree with it, but it's the law," Schiano shrugged.
The other bars on Ludlow seemed more hazy in their response to the ban.
"I came out specifically to smoke my brains out," said Matt Skiba, 24, a Manhattan musician who was with friends at Max Fish where the air was thick with the familiar smell of tobacco both before and after midnight.
"I don't even smoke, but I'm smoking tonight for freedom," said Skiba's friend, Matthew Rasenick, 23, a playwright from Brooklyn.
Many bar owners had hoped to skirt the city smoking ban, which allowed establishments to offer patrons a separately ventilated smoking room until 2006 and permitted smoking in small bars where the owners are the only employees.
But the plans fell apart last week when the state suddenly passed an even tougher measure that outlawed the smoking rooms and nixed exemptions.
Smokers at Lee's Blah Blah Lounge will instead have to make do with one small patio table - the only smoking area that the Park Slope watering hole can offer under the state ban, which goes into effect July 23.
"I'm not even sure it makes sense to have just one table for smokers," Lee said. "You run the risk of having a bunch of people fighting for it."
A provision allowing bars and restaurants to set aside 25% of outdoor space for smokers remains in effect.
With smokers focused on Sunday's expected start of the city's new, too-tough anti-smoking law, Albany surprised everyone Wednesday by overriding it with even stricter rules. The state law makes the city's version look like a puffer's dream. And it was adopted with zero public discussion.
Typical Albany. They take 30 years to fix the city's schools. They haven't had a timely budget in a generation. But they pass the nation's most restrictive smoking ban in a single day with no debate.
The legislation was fast-tracked through the state Senate and Assembly by Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Speaker Sheldon Silver, respectively. Within minutes, it was signed, sealed and delivered by Gov. Pataki. The message to the public: Butt(s) out.
The law forbids smoking indoors everywhere but in private homes and private cars. No restaurants, no bars, no offices, no stores, no nuttin'. Even the paltry few exceptions in the city law are gone.
Compare this with how Mayor Bloomberg went about it. He introduced his smoking plan in August, and the City Council didn't vote until December. In between, while Bloomberg took the political heat, there were hot debates and Council hearings. Amendments were offered, and a compromise was reached.
Similar results, but vastly different processes. The city seeks input, Albany shuns it. The public should huff and puff. Any smokers fuming at Bloomberg should direct some of their understandable anger at Messrs. Pataki, Bruno and Silver - who seem to have forgotten that taking the public's pulse is part of public health.
By George, butt out
Gov signs tough workplace smoking ban
By Lisa L. Colangelo and Joe Mahoney
Gov. Pataki signed a law yesterday that would ban smoking in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and virtually all other workplaces across the state.
The landmark measure - even tougher than the restrictions set to go into effect in New York City on Sunday - would give the state one of the strongest anti-smoking laws in the country. The state law is set to go into effect July 23.
Joe Conway, a spokesman for the governor, said Pataki signed the law - overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature - despite some reservations.
When smoke clears on Sunday, look for new kinds of hot spots
By Joe Dziemianowicz
The walls came tumbling down last week at Happy Ending.
Actually it was the Broome St. bar's stainless steel wall coverings. Drywall has replaced the shiny metal surfaces, and it will be painted a soothing shade of tan.
The makeover isn't a redecorating whim to celebrate spring. It's a strategic move aimed at survival.
Mayor Bloomberg's tough new smoking ban wafts into effect at 12:01 a.m.
Sunday. At that precise moment, it will be illegal
to smoke in nearly all New York City bars, restaurants and other public haunts and hangouts.
These establishments rack up $10.1 billion annually, and businesses are taking measures - some very costly - to keep the city's 1 million tobacco tokers happy.
"We've closed our kitchen and are converting it into a smoking room," says Happy Endings' owner Oliver Pihlar, 30, who is determined to give puffing patrons a place to indulge.
"Smoking and drinking go hand in hand. You have to take that seriously.
Smokers will find out which places have a smoking
room and which ones don't. News will spread like wildfire."
Light 'em if you got 'em
Smoking ban fines to start May 1
By Lisa L. Colangelo
They may not be able to breathe easy, but smokers and bar owners learned yesterday they will have a 30-day grace period on the city's new butts ban.
Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said inspectors will not start handing out summonses until May 1 - even though the law kicks in Sunday morning.
But he said bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and other workplaces covered by the smoking ban shouldn't view the temporary reprieve as a free pass.
"If [there are] repeated complaints or violations in the month of April, we will prioritize that establishment for inspection and monitoring starting on May 1," he said.
What a drag, Mike
Bar owners fuming over smoke rules
By Paul H.B. Shin
Smoke 'em if you got 'em - but be prepared to take it outside.
Mayor Bloomberg's tough new smoking ban in all bars and restaurants - plus just about every other public hangout in the city - kicks in at 12:01 a.m. March 30.
Sounds simple enough.
But for owners of the city's estimated 13,000 restaurants, cafes, saloons and other spots newly covered by the order, digesting the 21 pages of rules is no easy task.
There are some limited exemptions allowed by the Health Department, but most apply to small bars run by nonprofit groups or mom-and-pop taverns with no employees.
Some bar owners can install ventilated smoking rooms, but only until Jan. 2, 2006.
Even the handful of eating places in state-owned transit hubs such as Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station, which were counting on being exempt, were told to comply with the city law.
That leaves smokers such as Audrey Silk fuming.
"This is really not about second-hand smoke, but making smoking socially unacceptable," said Silk, founder of Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, which is marking the first day of the city's smoking ban with a bash at Frankie and Johnnie's Steakhouse in Hoboken.
Grand Central smoke ban on board
It's butts out all over New York City - even at Grand Central Terminal.
By Lisa L. Colangelo and Pete Donohue
Restaurants and bars in the historic hub - which smokers had hoped would be a last bastion from the city's new smoking ban - got the word yesterday that they'll have to comply with the law as of March 30.
Some had thought Grand Central - as well as Penn Station and airports - would be exempt from city health regulations because they're owned by the state. But Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Peter Kalikow snuffed out the possibility.
"MTA customers, employees and employees of retail establishments in our facilities are entitled to enjoy the health benefit of a smoke-free environment," he said.
Even Michael Jordan's The Steak House N.Y.C. appears subject to the ban, despite indications of a lease loophole, an MTA spokesman said.
Fabio Schiattarella of Cipriani Dolci was stunned by the MTA's position. He said the restaurant's owners were "looking into" how complying with the ban might affect business.
The edict also applies to businesses that lease space at Penn Station.
A Port Authority official said he expects the agency to enforce the ban at area airports and Port Authority bus terminal.
If you didn't see this one coming, get thee to an optometrist: Philip Morris is going to quit the city. Taking about 700 jobs with it. At a time when the city is desperate to retain jobs. For this, you can thank Mayor Bloomberg and his ferocious new anti-smoking policy, despite denials from the company and City Hall that the two events are related.
The smoking ban, which goes into effect March 30, prohibits lighting up just about everywhere except in your own car and your own home. The mayor, in his passion to protect us from bad habits, would brook no exceptions to his rule.
The NO SMOKING sign was going to be lit in Philip Morris' corporate headquarters on Park Ave., offices where employees are now permitted to smoke even at their desks. And why shouldn't they have that option? The company makes cigarettes, for pete's sake. Cigarettes, despite the animosity they engender in certain quarters, are still a legal commodity.
When the city instituted its first smoke-free restrictions in 1995, Philip Morris started packing its bags, and it was granted an exemption. Not this time. Mike the White Knight, astride his high horse, will drive the Marlboro Man out of Dodge, er, Manhattan.
And while corporate spokesmen say the timing of the decision is merely coincidence, coming 101 years after Philip Morris was founded in New York and weeks before the new nonsmoking law starts, it has to be one of the more amazing coincidences. But believe what you will.
The fact remains: 700 jobs will be gone like a puff of smoke.
Grand Central lights up
By Kerry Burke and Maki Becker
Grab your butts and head for Grand Central Terminal.
Come April 1, when a citywide ban on smoking in workplaces goes into effect, bars and restaurants in the historic 1913 structure may be just about the only public place in town where smokers can light up.
"I'm happy I can smoke in Grand Central," declared Pino Papi, 58, a Westchester wine seller, in between drags on his cigarette at Cipriani Dolci at the transportation hub last night. "I'll be back."
Grand Central is exempt from Mayor Bloomberg's much-touted smoking ban because it's a New York State landmark, city officials said yesterday.
"It's not subject to the New York City Department of Health," said Health Department spokeswoman Sandra Mullin.
Of course, people still won't be able to puff away in the concourse, officials said.
James Chapman, general manager of of Cipriani Dolci, said his establishment
already has begun making arrangements to
accommodate a rush of smokers.
"We are happy to offer this service to our guests," Chapman said. "Due to the exemption, we are going to make a sizeable portion of our restaurant a smoking section."
A manager at the Oyster Bar, who declined to give his name, said the restaurant planned to continue allowing smoking as well.
"We are going to maintain the status quo," he said.
Hitting the tobacco road
By Nancy Dillon
Tobacco giant Philip Morris USA announced yesterday it will end its century-long relationship with New York City and move its corporate headquarters to Richmond, Va.
The relocation, described as a cost-cutting measure and reported in yesterday's Daily News, will affect all 682 Philip Morris employees now working at 120 Park Ave., the headquarters building owned by parent company Altria Group.
Altria, formerly Philip Morris Inc., said it plans to keep its 750 employees in the 26-story Park Avenue tower.
"We anticipate the move will generate annual savings in excess of $60 million," said Philip Morris spokesman Brendan McCormick. "We plan to complete the move by June 2004."
The decision to relocate also follows passage of Mayor Bloomberg's new Smoke-Free Air Act, which will outlaw smoking in most bars, restaurants and workplaces starting March 30.
Philip Morris denied the smoking ban played a roll, but outsiders said it didn't help.
"Some Philip Morris employees won't shed any tears leaving New York given the recent moves of the [Bloomberg] administration," said Martin Feldman, tobacco analyst at Merrill Lynch.
Philip Morris to quit city
Mayor's smoking ban seen behind Va. move
By Nancy Dillon
With Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban set to roll out March 30, cigarette maker Philip Morris USA is looking to pack up and leave Manhattan.
"It's pretty much a done deal," said one source familiar with the tobacco giant's plan.
"You could argue that the Mayor drove [Philip Morris USA] out," said a stock analyst who asked to remain anonymous.
Philip Morris USA vocally opposed Bloomberg's Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002. Not only does the new law stand to choke consumption of Philip Morris cigarettes in city bars, restaurants and work places, it will also overrule a Philip Morris policy that allows staffers to smoke freely at their desks.
The Mayor's office declined to comment.
Back in 1995, Philip Morris threatened to leave Manhattan when the first Smoke-Free Air Act outlawed smoking in most office buildings and restaurants seating more than 35 people. But the city relented, granting Philip Morris an exemption.
With a move to Virginia, "employees may once again be able to smoke in their offices," wrote Salomon Smith Barney analyst Bonnie Herzog in a report.
Gov plan up in smoke
Alison Gendar and Celeste Katz
Gov. Pataki has given up on borrowing money against promised tobacco settlement cash to balance this year's state budget - saying the Assembly won't drop its opposition.
Internet smokes put out for good
By Robert Gearty and William Sherman
Internet sales of tax-free cigarettes in New York State went up in smoke yesterday after a federal appeals court upheld a state ban on direct sales to consumers.
The ruling means more than $700 million a year in increased tax revenues for the state, according to estimates.
But it's a big blow to city smokers who save more than $4 a pack by buying online or ordering from Indian reservations that have tax-exempt status.
The ruling also applies to cigarette sales by telephone and by mail, according to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
The decision by a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
overturned a lower court ruling that found a state law
Cigarette companies, including Brown & Williamson Tobacco, had challenged
the 2000 law, saying it discriminates against
interstate commerce, restricting access to a product.
But in a 44-page opinion, the appeals court said the state law "does
not prohibit New York consumers' access to cigarettes ... it merely requires
that they purchase cigarettes in a manner that allows the seller to verify
the buyer's age and to collect the state
Eric Proshansky, a lawyer with the city corporation counsel's office,
said that while enforcing the ban could be a problem, law
enforcement officers would cruise the Internet to make sure cigarette dealers comply with the law.
Jail tobacco bucks go up in smoke
By Russ Buettner
For five years under former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, the city's Correction Department operated a little-known foundation that took in and spent some $1 million.
Department brass filled the foundation's bank account with rebates from
tobacco companies on cigarettes bought with taxpayer
dollars and sold to Rikers Island inmates, a Daily News investigation found.
The highly unusual arrangement apparently allowed the money to be spent outside rules that govern public expenditures.
But where did the money go?
The answer to that question remains a mystery. Indeed, even many of the people who were in position to know, including leaders of the department's uniformed unions and at least one of three people other than Kerik who served on the foundation's board, said they don't know where the money went.
No escaping smoking ban in city jails
By Frank Lombardi
The city's tough new smoking ban also will apply to the tough customers in the city's jails, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.
There's been some huffing by inmates and correction officers about the no-puffing edict that will kick in April 1.
State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer recently ruled that the city's 14 prison facilities are covered by the new ban, said Norman Seabrook, president of the 10,000-member Correction Officers' Benevolent Association.
"We will follow the law," said Seabrook. "We will confiscate all contraband tobacco found on inmates. I don't expect anything to occur that we can't deal with."
Correction officers will follow the same indoor smoking ban, but they will be able to have cigarettes and other tobacco in their possession. Discussions are underway about designating outdoor smoking areas for officers during breaks, Seabrook said.
Pataki may ice safer-cig rule
By Joe Mahoney
Gov. Pataki may delay requiring "fire-safe" cigarettes as a cost-cutting move, the Daily News has learned.
Tobacco companies have lobbied hard against the regulations, aimed at forcing the industry to make cigarettes slow-burning and self-extinguishing.
The Pataki administration said in the state budget documents released this week that the governor is proposing legislation to delay the start date.
Administration officials told The News yesterday that the mention of such a bill was included in the budget books erroneously. But they acknowledged the governor is considering such a delay, which could save the state $15.7 million.
A tobacco lobbyist, who did not want his name used, said the administration is concerned that the regulations could slow cigarette sales, hurting tax revenue.
Smoking out Net taxes
By Michael Saul and Robert Gearty
City Hall wants to snuff out untaxed Internet cigarette sales so it doesn't lose out on the revenue.
The city sued 15 out-of-state Internet smoke shops yesterday for scheming to conceal cigarette sales to New Yorkers, saying it has lost millions in unpaid taxes.
The $15 million lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Federal Court, was announced by Mayor Bloomberg, who said he expected other local governments to follow the city's lead.
Smoking them out
By Joe Mahoney
Anti-smoking advocates are predicting that Gov. Pataki will call for tough statewide smoking restrictions - similar to those recently enacted in New York City - in tomorrow's State of the State address.
Pataki has said he would support restrictions like the ones that prohibit, effective March 30, smoking in virtually all bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the city.
"The stars and the health statistics and the politics are all lined
up to make this the year to enact strong statewide restrictions," said
Peter Slocum, vice president of the American Cancer Society.
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Tribune - March 31, 2003
NYC smokers fume over ban in bars
It's a drag, some gripe, but it's no ifs, ands or butts
By Dan Mihalopoulos and Stevenson Swanson
NEW YORK -- In the last 10 minutes before the witching hour, the Bull's Head Tavern in Gramercy was full of furiously puffing smokers.
Then the bartenders calmly said their time was up. It was 12:01 a.m., a new anti-smoking law was in effect and nightlife in New York was immediately and dramatically different.
About 60 smokers, including a cigar-puffing Groucho Marx impersonator, protested New York's policy at a party Sunday at Frankie and Johnny's restaurant in Hoboken, N.J., just across the Hudson River from Manhattan.
The bash was organized by Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, founded by Audrey Silk, a Brooklyn police officer. Anti-smoking laws are the work of "moralistic, self-righteous people," said Silk, who decried the hot line established to field citizen complaints as a "snitch line."
"This is citizen against citizen," said Silk, 39.
Herald - March 31, 2003
NY: Thank you for not smoking
By John Buchel, State Editor
At the stroke of midnight Saturday night, New York smokers lost their glass slipper, and their lit cigarettes became $1,000 fines.
Gov. George Pataki signed a bill into law that bans smoking in places of employment, including bars and restaurants.
Scott Wexler, executive director of Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, said that the effect similar laws had in other states could anticipate the impact of the law.
"Based on what happened in California when they imposed a similar ban, we're expecting a decline of 3 percent in bars and taverns operating in the state," Wexler said. "There are about 1,000 fewer bars and taverns operating today in California than when the ban went into effect. There are a few more restaurants."
Wexler said the effect of those closures was obvious.
"When businesses close people lose jobs, less taxes are paid and there
is a negative impact on the economy," Wexler said. "In
California, the impact varied from establishment to establishment," Wexler said. "But in studies a very high number of people surveyed said they lost business because of the ban."
The ban comes an inopportune time for tavern owners in New York, a state that just increased the tenacity of drunk-driving laws.
"The timing is very bad, because New York state just lowered the blood-alcohol-content level for drunk driving. That was perceived as eventually having a negative impact on bar and tavern business," Wexler said. "This is an example of a law going too far, regardless of how extreme you are on the issue of protecting employees from second-hand smoke."
Wexler said there are a number of options being considered by those who feel the law would negatively affect them.
"There's been some discussion of possible amendments to the law. One
we've heard the most is a possible tax credit for those
establishments who built separately ventilated smoking rooms, or some other such mechanism to offset the cost of building those separately ventilated rooms," Wexler said. "I never would've thought it would happen in New York. This law goes against the best interest of businesses, smokers and those who live in the neighborhoods of these establishments."
- March 30, 2003
Anti - Smoking Ban Takes Hold in New York
New Yorkers breathed a little more easily on Sunday, although smokers grumbled, as the city's stiff new anti-smoking law took effect.
Smokers huddled in the unusual early spring cold to puff on cigarettes
outside bars and restaurants, where smoking was no
``It's just another thing you can't do any more,'' said Thaddeus Kromelis,
as he stood outside a Times Square watering hole to
have a cigarette.
The ban was not being put to its true test on Sunday. Bar crowds were
sparse and, although a few businesses could be seen
letting customers puff away, inspectors with the city's Department of Health were not issuing summonses or levying fines until
Wait and see, said one bartender on Manhattan's West Side who didn't want his name used.
``Wait until the first Friday night,'' he said. ``The customers who can't smoke, they could be worse than the drunks.''
Jersey Journal - March 29, 2003
NYC smoking ban to benefit Hudson bars
Owners: Patrons will cut back on trips across river, drink locally
By Michaelangelo Conte
Hudson's bars and restaurants could see more smokers - and more dollars - after New York City's smoking ban goes into effect tonight.
Owners of area establishments say they don't expect to be inundated with New Yorkers, but they are hoping that local smokers who once went to Manhattan for dinner or a drink will now be spending their money in Hudson County.
"I think it's going to help us. Who's going to go to the city when you can stay here and smoke?" said David O'Brien, owner of Merchant, a bar and restaurant on Grove Street in Jersey City.
Elaine Komis, smoking a cigarette as she had drinks with a friend Thursday night in Hoboken's Cadillac Bar, said she works for a record company in Manhattan and usually goes to the city a few times a month for drinks or dinner. But after the ban goes into effect, she said she's more likely to frequent local haunts.
"It's ridiculous. This is America and we should have the freedom to kill ourselves slowly - and do it in bars if we want to," she said.
"I'll look for bars with smoking rooms (in the city), but it will probably make me go to places in Jersey City and Hoboken more often. A lot of people smoke when they drink, so if you want a drink, what do you do?"
Reinaldo Beccera, owner of the Cadillac Bar, hopes more New Jersey residents will be asking themselves that same question before heading across the Hudson.
And there's already one group of New Yorkers who have pledged to bring their business to New Jersey. CLASH - Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment - is holding an event in Hoboken tomorrow night.
"On March 30, New York City tells smokers to go to hell. So instead, we're going to Jersey," reads a statement from the group.
CLASH members will hold an evening of "fun, dinner and drinks with some New York celebrities at Frankie & Johnnie's On the Waterfront," at 14th and Garden streets. The restaurant owner, Dino Panopoulos, said about 50 CLASH members are slated to attend.
O'Brien, of Merchant, is hoping that he and other bar owners will be able to capitalize on the smoking ban and lure smokers across the Hudson River.
"The majority of people who come to bars smoke, and who wants to go outside to smoke in the middle of the summer or winter? We should advertise in New York that people can smoke here," he said.
Hoboken musician Tim Solomon, having drinks with friends in Mulligan's on Thursday, said he believes an underground smoking scene will develop in Manhattan.
"I'm still going to go out, but I'm probably going to seek places where you can smoke," said Solomon. "I think there will be places like speakeasies for smoking. Since the dawn of time you have to have a cigarette with a drink. I'm about as serious a smoker as you'll find, but I'll still go out."
Press - March 29, 2003
New York City Ushers in Smoke - Free Era
In a smoke-choked Manhattan tavern, Cynthia Candiotti asked a neighbor for a light and took a deep drag on her cigarette, savoring a last barstool puff before the city outlawed smoking in bars and nightclubs.
``First they cleaned up Times Square, then they said you couldn't dance
in bars or drink a beer in the park. Now you can't even
smoke when you go out on the town,'' said Willie Martinez, 37, who sat, chain-smoking, in an East Village bar. ``This is like
``There's one word for this: Ridiculous. Stalinesque. Brutal,'' interrupted Elliot Kovner, 48, as he added a few choice vulgarities.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former smoker himself, pushed through the
ban with a zeal that angered smokers and even some
nonsmokers. He stood firm even when an incensed smoker wearing a Superman suit showed up at City Hall carrying a
12-foot-long ersatz cigarette and a sign threatening him.
Health issues are a priority for Bloomberg, a billionaire who once donated $100 million to Johns Hopkins University.
Smoking, ban opponents say, is part of the city's in-your-face, adrenaline-fueled culture.
``A ban might work in California,'' said Eddie Dean, who owns a club
called Discotheque and a bar called Tiki Lounge. ``New
Yorkers are defined as a different kind of person. It's a gruffer place. It's less healthy. People are a little more aggressive. I just
can't see them tolerating it.''
- March 29, 2003
Smokers Take Their Last Puffs In New York City Bars
Smoking and drinking – some say the two just go together, like cheese and crackers or cookies and milk.
“Anyone that smokes and drinks tells you that the two go together. It’s very hard to separate the two,” said Mike Bellezza, one of the many smokers who took their last puffs in New York City’s bars and restaurants Saturday night.
As of midnight Sunday, it is illegal to light up at virtually all public buildings in the city – and a state law that takes effect in four months will supersede the few exceptions granted by the city. Business owners face fines for allowing patrons to smoke, though there is a 30-day grace period.
Newsday - March 28, 2003
Smoking Room a Nonstarter
By Robert Kahn
In the past three months, Kevin Patrick O'Lunney has spent $25,000 constructing a 300-square-foot smoking "chamber" in his Hell's Kitchen bar.
Aside from the two-ton Mitsubishi ventilation system he brought in, he has shelled out cash for engineers and architects, duct work and supplies.
But, it seems, O'Lunney's money has gone to waste.
On Wednesday, Gov. George Pataki signed into law a statewide workplace smoking ban that further tightens restrictions on the city measure taking effect Sunday.
The state law, which will supersede the City Council's legislation in late July, strips from bar and restaurant owners the option to build a separately ventilated room for their smoking clientele.
"I built this because of the city's law," said O'Lunney, a partner in the bar called Kevin St. James. "Is the state going to give me a refund?"
The rooms, which few bar owners in the city aside from O'Lunney had begun building, were never a popular notion with nightspot owners because they are costly, space-consuming, and will be obsolete in 2006, when the city legislation requires that they be shut down.
Most bar owners contacted yesterday described the loss of their smoking-roomoption as "a big yawn."
"The option was billed as a compromise so the city legislature could save face, but they all knew it was a phony compromise," said David Rabin, a co-owner of Lotus, a West 14th Street nightclub.
At least one bar owner saw a positive side to the latest turn of events. "Before, it was prejudicial," said Joan McNaughton, managing partner of Fuel at Phebe's on the Bowery. "If you didn't have the money or space to build one and the guy next door did, he was going to get all your business. The law still stinks but everyone should have to suffer to the same degree."
NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note - Also known as "the level playing field." No benefit, only equal suffering.
Newsday - March 28, 2003
Dying Days of a Way of Life
Cigar aficionados enjoy a last supper
By William Murphy
John Meany, who works at an aluminum business in Jamaica, selected a $6 Davidoff cigar from a box Wednesday night to go with his Scotch before carving into his prime rib at the Sly Fox Inn in Fresh Meadows.
"No more of this," Meany said with a wave around the smoke-filled room of the popular bar and restaurant dating back to the smoke-filled 1970s.
Many of the customers, middle-aged and up, grumbled about the city ban and its champion, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a reformed smoker himself.
None of them knew that, just hours before the gathering, Gov. George Pataki signed a statewide anti-smoking bill that in some respects is tougher than the city law.
"Yeah, I hold Bloomberg responsible for this," said Sal Albano of Howard Beach. "I've been coming here for years, and now - no more."
"He's forgotten about us," Albano said of the mayor. "He is killing a business. If he runs again, I won't vote for him."
His smoking companion, Tom Nuss of Middle Village, said he would miss the occasional night out with Albano, but since he does not smoke regularly, the ban probably won't affect him very much.
"People appreciate a good smoke and a good drink," said George Acevedo, who was directing the liquor sale for William Grant & Sons Inc. of Edison, N.J. "Good conversation. Good cigars. You can't beat this."
Union - March 28, 2003
County smoking ban doused
Albany County Legislator Gary Domalewicz snuffed out his controversial local proposal to restrict smoking in workplaces when the state Legislature and Gov. George Pataki enacted a sweeping statewide ban Wednesday, taking local lawmakers off the hook on an issue that had several fretting about the impact on campaigns this year.
Times - March 28, 2003
Only one more day to light up in New York
New Yorkers, already facing wartime jitters and a grim economy, are about to lose a time-tested method of coping with tough circumstances: smoking in bars.
Smoking and drinking may not be considered the most healthy way of persevering through difficult times. But the cigarette-and-Martini method still has its adherents, and the big question facing the city is whether they will revolt once New York's tough new smoking law takes effect on Sunday.
Established bars and nightclubs are trying to make the most of today's
deadline with a final night of alcohol and cigarettes. The Magnolia Restaurant
and Bar is holding "The Great Brooklyn Smoke Out", complete with free cigars.
Donald Trump's World
Bar has concocted a $12.50 cocktail that is said to taste just like a Marlboro.
And some tavern owners have said they will ignore the law altogether after Sunday and just pay the fines.
Oneida Daily Dispatch - March 28, 2003
Owners: Ban will hurt local taverns, cafes
By Mike Ackerman
ONEIDA - "Isn't that a shame," said Ted Kistner. "We've got people over in Iraq fighting for freedom, and when they get back home, they're going to have a little piece of freedom taken away from them."
Kistner, who owns Sweets on the Beach, a bar/restaurant in Sylvan Beach, was commenting on the New York State Legislature's decision to ban smoking in all public businesses.
Members of the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-led Assembly overwhelmingly voted to ban smoking in any place of business, Wednesday. Gov. George Pataki immediately signed the bill into law, leaving 120 days before the law goes into effect.
The new legislation would end smoking in restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, off-track betting parlors and in company vehicles. Exempt from the no-smoking ban are private residences, private automobiles, outdoor areas of restaurants with no roof or awning, hotels, motels,
American Indian casinos, retail tobacco businesses, and bars and restaurants operated by non-profit groups such as American Legions and VFWs.
Also exempt are registered cigar bars and enclosed smoking rooms in hospitals.
"Wow, I didn't think this was going to happen," said Kistner. "I thought it was only a rumor ... it's going to hurt us a lot ... it's going to hurt all bar owners everywhere."
Record - March 28, 2003
Counties to support ban on smoking
By James V. Franco
ALBANY - In 118 days, the various counties across the state will be compelled to enforce one of the most stringent smoking regulations in the country.
Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino said the responsibility will go to the county Health Department, which already oversees the state's Clean Indoor Air Act.
She will not be hiring any additional people, partly due to budget constraints, and said the enforcement will be largely complaint driven.
"When we are out doing inspections, we will also review the complaints," she said.
She also plans to offer outreach programs to various business owners who will be forced to not allow smoking in their establishments come July 24.
She was unclear how the $1,000 fine would be collected from those who violate the new law.
2 - March 27, 2003
Toughening the Smoking Ban
Assemblyman Alexander Grannis says New York City's new smoking ban in bars and restaurants doesn't go far enough, “The real goal is to try and find ways to discourage people from picking up this very deadly habit.”
He's introducing legislation to ban smoking in public spaces. Smoke at the beach or any public park in the state and you'll get slapped with a fine, “It's a train that's moving across the country in communities large and small.”
Smoking activist, Audrey Silk says tobacco is a legal product and this current crackdown is tantamount to harassment, “They're making us second class citizens, as a matter of fact, this is creating a civil war.”
- March 27, 2003
Ban On Smoking In Bars Goes Statewide
Put out that cigarette. That’s what smokers across the state will be told when they try to light up.
A statewide smoking ban goes into effect in four months. On Wednesday, Governor George Pataki quickly signed the legislation after lawmakers passed the bill.
Even though the governor signed it, sources said he's trying to make some changes. Sources said the governor is concerned the state's version conflicts with local laws.
Journal - March 27, 2003
Tough statewide law to ban smoking in most bars, restaurants
New guidelines take effect July 24
By Erika Rosenberg
Lawmakers approved a sweeping ban on smoking Wednesday after an unusually emotional and personal debate and a surprisingly lengthy fight in the Democrat-controlled Assembly. The law, which was signed later Wednesday by Gov. George Pataki, takes effect July 24. It supercedes a Dutchess County law that took effect Jan. 1.
The measure bans smoking in workplaces, including almost all restaurants and bars. Supporters hailed it as a big advance for public health and protection of workers, while opponents assailed it as an infringement on personal rights and a hindrance to small businesses.
It also ends talks of a law under consideration in Ulster County, said Joseph Roberti, R-Saugerties.
In the Assembly, opponents said the bill went too far -- even barring state troopers from smoking in their police cars.
''This is anti-small business, anti-vet, anti-freedom, anti-farmer, anti-county because it's pro-mandate. It doesn't make sense,'' said Assemblyman Patrick Manning, R-East Fishkill, Dutchess County. ''I'd rather spend the money to educate people not to smoke than charge them $1,000.''
Newsday - March 27, 2003
Tobacco: the vice New York hates, but cannot break
By Joel Stashenko
New York continued its love-hate relationship this week with smoking, the vice that the state ostensibly hates, but which it dare not break.
By extending no-smoking provisions to virtually every place of business in the state starting in July, Gov. George Pataki and the state Legislature this week dealt another blow to the tobacco industry.
Yet revenues from tobacco use are also one of the big-ticket items for the state treasury, accounting for some $1.1 billion in the current fiscal year. That includes $450 million from the state's $1.50-a-pack tax on cigarettes, other taxes on tobacco products and the state's share of the national settlement with the tobacco industry. It doesn't count other millions generated by taxes on businesses where smoking is still permitted, such as bars, restaurants and bowling alleys.
The state hopes to borrow against the tobacco settlement money to help bridge a revenue shortfall of $11.5 billion or more over the next year and a week. Being able to so do assumes that the settlement money will keep coming in, meaning that Americans will continue to smoke in large _ albeit declining _ numbers.
This week's approval of a tougher smoking ban in New York prompted some state legislators to ask a couple of obvious questions. They're also uncomfortable questions.
Some legislators wondered, if tobacco is such a health hazard to smokers and non-smokers alike, why not ban its sale entirely?
Others questioned whether the state's policymakers are being hypocrites by relying so heavily on smoking-generated money since they know the harm to the public health that smokers do.
Sen. John Sabini, a new Democratic legislator from Queens, said that among the inconsistencies of the new law that troubled him was its authorization for bars and restaurants to stage up to two "tobacco night" promotions a year where patrons will be allowed to smoke. Why encourage the promotion of a practice that the law otherwise condemns? Sabini asked.
"I think in many ways we're working both sides of the street," he said.
In the Assembly, critics saw the measure as state government meddling by stringently regulating a legal activity. Several Republicans echoed Assemblyman Daniel Hooker, R-Schoharie, who said servicemen and women are going to be dismayed when they return home from the war on terror and find they can't have a cigarette while sharing a drink with their friends in their corner tavern.
12 - The Bronx - March 25, 2003
Smoking ban may become statewide law
Just several days before the smoking ban in the Bronx and the rest of the city goes into effect, state lawmakers may decide to make the ban statewide.
The state Legislature is weighing in on the pros and cons of a bill that would ban smoking in restaurants and bars statewide and replace the city's ordinance. Right now lawmakers are discussing the bill further and may vote on Wednesday. The final approval must come from Governor George Pataki (R-NY).
As for the city, come March 31 there will be no smoking in Bronx and city bars and restaurants unless they have a separate ventilated room. Smoking will not be allowed in any part of an establishment where there are employees present.
Meanwhile, a smokers' rights group known as Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment plans to boycott the city's smoking ban. The group says it hopes to put pressure on city officials in an effort to get them to ease the smoking restrictions.
Press - March 25, 2003
State Lawmakers to Vote Wed. on Smoking Bill
By Joel Stashenko
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A bill that would prohibit smoking in virtually every business establishment in New York state cleared committees Tuesday in the state Assembly and Senate, with a vote by the full Legislature expected Wednesday.
The measure represents the most stringent limit imposed on smoking in New York state since the late 1980s.
Though some Republicans in the majority in the state Senate expressed what their leader, Joseph Bruno, called "very verbal and very vocal" objections to the smoking ban, Bruno said the measure would go before the full Senate on Wednesday.
Bruno, a former smoker who has become a leading critic of tobacco use, said he doesn't think there are the 32 "yes" votes necessary to pass the smoking ban among the 38 members of his Republican majority. That would force Bruno to get the balance of the votes from the 24-member Democratic minority in the Senate _ something Republicans usually avoid doing.
"This is like unheard of around here," said David Paterson, Senate Democratic leader, of the need for Democratic votes to pass legislation.
Bruno said he didn't take a "head count" on Monday of how his Republicans would vote on the bill.
"I am comfortable that there'll be enough votes to pass a bill," Bruno said Tuesday of the full Senate.
The Senate Health Committee sent the bill to the floor of the Senate without any "no" votes, though a handful of senators reported the bill out without recommendation. There were two "no" votes on the Assembly Health Committee.
"This is poison," Bruno said. "This is toxic."
NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note: Vehicle exhaust gives off the exact same compound of chemicals. If cigarette smoke is that deadly -- SO deadly that such drastic measures must be taken to save life and limb -- that it must be banned, then there is no excuse as to why vehicles are still allowed on our roads.
Press - March 25, 2003
City Will Issue Warning For First Month of Ban
By Timothy Williams
The city will not levy fines against bars, restaurants and other workplaces that violate the city's smoking ban until May 1 _ one month after the law goes into effect, Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said Tuesday.
Instead, Frieden said the city will issue warnings to businesses before inspectors begin issuing summonses which could lead to fines of $200 to $400 for the first violation and up to $2,000 for a third offense.
"In the first month, our emphasis will be on education, not enforcement," said Frieden. "The department will issue inspection reports, warnings and educate workplace managers and employees about the law and how to comply."
The city's anti-smoking law, which will be one of the strictest in the nation, goes into effect March 30.
Newsday - March 25, 2003
One Month of Warnings on Smoking Ban
By Margaret Ramirez
Bars, restaurants, nightclubs and other workplaces governed by the city's indoor air act can breathe a sigh of relief for now: Violators will only be written up for fines as of May 1, a full month after the law goes into effect.
"In the first month, our emphasis will be on education, not enforcement," Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said Monday.
As of 12:01 a.m. Sunday, an estimated 25,000 businesses across the city will be required to ban smoking. Summonses against businesses that fail to implement the ban all the way will range from $200 at the first whiff of a burning cigarette inside a workplace to $2,000 for repeat infractions.
"We realize that people will complain about the law," Frieden said. "What we won't see unless we look carefully is that there are decreasing numbers of people not getting sick and not dying from second-hand smoke."
Next month, Frieden said, the Health Department will issue only inspector reports and warnings instead of summonses.
"No Smoking" signs will available by May 1 in Spanish, Chinese, Russian and -- following complaints last week by Korean restaurant and bar owners in Flushing that their native language was in danger of being slighted -- in Korean as well.
Only then will inspectors begin issuing violation notices to businesses that fail to extinguish all smoking except in segregated, ventilated areas or in open-air lounges.
Errant managers will be summoned to appear at an administrative tribunal hearing that will determine the amount of the penalty.
One skirmish is looming: Opponents of the smoking ban promise to sue the Health Department if inspectors fine only bar owners, as planned, and not individual smokers, too.
"That's partial enforcement of the law," said Robert Bookman, attorney for the New York Nightlife Association. "We're waiting for inspectors to fine bar owners and not the smokers. When that happens, we'll see them in court."
Union - March 25, 2003
State smoking ban gains strong support
Albany -- Conservatives, tobacco interests oppose bill in Legislature
By James M. Odato
Legislative leaders showed strong support Monday for what would be one
of the nation's strictest anti-smoking laws even as
Conservatives, tobacco lobbyists and representatives of tavern owners expressed outrage over the bill.
"This is a bill we believe is out of step with the people of the state of New York, particularly out of step with the thinking in upstate," said Scott Wexler, executive director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association. "We're also concerned that this bill goes further than almost any law in the country."
Wexler said some downstate bars have started installing smoking-only rooms, an exemption allowed under New York City's law. He said it would be unfair to outlaw such rooms.
Michael Long, chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State, called the measure the most onerous in the nation. He said it flies in the face of those fighting to preserve the rights of Americans.
"The free market system should be what drives business, not government mandates," Long said. He fired off memos to legislative members urging them to vote against the proposal.
News - March 25, 2003
Deal to ban all smoking in public seems likely
By Tom Precious
A deal was close at hand Monday to enact one of the nation's strongest anti-smoking laws in New York, banning smoking indoors in almost all public places.
The measure, opposed by the tobacco industry, bar owners and some restaurant owners, would supersede weaker local anti-smoking ordinances and replace them with outright bans aimed at reducing exposure to second-hand smoke.
Backed by top legislative leaders, the momentum is to pass the measure, according to legislators emerging from a closed-door meeting Monday afternoon of Republicans who control the State Senate. A vote in the Senate could come later this week.
Newsday - March 25, 2003
Tobacco Compromise Could Aid State Deficit
By Jordan Rau
Albany - With less than a week until the end of the state's fiscal year, the leaders of the Senate and Assembly are near agreement on a borrowing plan to close the state's current $2.2 billion deficit.
Gov. George Pataki has not signed on to the plan, which would authorize the state to issue as much as $4.2 billion in debt to help close this year's budget gap and reduce the $9.3 billion projected gap for the year beginning April 1. Pataki proposed his own borrowing plan back in December, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has opposed it and offered an alternative.
The compromise plan, devised by Senate Republican Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) and endorsed in general by Silver (D-Manhattan), adopts the foundation of Pataki's approach - to repay the debt with money New York is slated to receive over the next two decades from a multistate settlement with the tobacco industry. The compromise also would offer some assurance that the health care programs that would have been paid for by the tobacco money would be funded in future years.
The new plan would guarantee that if the tobacco companies do not make their annual settlement payments, the bonds would be repaid with the state's personal income tax revenue. Bruno said that would make the bonds less risky to investors, producing a lower interest rate, which Silver had said was essential.
Press - March 24, 2003
Lobbying push over extending smoking ban renewed
By Joel Stashenko
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The state's Conservative Party and lobbyists for bar and restaurant owners weighed in Monday against a bill that would extend a ban on smoking to virtually every work place in New York state.
The legislation, which mirrors a local law effective Sunday in New York City, is designed to protect the health of waitresses, bartenders and others who work in public places where smoking is still allowed.
State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said that while some state residents are fighting in Iraq against the repressive regime of Saddam Hussein, New York leaders want to "pass a bill infringing on the rights of New Yorkers."
"Many of these men and women will be shocked when they return home to the Land of the Free, and find that their freedom of smoking a legal substance has been usurped by our democratically elected officials," said Long, a smoker.
If the bill passes, Long said the only places where people can legally smoke indoors in New York will be in their homes or vehicles, "and we are beginning to wonder how long this privilege will last."
Also Monday, a New York City-based smokers' rights group, Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, said it is beginning an advertising campaign to organize a boycott of city bars and restaurants to protest the city's smoking ban. The group hopes that would force bar and restaurant owners to pressure the Bloomberg administration and the city council to ease the smoking prohibitions.
Scott Wexler, head of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, said he was lobbying legislators against the smoking ban and urging members of his group to do so as well. He contended that there are indications that similar smoking bans have hurt tavern and restaurant business in California and Delaware.
Newsday - March 22, 2003
Senate, Assembly negotiators have deal on smoking ban
By Joel Stashenko
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Smoking opponents said Saturday they are optimistic about the chances of the state Legislature adopting stringent statewide prohibitions against smoking in any place of business.
The state Legislature's leading proponents of a ban, Assemblyman Alexander Grannis, D-Manhattan, and Sen. Charles Fuschillo, R-Nassau, have filed a bill in the Legislature embodying an agreement they reached Friday after weeks of discussions.
The measure is similar to a smoking ban that will go into effect in New York City on March 30.
The Grannis-Fuschillo bill would essentially ban indoor smoking in all work places. Narrow exceptions include outdoor seating areas of restaurants and bars, cigar bars that have registered as such by the end of 2002 and bars and restaurants being allowed to offer two "cigarette night" promotions a year. The prohibition would not apply to bars or restaurants operated by not-for-profit groups, like VFWs, where workers are all volunteers.
The law would rescind the current exemption against a smoking ban in restaurants that have fewer than 50 seats.
A state law would supersede local laws where provisions of the state law are stronger.
Gov. George Pataki would like to see details of the agreement, his spokeswoman Suzanne Morris said Saturday.
"The governor has said he supports the concept of a statewide smoking ban," Morris said.
Times - March 22, 2003
N.Y. bar, restaurant owners aim to block smoking ban
Bar and restaurant owners worried that this city's new smoking ban will cost them money are trying to marshal support for a court injunction to block implementation of the measure in a little more than a week. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's "administration claims that 80 percent of the population doesn't smoke, and so it will help business," said David Rabin, owner of the trendy Lotus Club and the Union Bar. "Our response is, if that's true, why hasn't anyone opened a nonsmoking bar."
Richard E. Farley, an attorney for the Players Club, said he is working toward building a coalition to challenge the law, possibly eight to a dozen private clubs. "It will take a lawsuit," he said, adding that as the ban relates to private clubs it is "hopelessly overbroad" and not related to the purported reason for which it was passed: the protection of employees.
Rob Bookman, counsel for the NYNA, said the group may fight the ban on the grounds of environmental impact. He cited speculation that some restaurants will hire vans and buses to idle in front of their establishments for the comfort of smoking patrons.
"We won't take it. There are smokers who won't be treated like sheep.
We're going to go where we're welcome," said Audrey Silk, founder of NYC
CLASH. (Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment). Miss Silk, who is
a police officer in Brooklyn's 67th precinct, said she and about 50 other
smokers will spend the first day of the ban puffing away at Frankie and
Johnnie's Steak House, a former speakeasy, in Hoboken, N.J. "We're stressed
out with war and the economy. This is the worst time for this," she said.
"Bloomberg has killed our spirit. Our motto is, 'Don't spend your money
where you can't
Newsday - March 21, 2003
Catering to Diners Fumed by the Ban
Eateries cook up ways to appeal to smokers
By Robert Kahn
If you're a bar or restaurant owner trying to placate puffers peeved by the city's pending smoking ban, the message is clear:
You've gotta have a gimmick.
With the legislation set to take effect March 30, some resourceful nightspot
proprietors are going to extremes to put a positive
spin on it, giving smokers one last gasp or adopting newtobacco-free-and-proud ways.
"Business owners need to give patrons a reason to come to their restaurant
instead of someone else's," explained Sam Craig, a
professor of marketing at New York University's Stern School of Business. "Having a nonsmoking restaurant doesn't
differentiate you anymore, so you have to find gimmicks that are going to attract smokers who feel persecuted or estranged."
At the dignified Regent Wall Street downtown, patrons will be given
cigars and cigarettes on Wednesday night and encouraged
to puff away, part of "The Last Smoke" before the ban starts after Saturday. In another such ode to the noxious weed, the $95
dinner menu includes a charred Ahi tuna tartare wrapped in tobacco leaf.
- March 21, 2003
Judge Agrees to Hear Case on Short-Term Secondhand Smoke
Tom Perrotta, New York Law Journal
In a novel smoking lawsuit, a Manhattan judge has said he will allow a jury to hear expert testimony on the alleged harm secondhand smoke caused a woman who worked at a modeling agency for a little more than six weeks.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Louis B. York ruled last week that since the scientific community generally agrees secondhand smoke can cause sinusitis that aggravates a pre-existing asthma condition, it was up to a jury to decide -- based on testimony from competing experts -- whether six weeks of secondhand smoke was sufficient exposure to cause injury.
Rosalind S. Fink of Brill & Meisel, the lead attorney for plaintiff
Victoria Gallegos, said York's ruling in Gallegos v. Elite Model
Management Corp., 120577/00, marked the first time a judge has agreed to hear a secondhand smoke suit with such a short period of exposure.
Robert I. Goodman, an attorney for defendant Elite Model Management Corp., said he was not surprised by the ruling, adding that his client's experts would contest at trial whether Gallegos could have been harmed during her employment.
"I think the judge just felt more comfortable getting the issue in front of the jury rather than cutting the plaintiffs out," Goodman said.
A trial is scheduled for next week.
Freeman - March 20, 2003
Public Hearing on Smoking Ban is Delayed
By Hallie Arnold
KINGSTON - Ulster County residents wishing to sound off on the county's proposed clean indoor air legislation will have to keep their thoughts to themselves for the time being.
County lawmakers on Tuesday postponed setting a public hearing on the proposed law.
Two speakers favored sending the matter back to committee. Ed Gaddy, a town of Kingston councilman and member of the executive board of the Ulster County Conservative Party, said restricting smoking infringes on the private property rights of small business owners. He said business owners should be able to decide for themselves whether to allow smoking on their premises.
Bruce Tuchman, whose wife, Michelle, owns the Uptown Cigar Co. in Kingston, said many counties that have enacted smoking restrictions are now mired in legal challenges. He said Ulster County could learn from the experiences of others by postponing the legislation.
Legislator William Calabrese, R-Pine Bush, said the county must decide on the final form of the law prior to a public hearing, because it cannot be altered substantially without a second hearing.
Villager - March 19, 2003
Residents fear roof bar precedent
By Laura S. Greene
A Village restaurant owner's idea to expand his seating by adding a rooftop café is being eyed by wary residents as a potential precedent for an expansion of rooftop cafés throughout Greenwich Village.
Bob Rinaolo, owner of The Garage Restaurant & Café, at 99 Seventh Ave., has not officially applied yet for the liquor license that would allow the establishment to serve alcohol on the roof. Since the possibility was raised, the surrounding residential community has rallied against him.
With the anti-smoking law set to go effect in bars throughout the city on March 30, Rinaolo's intention was partly to provide a space for his patrons to smoke.
Community Board 2 was scheduled to consider the issue this month but Rinaolo, who is chairperson of the board's business committee, which reviews liquor licenses, decided to put it off until April. He said he wants to study the financial feasibility of the project before going forward.
Peter Zimmer, of the Central Village Block Association, said, "This is not a campaign against a specific application for a rooftop café, but a concern that rooftop cafés will proliferate all over the Village in an unregulated free-for-all."
Zimmer pointed out that rooftop cafés are not regulated by a city agency, the way sidewalk seating is by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Neighbors cited noise, odor and smoke as negative side effects that the rooftop cafés would cause.
According to Zimmer, C.V.B.A. has sent letters to various elected officials in an effort to prevent the emergence of rooftops cafés throughout the Village. He said C.V.B.A. was not anti-business, but pro-residential.
"We're trying to keep this from happening because this would set a precedent," Zimmer said. "We see this as a threat to quality of life for the entire Village."
Concern is also growing among residents that existing outdoor dining and seating areas will be more heavily used and noisy once the anti-smoking law goes into effect.
Newsday - March 18, 2003
Vote Got Bar Owners Fired Up
By William Murphy
A councilman of Italian ancestry broke an Irish stranglehold when he trounced two candidates with Irish surnames in 2001, a century after his family started Nunziato Florists on Roosevelt Avenue (the business is still there).
In 2002, though, Councilman Eric Gioia was in the uncomfortable position of having to explain to bar owners in the Woodside neighborhood why he was supporting a Bloomberg administration bill that is set to ban smoking in their taverns come March 30.
The bar owners say the smoking ban, the nation's toughest law of its kind, will devastate their businesses, which are grounded in an Irish clientele. Gioia doesn't think that will happen. Still, he intends to monitor the impact of the ban closely.
"I do have real concerns about small business, and I think for this to work in the city and nationwide we have to make sure that small businesses are protected," Gioia, 29, said.
Some bar owners in his district are so upset with Gioia, they have even accused him of having misled them. The say he pretended, for political gain, to oppose the anti-smoking legislation, only to turn around and vote for it.
"He gave us the impression he was on our side," said Joe Gillespie, owner of P.J. Horgan's in Sunnyside. "The bill would have passed anyway, but at least he could have voted with his constituency."
The charge angers Gioia, as does the suggestion by some bar owners that they may make him pay a political price. "I don't take well to that," he said, "and I don't think they'd say it to my face."
- March 15, 2003
Will Smoking Bans Burn Up Dollars for Racing?
by Tom LaMarra
The pari-mutuel industry is wrestling with another situation that has already seriously impacted business in some jurisdictions: Restrictions or bans on smoking in public places.
In Delaware, where three racetracks have video lottery terminals, a
smoking ban that took effect late last year has caused a 25% decline in
business. In New York, bettors are crossing county lines so they can smoke
in off-track betting parlors. And
Saratoga is prepared to make a major change for its summer meet.
Barry Schwartz, chairman of the New York Racing Association, said smoking would be banned in the grandstand and clubhouse at the Spa beginning this year. Earlier, NYRA had said smoking wouldn't be permitted in clubhouse boxes.
Bill Oberle, a member of the Delaware House of Representatives, is working
to have the smoking ban altered to provide relief for bars and racinos.
He said the measure is particularly important now that neighboring Maryland
and Pennsylvania are
considering racetrack gaming.
"These are precarious times," Oberle said. "We not only shot our selves in the foot, but we blew both feet off (with the smoking ban)."
Mea Knapp, president of Suffolk District Off-Track Betting Corp., said smoking is an "enormous" in New York. She said the state is looking at smoking restrictions, but in the meantime, many counties have enacted their own regulations.
Knapp cited an example where bettors from Nassau County, where they couldn't smoke, ventured across county lines to Suffolk County, where they could light up. At one parlor on the border, wagering jumped a staggering 137%, she said.
Journal - March 14, 2003
Smoking ban suit decision delayed
By Anthony Farmer
May is the earliest a federal judge could decide on a lawsuit challenging Dutchess County's ban on smoking in most indoor public places.
The county had been given until Monday to respond to the suit, filed by several restaurant and bowling alley owners. The suit argues the law is vague and unconstitutional.
But a Feb. 21 conference with federal Judge Colleen McMahon led to a new schedule which gives both sides until May 20 to submit all their paperwork. The judge also indicated she might decide the Dutchess suit as well as one challenging a similar smoking ban in Orange County at the same time, county Attorney Ian MacDonald said.
Newsday - March 13, 2002
Businesses Sue Nassau Over Smoking Ban
See law as unconstitutional
By Errol A. Cockfield Jr.
After their effort to derail the enactment of Nassau County's workplace
smoking ban failed last month, a group of bar and
restaurant owners has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to throw out the law as unconstitutional.
The half-dozen plaintiffs, including the luxury Garden City Hotel, also
asked U.S. District Judge Denis R. Hurley to issue an
injunction to halt enforcement of the law until the suit is settled. A hearing on that request could occur as early as Thursday in
U.S. District Court in Central Islip.
The businesses argue that when Nassau's legislative Democrats approved
new prohibitions to strengthen a smoking ban the
county first approved in 1998, they did not repeal conflicting portions of the original law that limited smoking only to restaurant
bar areas and ventilated smoking rooms. The ban went into effect March 1.
"The statute is impossible to enforce," said Arthur J. Kremer, a Uniondale
attorney representing the business owners. "They
didn't rescind the old law."
The suit also contends the county failed to study the economic impact
of the ban under the requirements of the State
Environmental Quality Review Act, the law that calls for localities to study the economic, environmental and social effects of
Since the workplace smoking ban took effect, some business owners, especially
those on the border with Suffolk County, say
they have lost patrons to businesses in Suffolk, where a ban will not take effect until 2006.
Legislative Minority Leader Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) said the county
should have examined the economic impact before
passing a new law.
"That is a fatal flaw," Schmitt said. "It is just another indication that this law was a rush to judgment."
In their lawsuit, the businesses also contend the smoking ban dealt
with zoning regulations, which fall under the oversight of
villages and towns, not counties.
They also argue that Nassau should compensate them for the tens of thousands
of dollars they each spent in re- novation costs
for constructing separate smoking rooms under the 1998 law. The Garden City Hotel, for instance, poured $200,000 into
renovations to accommodate that law, only to see a full ban approved five years later.
Brian Rosenberg, a vice president of the hotel, said his staff has struggled
with enforcement of the new law, sometimes clashing
with belligerent customers who refused to put out cigarettes.
"There have been arguments between smokers and nonsmokers," Rosenberg
said. One man flipped a cigarette into a security
guard's face at the hotel, Rosenberg recalled. The man was thrown out.
Out NY - March 13, 2003
NO BUTTS ABOUT IT
NYC bar owners are burning up over the approaching smoking ban
By Jordan Heller
With only days to go before Mayor Michael Bloomberg's smoking ban goes into effect, barflies are contemplating a boycott of their pubs for more permissive environs, while bar owners and employees across the city can only gripe about the cold and smokeless future. As Miss Lola Belle, a bartender at Enid's in Williamsburg, puts it, "This is New York. This is supposed to be Sodom and Gomorrah!"
Such sentiments amounted to nothing at the City Council meetings that
preceded the order, but there's more to the bar business's argument than
asserting the right to be bad. The law, meant to protect employees from
secondhand smoke, leaves watering holes that are owned and operated by
the same person as one of the few exceptions to the rule. Other venues
snatch ashtrays from under their patrons' noses at midnight on March 29 (literally—bars won't be allowed to have ashtrays on the premises come March 30). Many owners believe they are financially dependent on drawing those who are already forbidden to smoke at work, in most restaurants and in other public spaces. That languid blue haze, they say, is vital to the liveliness—and livelihood—of their establishments.
"Privately, and off the record, people in the administration will tell you, 'we know it's going to be bad for business,'" says Robert Bookman, counsel to the New York Nightlife Association. "If anybody thought it would be good for business, there would be lots of no-smoking bars here already. There would be nightclubs that promote no-smoking nights. And there's not one."
Joe Baxley of the East Village's Drinkland says, "It's not the mayor's
right to make lifestyle decisions for the people of New
York City. First dancing's illegal, now smoking's illegal."
"What's next?" adds Tracy Westmoreland of Siberia Bar in Hell's Kitchen. "They're gonna tell me I can't eat steak?"
Some in the smokers' rights camp have plans to protest. Sean Connolly, owner of the Brooklyn Ale House, is thinking about taking up a collection. "If you want to smoke in the bar, you gotta add money into the kitty, so if we get fined, we can pay it. We'll just protest it by smoking in the bar."
That's all well and good, but more than likely those in the know will
be joining their fellow smokers en masse at either the few
and fortunate hangouts that allow smoking or at illegal loft parties that litter the outer boroughs. Floating parties like Rubulad and Happy Birthday Hideout—which move from loft to warehouse to loft via word of mouth and are always in danger of raids—will provide a semi-safe haven for those who refuse to extinguish their way of life.
- March 12, 2003
Smoking Ban Will Cover Grand Central, Penn Station
Smokers expecting to light up in Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station will have to go outside after all.
The train stations, because they are state property, are technically exempt from the new Smoke-Free Air Act, which will ban smoking in virtually all city workplaces, including bars and restaurants, starting March 30.
But Peter Kalikow, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transpiration Authority, which owns the stations, said the restaurants and other tenants in Grand Central and Penn Station will still be expected to comply with the city’s smoking regulations.
"Adopting New York City's anti-smoking legislation at our New York City facilities makes sense and avoids confusion,” Kalikow said.
But smoking will still be allowed in one restaurant in Grand Central: Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse. According to the New York Post, a judge ruled in 1999 that the restaurant’s lease with the state exempting it from city smoking regulations.
- March 12, 2003
Business Of Shisha Cafes Threatened By Smoking Ban
Every night after work, you’ll find Adel Ahmed the Mazazique Cafe on Steinway Street. He goes there here to hang out with his friends, catch up on the latest news back home in Egypt and smoke shisha.
“This is like an ethnic activity,” he says. “In every place in Egypt we smoke this.”
Mostly men come to the cafe nightly to smoke the flavored tobacco, which is filtered through a water pipe called a hookah. But at the end of the month they will no longer be allowed to light up at the cafe and several others on the street just like it, when the city’s stricter smoking ban takes effect.
“They did this for the people that don’t smoke or something,” said Mazazique patron Ali Elrida. “It's like clubbing. You go to the club and some people don't smoke; it bothers them. Well this is place for people who smoke.”
Unlike cigar bars, these establishments were not granted an exemption under the law, which bans smoking at all city workplaces, including bars and restaurants. Most customers say the mayor is taking away a part of their culture.
A spokesperson for the City Council Health Committee said the cafes were not exempted because councilmembers didn't know they existed, and the issue was never raised by the owners at any of the public hearings.
NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note: Two things - 1. The NYC Council should be expected to do their homework when creating a law of this magnitude. The council proves again they're idiots. 2. No one from that community raised the issue because, like most everyone else, never believed this could possible happen in NYC and didn't take the threat seriously enough to speak up officially.
12 Long Island - March 12, 2003
Nassau smoking ban under fire
The smoking ban in Nassau County has been in effect for only 12 days and already bars and restaurants are reporting a drop in business.
Six Nassau businesses are filing a lawsuit against the county and legislature because they believe the new law that bans smoking in bars and restaurants is unconstitutional. Many proprietors are feeling the pinch since the rule went into effect on March 1, some reporting as much as a 35 percent drop in business. Many cite neighboring Suffolk County as a reason for the lapse in business. Smoking is still legal in Suffolk bars and restaurants, and customers that want to smoke are simply jumping the border. Suffolk will not enact a smoking ban until 2006.
Newsday - March 11, 2003
'Take It Outside' a Problem, Too
By Robert Kahn
The impending smoking ban may solve the problem of smoky bars, but it creates another: noisy streets.
Once all those nicotine addicts end up outside, venue owners say, neighbors are going to get angry.
"The mayor has turned the streets into public smoking rooms," said David Rabin, co-owner of Lotus, a 14th Street nightclub. "And I think there's going to be a civil war between residents and legitimate business owners."
A 2000 study by the New York Nightlife Association, a trade group, found that 52 percent of 1,043 clubgoers would smoke on the street if their nicotine habit were banned in clubs and restaurants.
Newsday - March 10, 2003
Ban Lights Group's Fire
Smokers plan to take business to NJ
By Margaret Ramirez
When the city's smoking ban takes effect, some smokers are set to take their party to New Jersey.
Audrey Silk, a cigarette-smoking Brooklyn police officer and founder
of Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, or
C.L.A.S.H., is organizing a boycott of all city restaurants and bars to protest the smoking ban.
To kick off the boycott, the smokers are planning a Bye-Bye New York
City Bash at Frankie and Johnnie's Steakhouse in
Hoboken on the first day of the ban - March 30.
The purpose, Silk said, is to make the point to city bar and restaurant
owners that they need to push harder to amend the law,
which the group considers a case of government quashing personal freedom. The group's in-your-face slogan makes the point:
"Stop giving in, start taking out. Don't eat and drink where you can't smoke."
"We're not just fighting for smokers' rights. We're fighting for basic
rights that are being taken away," Silk said. "There's a whole
class of people that are being treated horribly and no one is talking about it. Our whole lives are being disrupted, but we're not
going to just hide in little corners of our home and light up in secret. We're going to fight."
Silk, who has smoked for the past 20 years, said the only reason the
smoking ban passed was the lies about secondhand
smoke. While health officials continually state that secondhand smoke is dangerous, Silk said there's no hard proof. She points
to a statement by Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, president of the American Council on Science and Health:
"There is no evidence that any New Yorker, patron or employee has ever
died as a result of exposure to smoke in a bar or
restaurant," Whelan said during a recent City Council hearing. "Who are these 1,000 New Yorkers whose deaths Mayor
Bloomberg claims will be prevented by this legislation?"
As for Silk's own health, she said it's nobody's business, thank you.
The government does not have the right to control her
"I know the risks. I also know those risks are exaggerated. I choose to take the risk," she said.
Freeman - March 9, 2003
Petitions oppose smoking ban
KINGSTON - Ulster County's Conservative Party committee members are carrying petitions asking lawmakers to reject a move to restrict smoking in public places.
Meanwhile, a resolution setting a public hearing on the law will likely be sent back to the Public Health Committee for revisions at next Thursday's Legislature meeting.
Bonnie Hewitt, chair of the Ulster County Conservative Party, said all 17 members of the party's executive committee are carrying petitions asking lawmakers to reject a proposal to ban smoking in all Ulster County workplaces, including restaurants and bars. The party contends the restriction is an infringement on personal and property rights.
"They're taking rights away. They're getting carried away," Hewitt said. "They dig deeper and deeper into our pockets, and they're taking our rights away."
Aficionado - March 7, 2003
Confusion Over New York Cigar Bars
By Mark Weissenberger
With the clock ticking down to a March 30 indoor smoking ban in New York City, the prevailing haven for cigar smokers to light up will be in the city’s cigar bars. But what exactly is the definition of a cigar bar in Gotham?
Here’s what we found out.
For a bar to qualify as a cigar bar, it must have been opened for business prior to December 31, 2001; must generate a minimum of 10 percent of its revenue from the sale of tobacco products, or renting of tobacco products and devices (this would include humidified locker storage, but not vending machines); and must generate 60 percent of its revenue from the sale of alcohol. These conditions are derived directly from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the governing arm that will be enforcing the new law.
Despite several erroneous press reports to the contrary, the precise
number of cigar bars in New York City is unknown. Establishments wishing
for smoking immunity have until September 26 to apply for registration
as a cigar bar. According to Nancy Miller, the director of the tobacco
control program for the health and mental hygiene department, applications
will be processed faster if received by June 30. Establishments seeking
exemption may then be asked to provide past tax returns, their liquor license,
documentation on tobacco sales, and even the architectural plans of the
location. At press time, it was unclear
whether bars that had applied for cigar bar status--or intended to--could allow smoking without facing fines or other penalties.
At press time, no application for exemption was available.
Newsday - March 7, 2003
For the Cigarette Crowd, a Breath of Fresh Air
By Robert Kahn
Will an outdoor space mean out-of-this-world grosses for club and restaurant owners, once the Great Smoking Ban kicks in?
No one is more curious to see how the new anti-puffing statutes will
affect nighttime socializing than the owners of venues that
boast rooftop decks and sidewalk cafes.
"It's a possibility we'll see more business," said Danny Fried, whose
47th Street China Club includes a 2,500-square-foot
"Given the choice to come here if you're a smoker or to go to someplace
else where you can't smoke, you might as well come
here," said Fried.
Under current city anti-smoking legislation, no more than 25 percent of any outdoor seating area can be set aside for smokers.
Press - March 7, 2003
SMOKE CLEARS IN W'CHESTER
The American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society upgraded Westchester County's anti-smoking report card yesterday as County Executive Andrew Spano enacted a tough new law.
The law, which will go into effect June 4, bans smoking in bars and almost all other workplaces in the county. It passed the county Legislature on Monday over the objections of some bar and restaurant owners, and was signed by Spano at a news conference yesterday.
Both the Lung Association and the Cancer Society grade counties on their smoking laws.
Newsday - March 6, 2003
Concerns Over Ban Fill the Air
Bar owner weighs options
By Robert Kahn
Before he goes out of his way to install a ventilated smoking room at
SBNY, his cavernous 17th Street bar, Brian Landeche
says there's a major "if" to consider about all those butts.
If he can figure out how to build the room for roughly $20,000 instead
of two or three times that much, he'll probably do so to
accommodate his smoking clientele.
The quarters, if built, will be the only indoor space at SBNY where
lighting up can be done legally as of 12:01 a.m. Sunday,
That's when the Great Smoking Ban takes effect in bars, restaurants, clubs, offices, pool halls - you name it.
"Times are tough, and the law is pretty onerous," Landeche said. "But
if it looks like we're going to need a room by the fall or
winter, we'll get it in place at that point."
According to the health-conscious code championed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
a smoking room must be fully enclosed,
no more than 25 percent of an entire floor plan, but no bigger than 350 square feet, the size of a cramped studio apartment.
The room must have floor-to-ceiling walls and a sprinkler with a heavy-duty
ventilation system to expel secondary smoke from
The catch: Even if Landeche builds the room, it can be used only until 2006, under the law.
SBNY's owner said he's hoping customers will be willing to light up
outside, come rain or shine. If not, he thinks he'll co-opt a
lower-level coat check room and turn it into the smoking lounge.
Press - March 4, 2003
Westchester OKs ban on smoking
WHITE PLAINS — The Westchester County Legislature voted 12 to 3 Monday night to ban smoking in almost all workplaces, including bars.
County Executive Andrew Spano has said that he will sign the bill, and it will take effect 90 days later. A similar law went into effect in Nassau County on Saturday. One takes effect later this month in New York City. A Suffolk County measure becomes law in 2006.
Republican Legislator James Maisano called the measure “draconian” and added, “We’re starting to treat smokers like they’re criminals.” But Democrat Michael Kaplowitz said “secondary smoke is a trespass on the rest of us.”
Newsday - March 2, 2003
Smokers on Ban's Start: What a Drag!
By Michael Rothfeld
The air was clear. The bar was bare. The ashtrays had been put out to pasture.
But the back door was getting a lot of use at B.K. Sweeney's Steak House in Garden City yesterday afternoon as the regulars streamed out to smoke.
"It's ridiculous,” Craig Lohsen, 48, of Mineola, said of Nassau's new ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. "I've walked out six times already today.”
The state's toughest workplace smoking ban began yesterday in dining establishments and watering holes of Nassau County -- at least in some.
At Trotter's Tavern in Mineola, several patrons lined the bar at 5 p.m. with cigarettes dangling from their fingertips. The bartender, Caron Mittler, said the law eventually would be enforced there, and if anyone complained yesterday, smoking would stop.
"We're on Australian time -- a day behind,” said one of the offenders, Paul Berner, 47, of Williston Park. "I'm a rebel,” said Matt Fuhring, 36, of East Northport, who can smoke legally in a bar near his house until 2006, when a ban in Suffolk takes effect.
Smokers and non-smokers alike panned the ban in a survey at bars and restaurants, which did not seem to be lacking in business yesterday. Most said they viewed it as an infringement of their rights.
The new law was celebrated in at least one restaurant, the Davenport Press in Mineola, where the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island honored Legis. Judith Jacobs (D-Woodbury), and others who sponsored the measure. It passed in October despite lobbying from the restaurant and tavern industry.
Outside the restaurant, Kim Hoffman, 29, of Oceanside, was just as passionate as she smoked her cigarette. It's part of our freedom and they take it away,” she said. "Its our constitutional right. I'm a registered voter, and I have a choice to do what I want to do. I'm going to end up going to Suffolk County.”
Backers said the risks to restaurant workers require a ban. But Jim Kelly, 42, the bartender at B.K. Sweeney's, said he'd be hurt more by the lack of tips. "The effect is going to drive me to drink because of not making any money,” he said.
Up the street at Leo's, Toni Butler, 54, a non-smoker from Westbury, said it was "delightful to be in here today. My eyes aren't burning.” But she said the ban still seems like an abridgement of civil liberties. "I'm not quite sure I'm comfortable with that.”
Newsday - March 1, 2003
Nassau Airs Out Smoking Ban
By Errol A. Cockfield Jr.
New York State's most stringent workplace smoking ban, a law that prohibits the practice in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and other establishments, took effect Saturday morning in Nassau County.
The county's health department, which will oversee the ban's enforcement, made preparations on Friday to inform businesses about the new law. Businesses could be fined up to $250 a day for violations or ultimately be closed for repeat offenses.
Health Commissioner David Ackman said that over the next few weeks his office will send 5,000 notices to businesses that have food and liquor licenses.
Initially, Ackman said, his office will warn violators by phone if the health department receives complaints, but after the law is on the books for three months, health inspectors will make visits on a case-by-case basis.
A representative for the owners said Friday that many of them planned to meet on Monday in Garden City to decide their next step.
Brian Rosenberg, president of Bars Against Drunk Driving, a group representing 60 bar owners, said, that step "will be legal ... Obviously, there's nothing else we can do.”
Smith, whose bar is a mile from the Suffolk border, said, "I have my customers tell me firsthand they will go to Suffolk. I can understand. I'm a smoker.”
The business owners are not the only ones concerned about loss of revenue. Last week, Nassau Off Track Betting Corp. officials told county lawmakers they estimate Nassau could lose $3.5 million annually because of the implementation gap between Nassau and Suffolk because a high number of gamblers smoke.
Dispatch - March 1, 2003
Philip Morris coming back?
By John Reid Blackwell
Philip Morris USA may relocate its headquarters from New York City to Richmond, a move that could bring hundreds of employees to the area.
The company did not deny a report released yesterday by a Wall Street analyst. She said the nation's largest cigarette manufacturer, a unit of Altria Group Inc., is likely to move its headquarters to Richmond as a cost-cutting measure.
"We have learned from our contacts that there is a good chance that PM USA may be relocating its headquarters to Richmond, Virginia, and an announcement could come very shortly," said Bonnie Herzog, a tobacco industry analyst for Salomon Smith Barney.
Jennifer Golisch, a local spokeswoman for Philip Morris USA, would not comment directly on the analyst's report, but she said the company has been considering moving the headquarters.
New York City recently passed a ban on smoking in almost all indoor places, which could factor into the company's decision on whether to keep the headquarters of its cigarette unit there.
If the company came to Richmond, "employees may once again be able to smoke in their offices, given the smoking ban in New York City," Herzog added.
Newsday - February 28, 2003
2006 Smoking Ban Signed Into Law
By Emi Endo
Suffolk County Executive Robert Gaffney Thursday signed into law a sweeping smoking ban covering bars, restaurants and virtually all indoor workplaces.
While a similar measure in Nassau County goes into effect Saturday and one in New York City begins March 30, Suffolk's legislation outlaws smoking in bars and restaurants beginning in 2006 and in offices, bingo halls and other workplaces not covered by the current law in 2004.
Sun - February 27, 2003
Clubs Preparing To Challenge City On Smoking Ban
Players Board Votes To Fight the Law
BY A.L. Gordon
Some of the city’s most prestigious private clubs are banding together to fight the city’s tough new smoking ban, which takes effect March 30.
The board of the 635-member Players Club voted unanimously Tuesday night to authorize John Martello, the club’s executive director, to take action to fight the law — possibly suing to get an exemption.
Richard Farley, a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindell, is advising the Players Club.
A spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg, Jordan Barowitz, said the city has no intention of softening the law.
Sidney Zion, a journalist and longtime member of the Players Club and the Yale Club, feels the smoking law represents a “return to prohibition…this is 1984, this is Big Brother deciding.”
The Players Club has organized a Cigar Night on April 1 to raise money for legal action.
NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note: Uh, we're sorry, but we believe a COURT OF LAW will decide that.
Post - February 27, 2003
$2 a Pack Increase in Tax On Cigarettes Is Rejected
By Ceci Connolly
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said yesterday
that the Bush administration has no plans to adopt
the recommendation of its advisory panel on smoking and health to raise the federal cigarette tax by $2 a pack.
In testimony on Capitol Hill, Thompson said he was enthusiastic about
the panel's advice to devote more money to smoking
cessation programs but that raising the tobacco tax was not an option.
"We are not contemplating it," he told members of the House Budget Committee. "This administration does not raise taxes."
- February 26, 2003
U.S. Activists Want Washington Out of Tobacco Talks
GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) - U.S. health activists Tuesday urged
Washington to pull out of negotiations on a global treaty
against smoking, saying that the U.S. government seemed bent on weakening the planned pact.
``We, the major U.S. public health groups ... demand that the U.S. delegation
... pack their bags and go home,'' Judith
Wilkenfeld, a director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told a news conference.
The health groups, including the American Cancer Society and the American
Heart Association, accused the United States of
being the ``primary obstacle'' to a strong treaty needed to halt the spiraling death toll from smoking.
They said that Washington was resisting a call for an advertising ban
even though the draft declares that those countries for
whom this could pose constitutional problems -- because of issues of free speech -- would be exempt.
Washington was also against strong action on so-called ``second hand smoke,'' despite the fact that many U.S. states have tough restrictions on smoking in public places.
It also opposed including wording giving tobacco control measures precedence
over free trade laws in any future legal dispute
between states, the activists said.
NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note: And this is bad news? The control freaks are upset that the U.S. is respecting our constitutional guarantees?
Freeman - February 26, 2003
April 2 eyed for hearing on smoking ban
By William J. Kemble
KINGSTON - Ulster County lawmakers are being asked to set an April 2 public hearing on a proposal to ban smoking in most public places.
The Legislature will vote March 13 on whether to schedule the hearing.
"I polled the (Public Health) Committee members after (last Thursday's) meeting, and they agreed to pass a resolution setting a hearing date, and that will be voted on March 13," said Legislator Joseph Roberti, the Saugerties Republican who chairs the committee.
Under the law, smoking would be prohibited in all places of employment, except for retail tobacco shops, while designated "smoking areas" would be established in residential health-care facilities and lodging businesses.
Specifically, smoking would be banned in "any indoor and outdoor enclosed area" under control of a "public or private employer."
Penalties for violating the law would be fines of up to $1,000 per incident and up to 40 hours of community service.
Newsday - February 25, 2003
Steadfast About Smoking Ban
Nassau Dems fight pressure
By Errol A. Cockfield Jr
An eleventh-hour effort by business owners to push back the start date of Nassau's smoking ban failed yesterday when the leader of the Nassau County Legislature said she would not allow a vote on a measure to delay the ban.
Despite a rally in Mineola yesterday by business owners seeking a delay, Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury), head of the Democratic majority that pushed through the initial legislation, refused to permit consideration of an amendment that would have put the ban into effect on Jan. 1, 2006 - the date that a similar ban in Suffolk is set to begin.
"I've been talking to my customers and they're telling me that if it's 10 or 15 minutes away they'll go to Suffolk," Mike Panagatos, who owns the Empress Diner in East Meadow, said during a morning news conference the owners' held.
Republicans accused Jacobs, who controls the legislative calendar, of stifling action on the issue although a majority of the 19 lawmakers in the legislature back a delay.
News - February 25, 2003
Push for smoking ban infuriates bar crowd
By Stephen Watson
Patti Macaluso isn't an activist.
But news that Erie County is considering a ban on smoking in public places made the Cheektowaga tavern owner angry. So angry, in fact, that she organized a meeting of local bar owners Monday night, at which they vented their frustration over the ban and talked about what they can do to fight it.
"I hope we have sent a message to the Erie County Legislature, that we fully intend to oppose any changes in the current smoking restrictions," Macaluso told a group of about 60 bar owners, employees and patrons at her Macaroon's Nite Club.
A bill that would ban smoking in the county is not going anywhere right now, said Legislator Gregory P. Falkner, R-West Seneca, the only legislator at the meeting. The bill will be the subject of numerous public hearings before the Legislature votes.
Choice was a recurring theme for speakers. A ban "is against our civil rights," said Bill Draper, a Macaroon's patron who addressed the meeting. "It's time for the people who smoke to stand up for their own rights."
The bar owners said the smoking ban would be another burden, on top of the laws, permits and insurance coverage they already have to worry about.
Larry Pilarz, owner of Adam's Steak & Seafood Restaurant in Cheektowaga, said the 1998 law creating nonsmoking sections in restaurants is working just fine for smokers, nonsmokers and restaurant owners, he said.
Union - February 24, 2003
Smoking bill talks show promise
Albany-- Compromise under consideration would give taverns exemptions in some situations
By Cathy Woodruff
Albany County Legislator Gary Domalewicz is amending his proposed workplace smoking ban in an effort to compromise with opponents who believe a total ban would damage tavern businesses.
One proposal now on the table would exempt owner-operated, free-standing bars staffed only by the owner and the owner's family. That would not run afoul of a key concern for advocates of the law, who say workers should not be forced to breathe secondhand smoke as a condition of employment.
Under discussion is the difficult question of how the law should treat bars attached to restaurants, Domalewicz said.
One proposal would allow construction of a wall between the bar and dining area with separate ventilation for the bar. Domalewicz said that plan is troublesome for health advocates, however, because some employees still would be exposed to the smoke and physicians say no level of tobacco smoke, a carcinogen, has been proven safe.
Another possibility is a provision allowing separately ventilated smoking rooms set aside only for smokers, where waiters, waitresses and other employees would not be allowed to enter. A similar exception is included in a New York City smoking ban recently approved.
The legislature sent the smoking bill back to its Health Committee earlier this month, after an 11th-hour push by opponents turned the tide against a broad ban. Domalewicz said his goal is to have amended legislation ready for review by the committee on Wednesday and scheduled for a public hearing in March. That would enable a vote by the full legislature on April 14.
NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note: "...no level... has been proven safe" is outright trickery. The scientific burden is to prove that something, at some level, is unsafe. It is scientifically unethical to say we don't know, therefore it's unsafe.
New - February 22, 2003
Law proposed to extend smoking ban
MAYVILLE - A proposed local law to extend the smoking ban in Chautauqua County facilities to outside entryways will be introduced at next week's County Legislature meeting.
The Human Services Committee late this week adopted an amendment to the county's Sanitary Code, which currently bans smoking in all county buildings and vehicles.
Chairwoman Sallie Pullano, D-Fredonia, said the change would also ban smoking within a 15-foot radius of the doorways. The change is designed to prevent entryways from becoming clogged by people who step just outside the door to light up.
- February 21, 2003
Health Official Considers Bid to Raise Cigarette Tax to $2
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 — Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of health and human services, said today that he was considering whether to support an increase in the federal cigarette tax to $2 a pack, from the current 39 cents, as recommended by an advisory committee.
Last week, the Health and Human Services Department's Interagency Committee
on Smoking and Health approved a plan for
the steep increase in the tax. Half the money raised would be allocated for initiatives to help people stop smoking.
Mr. Thompson said Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the surgeon general, who led the committee, was coming up with a recommendation for him.
"I haven't made a decision on the tax, but I like the concept of a fund,"
Mr. Thompson told reporters. "I think the general
premise of setting up some sort of fund to give dollars back to people who want to quit smoking is good."
He said he raised cigarette taxes while governor of Wisconsin, but added that the issue of a tax was problematic politically.
Freeman - February 21, 2003
Smoking ban supporters, foes would rather fight than switch
By William J. Kemble
KINGSTON - Overwhelming support met fierce opposition Thursday to a proposed law that would ban smoking in all Ulster County workplaces not covered by existing state and federal laws.
Penalties for violations of the law would be fines of up to $1,000 per incident and could include 40 hours of community service.
Press - February 19, 2003
Smoking Ban Takes Effect March 30th
A ban on smoking in all facilities, offices and vehicles owned by the city Department of Correction will go into effect on March 30, the department announced today.
The new policy, part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sweeping ban on workplace smoking, applies to inmates, staffers and visitors, correction Commissioner Martin Horn said.
A four-week transition period will start in the beginning of March, during which time the number of cigarettes inmates can purchase at jail commissaries will be reduced.
Beginning March 30, tobacco products, lighters and matches will be contraband. The department said inmates found with them would be subject to discipline and visitors who smoke would be removed and could have visiting privileges restricted.
News - February 14, 2003
Law requiring fire-safe cigarettes delayed again
By Tom Precious
ALBANY - The long-delayed implementation of a law mandating that only fire-safety cigarettes be sold in New York has been postponed again.
The period for the public and the tobacco industry to comment on the regulations was to have ended Saturday, but Pataki administration officials said Thursday they were pushing back that deadline back by two months. Health groups say the law, which was to have been implemented by July 1, now will not take effect until next year.
Newsday - February 14, 2003
Judges Uphold Net Cigarette Sales Ban
Ruling includes telephone, mail transactions
By Patricia Hurtado
A federal appeals court panel has ruled that the state can legally ban
the direct sale of cigarettes to New York consumers over
the Internet, telephone and through mail.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturned a 2001 lower
court ruling that declared the state law prohibiting
such sales as unconstitutional because it interferes with interstate commerce.
The law, passed in August 2000, barred the sale, shipping and transporting
of cigarettes from other than a traditional retail store
and imposed civil and criminal penalties upon violators.
David Remes, lead lawyer for Brown & Williamson, said, "We believe
the district court was right and believe that the state law
violates the constitution." Asked if he would appeal the ruling, Remes said, "Brown & Williamson is considering its options."
News 9 - February 14, 2003
Snuffing out smoking in public places
An Albany County plan to snuff out smoking is catching on with its neighbors. Schenectady County lawmakers are now considering a plan to ban smoking in public places.
Community leaders gathered Thursday night at Schenectady County Community College to discuss the plan with residents.
The measure would ban smoking in all indoor public places, even bars and restaurants.
A spokesperson for The New York State Restaurant Association is encouraging the measure. He said a smoke-free atmosphere is good for business.
News - February 13, 2003
Bush Accused of Catering to Big Tobacco on Global Treaty
By Robert B. Bluey
Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - About a dozen tobacco-control activists rallied outside the Department of Health and Human Services Wednesday, accusing Secretary Tommy Thompson and President Bush of watering down a global treaty regulating tobacco.
The final negotiating session of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is set to begin next week in Geneva, which will lead to a vote in May. It also serves as the end to discussions that begin under the Clinton administration in October 1999.
Wilkenfeld also decried other "weak" areas of the treaty. She would like a complete ban on tobacco advertising, limits on "light" and "low tar" cigarettes and tougher language on secondhand smoke.
Some of those provisions would conflict with established law in the United States, including the First Amendment of the Constitution, said Kenneth Bernard, an assistant surgeon general and head of the U.S. delegation.
Bernard was particularly critical of a complete ban on tobacco advertising, which he said is unconstitutional and would preclude Bush from signing the treaty.
"We have federalism issues and First Amendment issues that keep us from signing onto certain high-minded initiatives," he said. "Some countries have banned tobacco smoking in public. You can ban all you want, but if you do nothing about it, it doesn't make any difference. It's one thing to sign onto a ban, it's another thing to enforce it."
Bernard, who is heading to Geneva later this week, said he does not understand why tobacco-control groups have attacked the United States.
"I'm trying to figure what we're doing that's way out of line," he said. "In this country, we have some of the most aggressive anti-smoking campaigns and health-oriented smoking policies in the world. We think a lot of people should be following our lead. Why they think we're trying to sabotage this is peculiar."
Post - February 12, 2003
$2 Federal Cigarette Tax Hike Sought
Increase Could Cut Use And Save Lives, Health Commission Tells Bush
By Ceci Connolly
A federal health commission on smoking is recommending that the Bush
administration raise the federal tax on cigarettes from
39 cents to $2.39 a pack, arguing that the huge increase could prevent 3 million premature deaths and help 5 million Americans
quit smoking within a year.
At least half of the $28 billion expected to be generated by the tax
increase would be invested in anti-tobacco efforts such as a
national quit line, a major advertising campaign and insurance coverage for federal workers seeking treatment.
White House spokesman Scott McLellan said that, in general, President Bush "believes in cutting taxes, not increasing taxes."
"The government pockets over $80 million a day from smokers," said David
Howard, a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco
Co. "The government certainly has all the money it needs if it is interested in addressing smoker issues."
Philip Morris USA spokeswoman Jamie Drogin said state and federal tobacco
taxes and payments negotiated in the 1998
national tobacco settlement will generate more than $20 billion in government revenue this year. In many instances, she said, the
money is being spent on projects unrelated to tobacco and health.
News 9 - February 11, 2003
Smoking ban advocates rally for a vote
By: Elizabeth Hur
Even the snow couldn't stop a dozen "Local Law G" advocates from voicing their disappointment Monday night.
Protester Judy Rightmyer said, "I am so upset about the delay. This is really a no brainer. We should have this law passed."
Event organizer Susan Christman said, "We're here to urge them to pass this bill tonight and to let them know that we're disappointed and we're calling on them to protect the public's health."
While Domalewicz and the protesters maintain the people of Albany want
the bill to be passed, some disagreed and said an
amendment is necessary.
A satisfaction for everyone concerned is what Majority Leader, Frank
Commisso, said he supports. He said that's why he
made the ultimate decision to send the bill back to the Health Committee.
Commisso said, "I care about the residents of Albany County and what they think. And therefore, we're going to study this plan as to how we want to go forward with it."
Commisso said a finalized version of the bill will be voted on during the legislature's meeting in April.
Skyline - February 10, 2003
Smokers Fight To Reclaim Their Rights
By Dan McLean
Two state legislators have teamed up to ban smoking across the state of New York and that’s not pleasing Audrey Silk, a local smokers’ rights champion.
Silk, the founder of the Brooklyn-based Citizens Lobby Against Smoking Harassment (CLASH), is a visible fighter against the growing tide of legislation, which Silk says discriminates against smokers.
She has fought many battles, but lost all her recent fights. Despite her objections, both the state and the city raised taxes on cigarettes — making New York City one of the most expensive places in the world to buy a pack of smokes. She also fought Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s successful efforts to ban smoking in nearly every bar, bowling alley, bingo parlor and restaurant in New York City.
But Silk has not slowed down and does not think the fight is over.
“There is no such thing as giving up hope — that [the law] can’t be amended, that it can’t be repealed,” Silk said, noting that Delaware is revoking a portion of their no-smoking laws.
Silk has begun her statewide battle by encouraging members to write to their state senators and assemblymen. About half of the legislators, she said, already know the name Audrey Silk and she is ready to make sure the other half know her as well.
Marty Golden, Bensonhurst’s former city councilman who was recently elected to the state Senate, is one of Silk’s favorite politicians.
“My senator is now Marty Golden. Hooray! He’s on our side,” she said over the phone last Thursday.
As councilman, Golden voted against the mayor’s broad extension of the smoking ban.
Silk is counting on Golden to stand up for the rights of smokers, should legislation banning smoking ever reach the Senate floor.
The campaign to ban smoking in bars and restaurants statewide has gained a powerful ally, the New York State Restaurant Association. But the motivation is not concern for workers inhaling second-hand smoke, as Bloomberg argued. It’s being pushed to create an even playing field for restaurants who have to deal with a potpourri of county laws.
According to the Restaurant Association, in the past six months more than 10 counties have introduced legislation to ban smoking in all workplaces — including restaurants, bars, taverns and private clubs.
Nassau County’s law will take effect first, on March 1. New York City will not be far behind. On March 30, smoking a cigarette in a city bar will be banned.
The New York State Restaurant Association, according to Silk, represents the larger restaurants and “has turned tail and joined the enemy.”
They now support strengthened no-smoking laws to prevent customers from traveling to bars and restaurants in the next county to dodge strict no-smoker rules.
“Our fear,” the Restaurant Association states in their February legislative update, “is that the state Legislature will exempt private clubs and taverns. We believe this would create an unlevel playing field that would be highly detrimental to our members.”
In their recent resolution, the Restaurant Association said “dealing with this issue on the local level would result in a ‘patchwork quilt’ of regulations that would create an unfair competitive situation for our members.”
Silk notes that the association’s reasons are based on finances and profit margins, not health reasons.
“The places that allow smoking are making more money — absolutely,” Silk said. “Why else would they be calling for a ‘level playing field?’”
The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, who represents the smaller businesses, is still standing with Silk and her pro-smoking group.
Silk is encouraging her followers to boycott all establishments that do not allow smoking and those which haven’t defended New Yorkers’ right to smoke.
“These people [bar and restaurant owners] need to wake up,” she said. “If they are not going to help fight for the customers they want to serve, then we’re not going to go and help them. If you are not accommodated, don’t drink there, don’t eat there.”
On March 30, Silk and CLASH have planned an event across the harbor in Hoboken, NJ. The message, according to Silk, is “Good Bye, New York City, we’re taking our money somewhere else.”
CLASH has 250 members, Silk said, and the group’s website receives around 2,500 hits per day.
Assemblyman Peter Grannis, a Manhattan Democrat, and state Senator Charles Fuschillo, a Long Island Republican, are the legislators who have introduced the bill.
Union - February 10, 2003
Politics cloud smoking ban's chances
Albany-- Legislators change stance after minor parties object to bill
By Cathy Woodruff
Leaders of two minor Albany County political parties have launched an 11th-hour push against a sweeping indoor smoking ban proposed for Albany County.
And while Democratic and Republican leaders have left their members in the County Legislature to establish their own positions on the issue, anti-smoking advocates believe the Independence and Conservative party leaders are achieving some unexpected influence. The local law proposed by Democrat Gary Domalewicz of Albany appears stalled.
As the proposal neared what was expected to be a vote of the full legislature tonight, legislators and party leaders say they began hearing from representatives of the county Conservative and Independence parties weighing in against the bill.
During a party caucus Thursday, several Democrats expressed new reservations about the legislation, which would prohibit smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. That led to a split on whether to try to amend it or bring it to a vote as planned, and Majority Leader Frank Commisso declared it would be sent back to the Health Committee to be further mulled over.
Amendments are possible.
Albany County Conservative Chairman Richard Stack said he has contacted, perhaps, eight or nine legislators personally to note his party's opposition to Domalewicz's proposal. The local position, he notes, is consistent with the state Conservative Party's well-established opposition to anti-smoking laws. He also notes that several tavern owners concerned about losing business are active in the local party.
Journal News - February 9, 2003
Westchester considers wider ban on smoking
By Keith Eddings
WHITE PLAINS — Westchester legislators will hold a second public hearing tomorrow on a proposal to ban smoking in most workplaces in the county, including all bars.
In Westchester, the bill that goes to a hearing tomorrow would extend a limited smoking ban put in place several years ago by the county Board of Health that prohibits smoking in restaurants but allows it in bars, even if the bars are part of restaurants. The tougher ban would end smoking in all bars and other workplaces, with a few exceptions.
Residential treatment centers, such as nursing homes, would be permitted to allow smoking in designated areas; hotels could allow it in designated rooms; and private organizations that are staffed only by volunteers, such as an American Legion, could permit it in their buildings. Smoking also would be allowed in tobacco shops and businesses run from the home, except businesses that provide child care or health care.
The legislators could vote on the bill after the hearing tomorrow if it is not opposed there, but might send the bill back to committee if it is opposed. If the bill goes back, it could return to the full legislature for a vote March 3.
The bill has wide support in the legislature, and aides to County Executive Andrew Spano said Friday that he would sign it. The ban would take effect 90 days after Spano signs the bill.
The bill is opposed by the Westchester-Rockland chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, which has 300 members. Chapter President Peter Riekstins, who owns Pete's Saloon and Restaurant in Elmsford, said the ban would drive away patrons and that current regulations are working well enough.
of Atlantic City - February 8, 2003
Bill would end smoking in N.J. bars and casinos
By Joe Weinert and Pete McAleer
Hospitality workers would breathe easier - but their bosses might breathe harder - if a statewide smoking ban advancing in the Legislature is enacted.
The Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee unanimously passed the Clean Indoor Air Act, which would ban smoking in common areas of casinos, restaurants, bars, banks, hotels and other indoor public places. It now heads to the Assembly Health Committee.
The bill allows a business to create a separate, enclosed smoking area with its own ventilation system.
Times - February 7, 2003
Bill aims a smoking gun
By Tracey L. Regan
TRENTON - Just weeks after the Republican mayor of New York City made good on his vow to ban smoking from bars and restaurants, Democratic lawmakers here followed suit with a sweeping proposal to snuff out most indoor puffing in the Garden State.
A bill that would ban smoking in nearly all public workplaces was approved unanimously in the Assembly Environment Committee yesterday, over the insistent protests of prominent restaurant owners.
The version passed yesterday allows exemptions for social, religious and fraternal organizations, tiny owner-operated bars and restaurants and tobacco bars and for rooms that are entirely enclosed and have their own ventilation systems.
Smokers at Trenton bars and restaurants expressed mixed feelings yesterday about the bill, which has yet to find a sponsor in the Senate.
Despite the early jubilation of the Assembly sponsors, there are already hints of dissent and compromise on the horizon.
Assembly Minority Leader Paul DiGaetano, R-Passaic, who was lunching yesterday at Marsilio's Restaurant, also in Chambersburg, said he would be willing to consider a ban on dining room smoke but said he would not support extending it to bars.
"Some legislation will pass. But we'll see what the public has to say. It will be a balancing act," said Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Roberts, D-Bellmawr, himself a nightclub and restaurant owner dining at another table at Marsilio's.
"Smoking is legal, and we don't want to constrain rights, particularly when we're getting a lot of revenue from tobacco."
Gov. James E. McGreevey has no position yet on the bill, a spokesman said.
Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Lawrence, who has sponsored legislation that would allow municipalities to enact their own smoking ordinances, did not seem overly confident about the bill sailing through her politically divided house.
Union - February 7, 2003
County Democrats delay vote on indoor smoking ban
Albany-- Questions and proposed changes arise during a party caucus, angering the law's sponsor
By Cathy Woodruff
A proposed indoor smoking ban that was on track for a vote Monday by the Albany County Legislature was derailed Thursday in a move that left sponsor Gary Domalewicz wailing that he'd been double-crossed by fellow Democratic leaders.
But at Thursday's caucus, several Democrats for the first time started pitching amendments and urging compromise. They suggested exempting taverns, or delaying enforcement for bars and restaurants or setting an acceptable standard for tobacco smoke.
After a split on whether to put the bill up for a vote on Monday or send it back to committee, Commisso of Albany declared it would go to the Health Committee.
In an unusual development, dozens of tavern owners and other opponents attended the caucus. Tavern owners say the law could put some of them out of business and that workers and customers can go elsewhere if they don't like the smoke.
Gene Messercola of Guilderland drew loud applause as he declared, "I think we've got too much government in this building," and Luci McKnight of Albany was cheered when she asked "When are we going to stop telling business owners how to run their businesses?"
The bill's future is unclear. Domalewicz said a compromise could cost workers full protection. Houghtaling and Commisso expect some form of the law to pass.
Sun - February 4, 2003
Albany Readies A Statewide ban On Smoking In Bars
By Errol Louis
The city’s ultra-tough smoking ban — which starts next month — may soon be going statewide.
Two state legislators are close to completing the first draft of a bill that would ban smoking in all workplaces throughout New York State, in a manner closely modeled on the restrictions that are scheduled to go into effect in New York City March 30.
Tobacco industry sources and opponents of smoking predict that some version of the proposed statewide ban will pass this year.
A staff member in the office of Assemblyman Peter Grannis, a Manhattan Democrat, said he is drafting a comprehensive anti-smoking bill that will be co-sponsored in the State Senate by Charles Fuschillo, a Long Island Republican.
The position Governor Pataki will take in the debate is not clear. While Mr. Pataki said during his re-election campaign that he supports a statewide anti-smoking bill, the governor also worked to kill a bill, sponsored by Mr. Grannis and Mr. Fuschillo, which would have placed smoking restrictions on taverns.
News - February 4, 2003
ERIE COUNTY LEGISLATURE
Total smoking ban in public areas urged
By Robert J. McCarthy
The process of attempting to ban or partially ban public smoking in Erie County gets under way today when County Executive Joel A. Giambra is expected to announce plans to hold hearings on the effort.
Sources in Giambra's office said he has scheduled a morning news conference to address the issue following a proposal by Democrats in the County Legislature to ban virtually all public smoking.
Under the Democratic proposal, county laws would go beyond the 1996 legislation that limited smoking to restricted areas in public places such as restaurants, bingo halls and bowling centers. Under the new proposed law, smoking would be completely prohibited in most public buildings and areas.
Giambra sources indicate the county executive, who has been vocal in his opposition to tobacco since undergoing surgery for cancer caused by smoking more than two years ago, has not yet decided on a final course. But it is believed he wants to hear from various groups, including bar and restaurant owners, anti-smoking activists, and representatives of Roswell Park Cancer Institute before deciding.
Newsday - February 1, 2003
Cigarette Delay Snuffed
Pataki reverses halt on law to require 'fire-safe' smokes
By Víctor Manuel Ramos
Albany - Just two days after Gov. George Pataki released his state budget including a proposed delay of a new law forcing tobacco companies to sell safer cigarettes, that decision has been reversed.
Press - January 31, 2003
Pataki administration: no delay on `low-ignition' cigarette law
By Joel Stashenko
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The Pataki administration said Friday the governor's 2003-04 executive budget contained an erroneous reference to a proposed two-year delay in requiring that "low ignition" cigarettes be sold in New York.
One paragraph in the 1,077-page budget document referred to legislation the governor was submitting with the spending plan to hold off implementing the "fire-safe" cigarette law passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. George Pataki in 2000.
The budget also explained that a delay would generate an additional $15.7 million in the 2003-04 fiscal year.
Under the state rule-making process, the Pataki administration is currently gathering public comment on proposed regulations putting the cigarette-fire prevention law into effect. The earliest that could take place is July 1, 2003, though even advocates for the law concede it might take up to a year longer to actually put the statute into force.
A proposed delay and the legislation to make it happen was not in the spending plan Pataki sent to the Legislature this week, his spokesman Joseph Conway said Friday.
"It was a staff error and that page should not have been in the budget," Conway said. "So there is no change in the policy."
NYPIRG and other groups also complained that Pataki's budget would cut money to run anti-smoking programs in New York from the current-year $45 million to about $37 million in fiscal
Newsday - January 30, 2003
Smoking Ban Hits Gaffney's Desk
Exec considers bill with '06 start date
By Emi Endo
With the battle over a sweeping indoor smoking ban decided in the Suffolk Legislature, the focus now shifts to County Executive Robert Gaffney, who is mulling whether to sign the bill into law.
Gaffney, a former smoker who has supported previous clean indoor-air laws, declined yesterday to stake a position on the bill that would ban smoking in bars and restaurants beginning in 2006, and in other indoor workplaces next year.
Gaffney has scheduled a public hearing on the issue for Feb. 13 in the H. Lee Dennison building in Hauppauge. He has until Feb. 28 to sign or veto the bill, or let it become law by taking no action.
If Gaffney vetoes the legislation, it would take 12 votes to override. Besides the bill's five co-sponsors, seven of the other eight legislators who voted for the bill Tuesday indicated yesterday that they would likely stand by their positions. Efforts to reach Legis. Michael Caracciolo (R-Baiting Hollow), who also supported the bill, were unsuccessful yesterday.
Newsday - January 30, 2003
Snuff Out Delay in Smoking Ban
As the Suffolk County Legislature prepared to compromise with restaurateurs
by delaying until 2006 the start of a total ban on
smoking in bars and restaurants, opponents of delay had a real fear: That it would tempt Nassau County or New York City to
back down on their new smoking bans, which take effect in March. Republicans in the Nassau County Legislature would like
to do just that. Thankfully, Democrats are holding firm, as they should.
That same day, Republicans on the Nassau legislature filed a resolution
to delay implementation of Nassau's law. They
apparently believed the argument that the smoking ban would make customers spurn smokeless bars - despite evidence to the
contrary in California.
At a caucus Tuesday, Democrats rejected the idea. So it is dead. It
should remain, like the Wicked Witch of the East in "The
Wizard of Oz," not just merely dead, but really most sincerely dead.
NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note: The so-called California "evidence to the contrary" is as fictional as the Wizard of Oz.
Union - January 30, 2003
Smoking ban endorsed in split decision
Albany-- County Health Committee recommends passage of law
By Cathy Woodruff
A divided Health Committee endorsed on Wednesday a proposed law that would ban smoking in Albany County workplaces, including restaurants and bars, setting the stage for a vote by the full County Legislature on Feb. 10.
In a break with usual procedure, Health Committee Chairwoman Mary Lou Connolly, D-Guilderland, allowed advocates who packed the caucus room to speak and respond to questions.
Tavern owners repeated their contention that a smoking ban would damage their businesses, while representatives of the American Cancer Society and the heart and lung associations urged committee members to stay focused on the public health aims of the proposal championed by Legislator Gary Domalewicz, D-Albany.
Newsday - January 29, 2003
Suffolk OKs Smoking Ban as of 2006
Compromise measure draws criticism from both sides
By Valerie Burgher and Emi Endo
The Suffolk County Legislature Tuesday passed a far-reaching public health measure that would ban smoking in all bars and restaurants throughout the county beginning in 2006.
The measure, approved 13-5, was debated hotly for months. While anti-smoking advocates had called upon Suffolk to join New York City and Nassau County, which have passed similar bans that take effect much sooner, local tavern owners argued that the ban would drive customers away.
But James Stramo, owner of Jimmy's Pub in Patchogue, noted in testimony Tuesday that restaurant workers, whom the law was designed to shield from second-hand smoke, had never pushed for the ban.
"The waitresses and bartenders are not here,” Stramo told lawmakers during a public comment period. "Where are they? They're the people you're supposed to be protecting.”
As a compromise, Foley amended the law to give bar and restaurant owners two more years before enforcing the legislation. Bingo halls and all other workplaces will still have to comply by next year.
Post Standard - January 26, 2003
Cayuga smoking restriction plan now is rekindling
By Scott Rapp
A proposed law that would restrict smoking in Cayuga County's public places has sparked some resistance in the county legislature.
"It's another regulation, and who's going to enforce it?" asked county Legislator Paul M. Dudley, R-Cato, chairman of the Legislature's Ways and Means Committee.
"I'm opposed to more regulations," he said. "I hate smoke and I can't stand to be around it, but I just see it as another government extension of intruding into people's lives."
The proposed law, which needs to be approved by the county legislature to go into effect, has languished until recently.
The legislature's Health and Human Services Committee, which oversees public health measures, plans a second discussion of the bill next month with county health board President Tom Donnelly, a retired doctor. Other legislators are invited to the Feb. 6 meeting.
Record - January 26, 2003
Proposed law a smoking gun
By James V. Franco
ALBANY - Even smokers, for the most part, are tolerant of laws that would stop them from lighting up in places that serve food. But bar patrons, smoker or non-smoker, by and large are not in favor of taking away what they claim is a smoker's last public refuge.
Area bar owners are also pretty sure that if the state bans smoking
in their establishments, which is a distinct possibility this year, business
would suffer. Bar employees say it would be nice not to breathe second-hand
smoke for an entire shift.
"To stop smoking in a restaurant is a good idea," said Judy Hotaling, a non-smoker and owner of BR Finley's. "Trying to eat in a smoke-filled room is disgusting. But in a bar? That's what bars are known for."
She said some 80 percent of her patrons, generally ages 21 to 50, smoke, and if the basement bar on Fourth Street in Troy becomes too smoke filled for a patron's taste, the patron can always leave.
"Why don't they just stop selling cigarettes," she said. "See how much tax money the government loses if they do that, then look at the money I will lose if they stop my customers from smoking."
The 8,000-strong New York State Restaurant Association is in favor of a universal statewide law. The logic being that by allowing restaurateurs the choice to ban smoking will unfairly give those that allow smoking an unfair business advantage. It is better to have a level playing field across the state rather than have self imposed regulation or different regulation from county to county.
"The only equitable resolution is to insure that a level playing field is created not only from an economic perspective, but also from a public health one," said Rick Sampson, president of NYSRA.
One group against the ban is the Empire State Tavern and Restaurant Association, which represents smaller dining establishments and those businesses that have liquor licenses. According to spokesman Scott Wexler, a ban on smoking would hurt the smaller individual businesses, despite the opposite claim by the NYSRA and no-smoking advocates who say there will be no adverse impact.
Wexler said they like to point to California's complete ban.. About 40 percent of the bars and restaurants still allow smoking on outside patios, something the California climate is more apt to comfortably permit 12 months out of the year, unlike upstate New York.
He also he said 81 percent of California's bars and taverns reported
a decline in business, and sales tax from establishments that serve alcohol
in California dropped 15 percent since the ban went into effect in 1998.
He added that the smaller family-run businesses that he represents will not be able to absorb even a small dip in business, unlike the larger businesses represented by the NYSRA.
Business Review (Albany) - January 20, 2003
Poll: Most New Yorkers support public smoking ban
The majority of respondents to a statewide poll by the Siena Research Institute said they would support a ban on smoking in all public spaces.
The poll of 622 New York residents over the age of 18 found that 58
percent of respondents would support a ban throughout the
state. The same percentage said they would be more likely to patronize a smoke-free restaurant, 14 percent said they would be less likely, and 28 percent said it didn't matter.
When asked how a ban would affect their likelihood of patronizing a bar, respondents didn't register a majority in any category, with the greatest percentage — 42 percent — saying it didn't matter. Thirty eight percent said they would be more likely to patronize a smoke-free bar and 42 percent said they would be less likely.
NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note: "Most"?? Headlines mislead again.
A bare majority is not "most" in the sense they want you to believe.
Report - January 19, 2003
NEW YORK CITY MAYOR FUMED OVER 'SMOKING' ON STAGE AT STONES CONCERT
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is fuming mad over Rolling Stones members smoking on stage at Madison Square Garden during an nationally televised concert this weekend, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
"The mayor sent cops to issue summonses," one stage source told the DRUDGE REPORT late Saturday. "But the cops watched the show, off stage, by a monitor, instead of stopping the concert."
HBO cameras captured band members Keith Richards and Ron Wood smoking cigarettes while performing.
"The band raced out of the Garden after they finished their last number, avoiding the police," an insider said. "The music had not even finished playing; and they were in cars already, spinning away. They did not even go to their dressing rooms!"
Bloomberg is also trying to get smoking banned in Central Park.
- January 17, 2003
NYC Sues Web Cigarette Vendors for Tax Evasion
New York City, which has one of the nation's highest cigarette taxes, sued a group of web site owners on Friday for evading the steep taxes by selling cartons over the Internet to Big Apple smokers.
The suit, believed to be the largest filed so far by a city or state against Internet tobacco vendors, was filed under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act that allows for triple damages. Under that act, plaintiffs must prove that defendants engaged in a pattern of wrongdoing consisting of two or more incidents of certain crimes.
The city's case, which was filed in Manhattan federal court, alleges the defendant companies and some of their officers own or control about 15 Internet web sites that sell cigarettes.
- January 16, 2003
Statewide smoking ban brewing
Many employers already make smokers light up outside. Restaurants have
smoking and non-smoking areas. But a new push is
underway to ban smoking in all public places in New York State.
Right now only two states ban smoking in all public places: California and Delaware. The empire state may be next.
For the first time ever, the New York State Restaurant Association has teamed up with health care groups to support a proposal that would ban indoor smoking in public places — from bars to factories — without any exemptions.
The Restaurant Association doesn't have the support of all restaurant owners, though.
"I don't smoke…I think it's a crummy habit, but people should be allowed to do what they want," said Rick Naylon, who owns Jimmy Mac's Restaurant on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.
The bill could be introduced in the state legislature within a couple of weeks.
Life - January 15, 2003
Smoking Ban Is Postponed Until 2006
By Stephanie Liakakos
While an agreement has been reached between Legislator Brian Foley (D-Patchogue) and the Suffolk County Restaurant and Tavern Association concerning the countywide smoking ban, bar and restaurant owners are not walking away happy. The new agreement has delayed implementation until 2006.
"This represents a breakthrough and we can now move forward in protecting public health," announced Foley.
"This agreement was railroaded down our throats," said Jack McCarthy, owner of Jack McCarthy's Pub in Centereach. "We didn't feel that we got a fair shake for our constituents."
According to McCarthy, who is also on the RTA board of directors, this was the only deal afforded them; one they felt they had to take or else face implementation of the bill in as soon as 90 days.
RTA President Bill Leudemann agreed while it "certainly wasn't what we wanted, it is better than nothing."
Legislator Martin Haley (R-Miller Place) has stood by and continues to stand by the restaurant owners. "I think they should decide on their own whether or not to be a smoking establishment. I don't understand why they compromised at all. They should have waited to see the initial vote."
The delay for implementation is meant to allow owners, who invested thousands of dollars to abide by a previous bill to separate ventilation for smoking areas, to recoup some of that money. Foley considered this the most compelling argument and as a "gesture of goodwill towards the opponents of my bill" has allowed for the extension.
As far as McCarthy is concerned, "anyone who thinks three years is sufficient has no concept of business."
"I wouldn't be surprised if many of the owners who invested tens of thousands of dollars sued the county that promised everything would be okay if they changed the system," said Leudemann. "They have not had time to recoup their money."
Haley's final thought on the situation had some future implications: "Government needs to step out of the private sector. It's not just the smoking ban I'm somewhat disappointed in."
Post Standard - January 15, 2003
State loses millions in sales of gas, cigarettes
Store owners say New York can't afford to not collect taxes from Indian nations.
By Erik Kriss and Michelle Breidenbach
The state lost more than $800 million last year by failing to collect taxes on cigarettes sold by Indians, as well as through Internet and toll-free phone sales, according to a study commissioned by a coalition of business groups.
As the state faces a deficit as large as $12 billion over the next 15 months, it can't afford to let those taxes continue going uncollected, argued the coalition of retailers, distributors, marketers and trade associations.
The newly formed coalition, calling itself the Fair Application of Cigarette Taxes (FACT) Alliance, immediately found key allies.
State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and state Comptroller Alan Hevesi all said they thought the state should collect the taxes.
"We think that's an available resource, and we are going to be looking at that, and we need the executive to join us in looking at that," Bruno said. "If it's owed by law, it should be collected, absolutely."
A spokesman for the administration would not comment on whether Gov. George Pataki will seek to tax Indian sales.
But Budget Division spokesman Andrew Rush said Pataki is "concerned about the loss of revenue."
FACT paid economist Brian O'Connor $17,000 to calculate how much money the state lost in 2001 and 2002.
O'Connor counted bootlegged and cross-border sales, along with Indian, Internet and phone sales, and found New York lost between $526 million and $609 million in 2001 and as much as $895 million last year in combined excise and sales taxes.
New York charges an excise tax of $11.10 per carton and a 4 percent sales tax. O'Connor's study based its numbers on an average price of $43.13 per carton.
The sales tax and half the excise taxes go to the state's general fund and the other half of the excise tax collections go to the fund that supports health care spending.
O'Connor is founder of Ridgewood Economic Associates of New Jersey and former director of U.S. economics for IBM. He said at a news conference in Albany Tuesday that his study took into account the prospect that smoking could decrease if smokers could no longer avoid taxes.
Retailers and distributors said the flight of smokers to tax-free sales has hurt their businesses, costing them sales of gasoline, coffee, snacks, groceries and other commodities, and jobs. As a result, the state is losing even more money, they said.
A pack of Marlboros costs $5.75 with tax at Kanabar's store. At the nation smokeshop, a carton of brand-named cigarettes costs $35.50. Generic brands cost $20 and up per carton, store manager Virgil Thomas said.
Thomas said the state shouldn't come after native smokeshops.
"We have treaties that don't allow that, and the governor said it before," he said.. "You can't go into Canada and have them raise their cigarettes up there. It's the same thing. If you come out here, it's like going into another country. You have people that are so naive and blind with jealousy that they don't realize some things."
Press - January 14, 2003
Coalition: state needs tax revenues on Indian cigarette sales
By Seanna Adcox
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A coalition of non-Indian businesses said Tuesday the cash-starved state of New York is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year by failing to collect taxes on sales of cigarettes at Indian-run convenience stores, smoke shops and Internet sites to non-Indians.
"We are witnessing a huge tax-revenue loss at a time when the state can't afford to," said Christian King, owner of four Mobil gasoline stations in the Albany area, and member of the Fair Application of Cigarette Taxes (FACT) Alliance.
"This is not the way business is supposed to work in America. This is not a level playing field," said King. He estimates losing 20 percent of his business since April.
Indian nations contend that they are sovereign and not subject to state laws and taxes.
Mark Emery, spokesman for the Oneida Indian Nation, called the group "opportunists" and questioned its revenue numbers.
"This is an old issue they're trying to breathe life into again," he said.
"But where were the people of FACT when the Oneidas were living in poverty for 200 years?" he said. "Where was the level playing field there?"
Newsday - January 10, 2003
Agreement Reached on Suffolk's Smoking Ban
By Emi Endo
Bar and restaurant owners who had led the fight against a proposed far-reaching smoking ban in Suffolk County have agreed to support the bill if implementation is delayed until 2006. Legis. Brian Foley (D-Blue Point), who sponsored the bill, said he would change the date the law would go into effect for bars and restaurants to Jan. 1, 2006, from the proposed Jan. 1, 2004. New restrictions for bingo halls and office buildings would still take effect that day.
But American Cancer Society representatives, who had lobbied for the ban, called the delay "completely unacceptable.” Regional advocacy director Will Stoner said, "We would rather see the law fail.”
Still, Presiding Officer Maxine Postal (D-Amityville), who supported
the ban, said she would vote for a revised bill "at the risk of not being
able to pass it, period.”
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