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September 22, 2003
        Groups to Publicize Poll That Supports Smoking Ban
        By Michael Cooper

Antismoking groups say they are concerned that the city's new law banning smoking in bars and restaurants is getting a bum rap, so they are planning a campaign to publicize a poll, which they commissioned, showing that the ban enjoys wide support.

The poll, which was taken for a consortium of antismoking groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Cancer Society, found that 70 percent of city voters surveyed said they supported the ban, while 27 percent oppose it.

The antismoking groups hope to use the findings to dispel media reports suggesting that the ban is unpopular and could hurt the elected officials who supported it. They are planning a million-dollar advertising campaign to boost the ban, along with an Internet campaign and a lobbying effort to show local officials that the law is popular.

"Most politicians would kind of climb over each other searching for an issue that has a 70-30 advantage to it," said Jeffrey B. Plaut, a partner at the Global Strategy Group, a political consulting firm, who oversaw the poll. "It has broad support across party lines, race and ethnicity — the notable exception are smokers. This is an issue like kissing babies — it is that kind of a broad-appeal issue."

The poll, of 800 registered New York City voters, was conducted Aug. 24 to 29. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Ever since the city enacted the smoking ban last spring and the state followed suit over the summer, there has been a question of whether the measure would prove to be a political plus or minus for the elected officials who passed it.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the prime force behind the city's ban, has said all along that he expected it to be popular with the roughly 80 percent of New Yorkers who do not smoke. But the quiet approval of nonsmokers has often been drowned out by the complaints of aggrieved smokers who are now forced out onto city sidewalks to light up, and of bar and nightclub owners who say that it is hurting business.

Those complaints are expected to get louder as the cold weather sets in.

The poll commissioned by groups that support the ban reached a different conclusion than a poll that was commissioned last month by a group that opposes the restriction.

Last month's poll — commissioned by the state Conservative Party, which opposes the smoking ban — found that nearly 68 percent of state voters and 63 percent of city voters agreed with the statement, "The politicians went too far when they enacted a total ban on smoking in restaurants and bars."

(The poll by the antismoking groups posed the question: "Earlier this year a law went into effect prohibiting smoking in all workplaces in New York City, including offices, restaurants and bars. Would you say that you support or oppose the law?")

A poll by Quinnipiac University that was taken before the ban was enacted found that a majority of New York City voters supported a total ban in restaurants and bars. Conducted last November, the Quinnipiac poll asked, "Do you favor or oppose a total ban on smoking in restaurants and bars in New York City?" Fifty-four percent said they favored such a ban, and 41 percent said they opposed it.

The campaign commissioned by the antismoking groups will feature print advertisements, television commercials and subway posters, and will be sponsored by the American Legacy Foundation, the public charity that was created with funds from the lawsuit brought by states against the tobacco industry.

The foundation's president, Dr. Cheryl Healton, said that if the ban succeeded in New York City, other areas would follow suit. "To the extent that it works in New York, and that everybody gets behind it," she said, "its potential to accelerate to other places in the nation and the world grows."

September 21, 2003
        Where Corner Tobacconists Sell From the Sidewalk
        By Denny Lee

He was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and a gray do-rag, and clutching a nondescript plastic bag full of contraband, street value $90. At rush hour on Tuesday, a throng of potential customers exited the 125th Street subway station in Harlem. Some held crumpled $5 bills in their palms, and when they reached him there was a quick exchange of money and merchandise.

What was in the bag? The answer would come every few minutes, when the seller barked, "Newports! Newports! Marlboros!"

Tobacco corners like this one have sprung up across the city, from the South Bronx to Chelsea. Like the sale of single cigarettes, or loosies, at bodegas and elsewhere, these exchanges have been prompted by a city tax increase in July of last year that brought the price of cigarettes to more than $7 a pack, one of the highest in the world.

The seller on the Harlem street corner, who hawks his cigarettes for $5 a pack, said he used to peddle marijuana on the streets.

"The money is about the same," said the man, a lanky 20-year old who would give his name only as Jay. "You can make $100 or $150 a day. And it's not like we're robbing or stealing. We're trying to make an honest living."

"I'd rather do cigarettes because it's safer," the former drug dealer added.

As with any underground market, selling these cigarettes takes street hustle, a consumer demand born of addiction and, of course, a steady supplier.

A well-dressed young man who gave his name as Slim, said he buys $30 cartons from a man who drives out-of-state for cheaper cigarettes. His cigarettes bore a tax stamp from New Jersey. For every pack that he sells, he said, he makes $2.

"A lot of people who were selling pot or heroin are now selling cigarettes," said a 25-year-old struggling actor from East Harlem who said that he needs to dabble in cigarette dealing to make ends meet. "You can make the same amount of money,'' he said, "and you don't get locked away as long."

Sidewalk cigarette selling is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of $2,000 and 60 days in jail.

Why not get a real job?

"There's nothing available out there," Jay said. "Even if there was, I could do this and something else. It's a good hustle."

September 19, 2003
        Giuliani Calls Bloomberg to Clarify His Remark on Smoking Ban
        By Winnie Hu

What's a little secondhand smoke between mayors?

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who engineered the city's smoking ban, said that his cigar-loving predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, had called Wednesday evening to clarify his pro-smoking comments on Irish radio.

In an interview earlier that day, Mr. Giuliani had suggested that the Irish government might be going too far in its proposal to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, saying that "some people want to make the choice of being able to have a cigar or a pipe or a cigarette after dinner."

An aide to Mr. Giuliani later said that he had been talking about restricting smoking a step at a time versus banning it all of a sudden, and that the context was Ireland, not New York City.

But to make sure Mr. Bloomberg did not take offense, Mr. Giuliani took time out to place a long-distance call from Ireland to City Hall.

Mr. Bloomberg said their conversation began with an exchange of pleasantries. Mr. Giuliani confided that he was enjoying his trip, and that he had even played some golf.

"I was a little bit envious," Mr. Bloomberg recounted at a news conference yesterday. "As I pointed out, I had four more events to do after our conversation last night. Rudy's answer to that was, `Well, you wanted the job.' "

And then it was on to that smoking matter.

According to Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Giuliani had assured him that he was in favor of a smoking ban. "He just thought that sometimes you go partway to get there, let people adjust and then go the rest of the ways," he said. "New York City did that."

Edward Skyler, the mayor's press secretary, said afterward that Mr. Bloomberg had not taken issue with Mr. Giuliani's radio comments because, after all, the mayor was "no stranger to seeing things get twisted around in the press."

September 18, 2003
        Irish Are Told, by Giuliani, to Let Smokers Stay Indoors
        By Brian Lavery

DUBLIN - Rudolph W. Giuliani said in an interview on Irish radio today that the government here might begoing too far in its proposal to ban smoking in bars andrestaurants.

In a slap at one of the most hotly debated policies of hissuccessor, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Mr. Giuliani said citizens should have the choice to smoke or not smoke.

"Some people want to make the choice of being able to have a cigar or a pipe or a cigarette after dinner, and they should be provided with an opportunity to do that," Mr. Giuliani said, on the top Irish breakfast show with the state broadcaster RTE. "I think governments should provide the ability for people who want to make a choice, to make that choice."

In making the remarks, Mr. Giuliani weighed in on one of the most divisive issues in Ireland right now. He spoke on the same day that the Irish government's top official for health policy, Micheal Martin, who is in New York gathering information on New York's smoking ban, met with Mr. Bloomberg at City Hall.

Earlier this week, a poll for the Irish Independent newspaper found that 42 percent of the Irish opposed the ban. Those who support it dropped to 52 percent, from 67 percent in another poll three months ago. Only 30 percent of the Irish people smoke.

In his radio interview, Mr. Giuliani said that he preferred New York's 1994 restriction, which allowed smoking in designated areas. The new law took effect on March 30.

Sunny Mindel, a spokeswoman for Mr. Giuliani, said that the former mayor's comments were in no way meant as a reflection on the current mayor's policies.

"Rudy was speaking about what would be appropriate for a country that was just moving into restricting smoking," she said. "He was speaking about what would be an appropriate first step."

"He wasn't talking about New York," she said. "He was talking about Ireland."

Edward Skyler, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, declined to comment.

August 30, 2003
        U.N. Extends Smoking Ban

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 29 -- The United Nations, a last bastion of smoking in New York, said today that it would begin following the tough new antismoking law of its host city and forbid lighting up anywhere in its headquarters.

But whether the ban, the latest in a string of attempts by the world body to curb smoking, will be enforced is another matter. Some chain-smoking ambassadors have repeatedly violated any smoking ban.

''Because of the agreement with the host country, we are bound to follow the local laws,'' said Hua Jiang, a United Nations spokeswoman. But ''we are trying to work out what concrete measures to take,'' she said. The ban goes into effect next week.

In 1995, the United Nations announced a smoking ban for much of its headquarters.

July 23, 2003
        If Misery Loves Company, City Smokers Should Like State's Law
        By Paul von Zielbauer

Tina Kurtzhalts had just finished eating in a small bar and restaurant near Ithaca, N.Y., on Monday when she opened her purse, plucked out a cigarette, fingered her lighter and flicked.

Sniffing the air, Alan Saikkonen, a patron at the next table, quickly turned to her. "You can't smoke in here," he said curtly. "There's not a restaurant in New York State you can smoke in anymore."

In fact, Mrs. Kurtzhalts has until 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, when a tough new state antismoking law will begin, after which it will be easier to start a chinchilla farm in downtown Yonkers than to legally light a cigarette inside a bar or restaurant anywhere in New York State.

To smokers in New York City who already feel abused by the smoking ban that began in the five boroughs in March, this may seem like old news. In fact, it is worse news, because the state law is tougher.

For instance, the city law allows smoking in "cigar bars" where tobacco accounts for at least 10 percent of all revenue; in bars or restaurants that build small, separately ventilated smoking rooms; and in bars that have three or fewer owners and no employees. It also allows 25 percent of a bar or restaurant's outdoor seating to be reserved for smokers.

Under the state law, tobacco bars and the 25-percent rule remain legal, but ventilated smoking rooms are illegal and owner-operated bars with no employees are out of luck.

The only type of bar, it seems, where patrons can regularly smoke are "membership associations" — a V.F.W. or American Legion outpost, maybe — where all workers are volunteers and the bartender "doesn't even have a tip jar," said Russell C. Sciandra, director of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York, which fought for the law.

Though the antismoking laws will grow marginally tougher in New York City beginning tomorrow, the moods of thousands of smokers who live north of the Bronx seem destined to grow markedly darker. For the last several weeks, in a statewide replay of the emotion that played out among city residents in March, interviews with upstate residents revealed either outrage or gratitude toward Albany's politicians.

"You know what this country is becoming?" John Lacher, a construction foreman and regular smoker, asked Monday night from his perch in a bar in Nanuet, Rockland County. "A communist state," he said.

Joan Shaw, whose husband, Ron, owns Rascal's, a working-man's bar in Cayuga County, said she was furious about the law and predicted that it would hurt their business, if not kill it. "It's the first time I ever called my assemblyman and my senator," she said.

On the other hand, there was Josh McCormick, 47, an engineer from New City, who eats out about five nights a week. "Secondary smoke is horrible and dangerous," Mr. McCormick said over a plate of spare ribs and a glass of lemonade.

Some upstate business owners are fighting the new smoking law.

In May and June, 300 or so upstate bar and restaurant owners turned off the State Lottery Division's Quick Draw machines in protest. The boycott cost the state $265,993 in lost revenue, said a spokeswoman for the lottery, Carolyn Hapeman.

Yesterday, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of New York to overturn the law. Scott Wexler, the group's executive director, said the suit argues that the state pre-empts existing federal law protecting workers from secondhand smoke. But in an interview yesterday, Mr. Wexler said he did not expect a court to rule on the matter before tomorrow, when the law takes effect.

For most New York City residents who smoke, the new state law may feel more like insult than injury. But to a select few — the owner of a small bar in the East Village, the members of the Iranian-Armenian Society in Queens — it is a curse.

At the Fish Bar on East Fifth Street in the East Village, John Ross, a co-owner who bartends for free, wondered what would come of his dark refuge where perhaps two of three patrons were smoking on Monday night. The city Health Department recently denied the Fish Bar an owner-operator exemption to the city's smoking ban.

"It's just not right," Mr. Ross, from North Wales, said of the city and state laws. "The idea was to save employees from secondhand smoke. Do I have any employees? No."

His is one of 13 city businesses, including the Iranian-Armenian Society, that have applied for exemptions to the city law and been denied. But with the state law looming, even the establishments that received exemptions, like the Polish German Club House in Queens, must either quickly jettison any salaried employees or face a smoke-free future.

James Barrows, a Fish Bar patron who enjoyed chain-smoking over a beer on Monday night, said he had voted for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg but now felt betrayed by him for launching the crusade toward a smokeless New York. But there is still one way for Mr. Barrows, a 30-year-old writer from Brooklyn, to evade the new law, he said.

"Hoboken," he said, gesturing vaguely toward New Jersey. "I'll be visiting Hoboken."

July 8, 2003
        Smoking Ban Obeyed, or Enforcers Go Easy
        By Andrea Elliot

Restaurants and bars in New York City appear to be complying with the new smoking ban. Only 23 were cited for permitting smoking in May, a tiny fraction of the city's 20,000 bars, restaurants and clubs, officials said yesterday.

The number could also reflect the leniency of city inspectors, who are still trying to educate violators rather than fine them, some restaurant owners and city officials said.

Compliance is encouraged by fines, starting at $200 and shooting up to as much as $2,000 for a third offense in a year, and by the risk of losing licenses to operate.

"We're not seeing a great number of violations, as our numbers make clear," said Sandra Mullin, spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "There's certainly a combination of enforcement and education going on."

Restaurant and bar workers face a steep learning curve with the new law, which not only bans smoking but also penalizes less obvious signs that smoking may be occurring: the presence of ashtrays or the absence of "No Smoking" signs, each considered a violation with a first-offense fine of $200.

Alain Denneulin, 48, the owner of the Resto Léon at 351 East 12th Street, is still trying to master the new law after three visits by inspectors (yet only one fine, for having ashtrays on a table).

"We knew about the ban, but people were smoking on the tables," Mr. Denneulin said, gesturing to several small round tables on the sidewalk at the entrance.

Smoking is allowed at 25 percent of those tables, under rules permitting some smoking on terraces, an inspector told him.

On later visits by inspectors, Mr. Denneulin learned that smokers outside must be able to see the sky. Their smoke must not be trapped by an awning, which at his club hangs too far forward.

Most of his smoking customers now linger around a small steel bench a few steps from the sidewalk tables, and their noise irritates people who live upstairs.

It is a far cry from the dining culture in Mr. Denneulin's hometown, Antibes, in the south of France.

"You sit down, you eat, you drink, you smoke a cigarette," he said. "That's the way it should be."

Available to help teach restaurant and bar workers the rules of the new nonsmoking era are more than 100 inspectors and a small group of "environmental technicians."

The technicians, recently hired, focus more on spotting smoking-ban violations than do the inspectors, who also inspect for sanitation violations.

There are nine environmental technicians, but the city is budgeted for 12 and will continue hiring, Ms. Mullin said.

The inspectors usually work until 11 p.m. but many are working into the early morning hours checking late-night establishments, she said.

The city has cited 70 restaurants, bars and clubs for violations, including the 23 where people were actually smoking. The city has fielded 500 complaints.

Someone complained about the Players, a private club for theater patrons at 16 Gramercy Park South, said John Martello, its executive director.

Inspectors visited the club a month ago and announced they had received a tip that people were smoking. They quickly spotted a smoker, ashtrays and the absence of conspicuously posted "No Smoking" signs, three violations.

The club, where Mark Twain once smoked with relish, is now free of cigar or cigarette smoke, a ghostly absence from the worn oak floors and the red leather seats.

"We haven't replenished the humidor," Mr. Martello said. "It's bearable for some of these people now, but when we get to December or January, people are going to be climbing the walls or not coming at all."

Most restaurants, bars and clubs have not yet reported the economic effect of the smoking ban, but some signs of hardship are surfacing.

"I am receiving a lot of anecdotal information from various small bars and restaurants that are indicating that their business has suffered considerably," said E. Charles Hunt, executive vice president of the Greater New York City Chapters of the New York State Restaurant Association. "I've had people tell me that their business is off by as much as 50 percent. I think the ones that are feeling it the most are less the restaurants and more the bars and taverns."

July 1, 2003
        Smoking Foes Blame Lobbying for Delay in Fire-Safe Cigarettes
        By James C. McKinley Jr.

Three years after the Legislature required that cigarettes sold in New York be manufactured so they would cause fewer fires, the Pataki administration has yet to issue regulations to put the law into effect, partly because of heavy lobbying by the tobacco industry, opponents of smoking said today.

Last week, the administration published a notice that it would not meet the law's July 1 deadline for putting the regulations in force, postponing the action until at least Dec. 31 and perhaps longer.

But Pataki administration officials said the delay owed less to lobbying by tobacco companies than to the scientific problems of devising rules for something no other government has tried to regulate before. Peter Constantakes, a spokesman for the Department of State, said the administration expected to put out the regulations in several weeks.

"We have to make sure the science is right," he said. "It's really groundbreaking what we are doing here."

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September 28, 2003
        By Joanna Walters and Stefan C. Friedman

A TriBeCa bartender is being fired over an incident with a smoking-ban inspector at a downtown dive.

Lisa-Marie Dallas, 33, a bartender at Puffy's tavern, will serve her final pint Tuesday following a July incident in which she and a female inspector got into a fracas over a patron smoking.

"The inspectors came in, [and] one customer was smoking," Dallas recalls. "They asked my why I hadn't told him to stop. I said I hadn't noticed it. But they said I should have called the cops on him."

The bartender admits she then lost her temper and some of the customers followed suit, resulting in a half-hour shouting match that ended with the inspector giving manager Frank DeMarco a $200 ticket.

DeMarco sided with the inspector, saying "she was just doing her job."

When Dallas ignored an inspector during a return visit, DeMarco, who then faced a $2,000 fine for a second violation, gave Dallas her walking papers.

Still, Dallas didn't seem too disappointed with being fired because she, like many other bartenders in the city, has seen bar sales plummet since the smoking ban went into effect.

"Business is bad anyway and it's going to go down even more."

Puffy's is just one of 524 establishments ticketed by the Health Department for smoking-related violations.

Other restaurant managers and owners find many of the inspectors to be nit-picking when it comes to issuing tickets.

"I don't disagree with the smoking ban," said Steve Lopez, 28, a manager of Upper East Side bar Tavaru. "But getting tickets for little things you didn't even know about is not fair."

Lopez claims inspectors ticketed him for having an ashtray in his office, which is located upstairs from the public bar.

September 27, 2003
        By Hasani Gittens and Stephanie Gaskell

More than 40 bars and restaurants have been slapped with at least three tickets for violating the city smoking ban - which puts the repeat offenders in danger of being shut down, officials said yesterday.

A total of 524 establishments have been ticketed.

Since the strict ban went into effect six months ago, 30 establishments were hit with three tickets, 10 have gotten four tickets - and two bars have received five tickets, according to city Health Department data obtained by The Post.

That brings the total to 42 bars and restaurants that could be closed down if they continue to violate the "three strikes and you're out" rule.

Under the ban, any business that gets three violations in a 12-month period can lose its operating permit from the Health Department, whose spokeswoman, Sandra Mullin, said yesterday bars with three or more strikes are not yet in danger of being closed - unless they continue to flout the law.

"No establishment is currently in jeopardy for losing their operating permit," she said.

"This would only be the case if they willfully and continuously were not complying with the Smoke-Free Air Act."

Chris Chryson, owner of Avenue Café in Astoria, Queens, has been hit with five tickets.

"It's very upsetting," he said. "What do you tell [customers]? Do you start fighting with them?"

"They come here at least once a week," said co-owner John Sinanis of the inspectors. "It's like harassment. They don't let you work."

Avenue plans to fight the tickets, and Chryson said he's not worried about being put out of business.

Avenue patron Dino Dionysiou, 25, called the treatment "horrible. It's just horrible. I'm starting to go to only places that allow smoking."

"It's ridiculous, you're outside," said Avenue customer Luca Massetti, 23, who works elsewhere as a bartender - and says the anti-smoking rule has cost him business and tips.

"I've taken a big hit," Massetti said. "This smoking thing is ruining New York City."

The Athens Café, also in Astoria, was the only other establishment to be hit with five citations. Owner Nick Constantinos declined to comment, but customers were vocal.

"Yeah, I don't like this ban, it's a free country," said Socrates Georganteas, 33, enjoying a Marlboro in the café's outdoor section - where wait staff said citations had been given for patrons smoking under awnings. "I think it's totally unfair. Indoors I understand, but outside?"

"It's in our culture," said his friend, Andreas Dimitropoulos, 34, who doesn't smoke. "To sit, smoke and drink coffee, it's a culture thing for us - good or bad."

The citations can be for a number of offenses, such as permitting smoking in the bar or not having proper signs against smoking.

Mullin pointed out that most bars and restaurants are complying.

Since the ban - pushed by Mayor Bloomberg - took effect on March 30, health inspectors have visited 26,067 businesses. Of those, 524 were ticketed.

Still, many bar owners said the law is too strict.

"If they walk in the door, they're going to give you a fine," said Chris Vorhees, a bartender at Captain Walters in Brooklyn, which has been ticketed four times, including two times for not posting proper signs.

Businesses are required to post "No Smoking" signs and workplace policy signs with specific language. If the sign doesn't meet Health Department standards, owners can face fines from $200 to $2,000.

"To give somebody a ticket for not having a proper sign, it's ridiculous," Vorhees said. "What more explaining do you need other than 'No Smoking?' "

Movie theaters and sports clubs also got ticketed.

In Manhattan, a Clearview Cinema on East 23rd Street, a Loews Cinema on Third Avenue in the Upper East Side and the Ziegfield Theatre in Midtown were ticketed for not having proper signs.

David Rabin, president of the New York Nightlife Association, said: "It's a sad comment that some places have been forced to choose between complying with the law and going out of business."

September 25, 2003
        By Fredric U. Dicker and Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY - The state Lobbying Commission has begun investigating nine anti-smoking groups for possible legal violations in backing the state's sweeping new tobacco law, The Post has learned.
The probe began earlier this week in the wake of a declaration by several anti-smoking groups that they would launch a million-dollar advertising campaign to discourage state lawmakers from rolling back the new law, which took effect July 24.

Information obtained by the commission showed that none of the groups, which were active in mobilizing support to get the smoking ban passed, has registered with the commission.

Organizations that spend more than $2,000 on lobbying and fail to register with the state are subject to fines of up to $25,000.

Anti-smoking groups being investigated by the commission include Smoke Free NY.Com, the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition, the National Center for Tobacco Free Kids, Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island and Power Against Tobacco.

"We have begun an investigation into many of these groups, and they should be receiving a letter from us shortly," Lobbying Commission Executive Director David Grandeau told The Post.

"We will be asking them to explain if they have met the threshold of spending over $2,000 on lobbying activities."

Audrey Silk, co-founder of the pro-smoking New York City group CLASH, called the investigation "wonderful."

"My only question is, 'What took so long?' " said Silk, who said her group had not registered with the commission because it spends less than $2,000 a year.

"It's patently obvious what (the anti-smoking groups) have been doing. They feel they're above it all," she contended.

Many restaurants and other businesses have complained that the new law has cut substantially into their income.

As a result, several state lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer), have said they may be willing to modify the law.

Supporters of the law contend any business losses will be short-term.

September 22, 2003
        By Fredric U. Dicker

A KEY backer of the state's harsh new anti-smoking law has some hope for smokers: Changes may be coming.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer), under considerable local criticism for a law that is hurting many restaurants and bars, now says he's "open" to making changes when the Legislature returns next year.

"We are open," insisted Bruno, who shocked many of his conservative constituents, as well as his fellow GOP lawmakers, by spearheading passage of the state's draconian smoking ban, which took effect July 24.

"We're looking at alternatives, and we're very mindful of the [harmful] business conditions," continued Bruno.

"I don't want to sound callous or uncaring. Yes, we're open-minded."

Local Republicans say Bruno's popularity has taken a major hit because of his original stand, which prompted prominent Albany-area talk show host Paul Vandenberg to call for Bruno's ouster.

Gov. Pataki, meanwhile, has appeared to be on both sides of the issue, signing the ban into law while saying he's open to changes.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has also indicated he's open to changing the law.

September 22, 2003
        By Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY - Smoking even in the privacy of your own car could be banned under one of at least five state bills introduced in the past year to limit where a person can light up.

From public beaches to carnivals to a person's private vehicle, the legislation would make it more difficult for smokers to take a drag.

Pro-smoking forces fear the ultimate goal of some lawmakers is to ban cigarettes and cigars completely in New York.

"This is a well-planned strategy to essentially eradicate tobacco use using back-door methods," said Audrey Silk, co-founder of the New York City-based pro-smokers group CLASH.

"This is completely about controlling one group of people using a legal product," Silk added.

But the sponsors of the bills deny such intent. They said each anti-smoking bill has its own merit, including protecting children, helping New York businesses, and reducing litter.

"With concern for public health, I would be pleased [if smoking were banned], but that's not what we're doing," said Assemblyman Alexander "Pete" Grannis, the Legislature's leading anti-smoking advocate and a sponsor of many of the pending bills.

Grannis (D-Manhattan) said bills like those outlawing smoking in cars with kids on board and banning the sale of more affordable small packs of cigarettes are designed to protect children.

And he insists his bill to ban smoking at parks and beaches is meant to cut down on litter.

But some of his legislative colleagues question where you draw the line.

"There are those who would like to ban smoking outright," said Sen. Elizabeth Little (R-Queensbury). "It's government coming in pretty strong on people's lives and choices."

And smokers fear it's just a matter of time until a lawmaker introduces legislation to prohibit smoking inside the home by using secondhand smoke as an excuse.

"They're turning this into a dictatorship," said upstate bar owner Brenda Perks. "They're going right back to the Hitler days."

September 22, 2003
        By Des O'Brien; Des O'Brien is is the owner of Langan's Bar and Restaurant in Manhattan.

RUDY Guiliani took a sideswipe at Mayor Bloomberg during his recent visit to Dublin, saying of an Ireland-wide smoking ban due to go into effect Jan.1 that smokers and non-smokers alike should be allowed their preference.

Rudy has since said he didn't mean to bash the mayor, but if his comments aren't a full frontal assault on Mayor Mike's ban, then I don't know what is.

Good for Rudy. He said it as he saw it when he was mayor, and he's saying it as he sees it now. Mayor Mike could well take heed.

Bloomberg's spin doctors have been telling us lately that our business has increased since his ban went into effect March 30, and that we as an industry have taken on more employees.

Bull. If the growing unemployment lines, and the equally undisputed fact that New York City is not responding positively to the improving national economy aren't proof enough, here's more:

Recently, I attended a board of directors meeting of the city chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association. Bear in mind, this chapter voted in favor of the smoking ban almost from the outset. The logic was that it would level the playing field among the association's members. Those who promoted the ban and the mayor's office also assure us that dining out would increase.

The attendees at the board meeting were posed a question: Had anyone noticed an increase in business since the ban went into effect?

Not one hand was raised. No surprise there.

Meanwhile, City Council Speaker President Gifford Miller refuses to meet with representatives of the association to discuss the issue.

Nor, for that matter, would Irish Health Minister Micheàl Martin meet with any association delegates or bar/restaurant owners to explore the issues. He was, however, chaperoned around the city courtesy of Mayor Mike on a fact-finding mission that "demonstrated" the "success" of the ban.

His early reports back to the homeland appeared to substantiate his belief in what Bloomberg's spin doctors had spun. Democracy defined.

As an industry, we are not advocating the use of tobacco products, or even for that matter supportive of big tobacco. We only ask for fair and well considered dialogue with government officials, who continue to shy away from our efforts to meet. This is contemptuous, a blatant disregard for the single largest employer of people (outside of government) in this city and state. We want to have a choice. So does Rudy.

Stay tuned: There will be a choice at the polling booths.

September 19, 2003
        By Stephanie Gaskell

Mayor Bloomberg insisted yesterday that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani "is certainly in favor of" the city's strict smoking ban - a day after Giuliani said it went too far.

On Wednesday, Giuliani said publicly for the first time that the new law was unfair to smokers. Giuliani later called Bloomberg to explain what he meant when he said the city's less harsh 1995 smoking ban struck "the right balance."

Bloomberg said Giuliani "just thought that sometimes you go part-way to get there, let people adjust and then go the rest of the ways."

But a spokeswoman for Giuliani yesterday refused to answer the question when asked directly if the former mayor supports Bloomberg's sweeping anti-smoking law.

"Mayor Giuliani supports Mayor Bloomberg," Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel said repeatedly.

September 18, 2003
        By Stephanie Gaskell

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani yesterday offered some surprising criticism of his successor's policies, saying Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban isn't right for New York.

In a TV interview in Dublin, Ireland, the cigar-loving former mayor said smokers should have some rights - and he also raised the problem of all the smokers spilling from restaurants and bars onto sidewalks.

On the same day Giuliani spoke, Bloomberg was meeting here with the Irish health minister, Michael Martin.

The former mayor apparently felt contrite about his comments - Bloomberg told a gathering of Manhattan Republicans last night that Giuliani called to apologize.

Giuliani told Bloomberg his comments were not a potshot - and Bloomberg said he told his predecessor not to worry about them.

Giuliani - in Ireland to meet business leaders - told his interviewer that the city's less harsh 1995 restrictions on smoking in restaurants struck "the right balance."

"It limited pretty dramatically the places that you could smoke, but it left open some places where people who enjoy smoking would be allowed to do it," he said.

New York's ban is causing problems on city streets, Giuliani said.

"If you say, 'Well, people can't smoke inside,' then they smoke outside. And then outside becomes more congested."

Since leaving office, Giuliani has not criticized Bloomberg or his policies, saying he didn't want to second-guess his successor because he knows what it's like.

"I'm surprised that the former Republican mayor is speaking out so strongly against the current Republican mayor," said City Council member Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), who chairs the Health Committee.

But Giuliani's spokeswoman insisted his comments were not about the New York's smoking ban.

"This is not about New York," said spokeswoman Sunny Mindel. "This question was asked of the mayor in the context of Ireland."

Giuliani warned the Irish that they should think twice about the nation's smoking ban, to take effect in January.

"I think government should provide the ability for people who want to make a choice to make that choice," Giuliani said.

"Some people want the choice of being able to dine in a smoke-free environment, and they should be entitled to that."

September 17, 2003
        By Stephanie Gaskell

Health inspectors have written 524 tickets for violations of the city's new smoking ban, officials said yesterday.

Thirty bars and restaurants were ticketed on more than one occasion since the law took effect March 30, according to Nancy Miller, the Health Department's assistant commissioner for tobacco control. Officials said they couldn't immediately provide the names of the businesses.

The department has received 1,911 complaints about smoking since the ban started, Miller said.

During a hearing at Pace University, Miller testified the ban was not hurting the city's $10 billion restaurant industry.

"While there have been some anecdotal reports of some establishments losing business, the data show that [the] city bar and restaurant industry actually grew in the first three months of the ban," Miller said. That got the nearly 100 bar and restaurant workers who attended the hearing riled.

"The smoking ban has devastated my business," said Hogs and Heifers owner Michelle Dell. "I may have to lay off workers soon. We need help before it's too late."

Dell said her business is down 12 percent since the ban took effect.

Vincent Fyfe, head of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, said his members are reporting a 20 to 40 percent drop in liquor sales.

Dr. Mimi Fahs, a health economist at the New School, testified that U.S. Department of Labor statistics show that food industry jobs have increased since the ban.

Rob Bookman, an attorney for the New York Nightlife Association, shot back that the statistics actually show jobs are down.

The hearing was hosted by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields.

"It is incumbent upon us to be willing to examine, listen and make sure we're not doing anything to any large industry that could effectively destroy it," Fields said.

September 11, 2003
        Smoky The Bar
        Apartment's a new B'klyn hot spot
        By Dori Fern

The scene at Brooklyn's Bar Jace is smoking -- literally.  Practically every person who shows up at the Prospect Heights nightspot lights up freely.

Bar Jace is not really a bar, at least not in the official sense of the word.

There is a mahogany-stained, birch-veneer bar, but his hot spot is located in an 800-square-foot apartment shared by three pro-smoking roommates, Jace, Kevin and Rachel (who asked that their last names be withheld so their landlord won't find out there's now a bar screwed into his walls).

A day care center is their only neighbor in the two-story building -- and it's shuttered for hours before the party begins.

Last Friday night, the nondescript front door betrayed no hint of the activities inside.

Ashley Clifford was pleased to be in such a welcoming environment.

The 22-year-old stage manager moved to New York less than two months ago from Las Vegas, where people "can do whatever, wherever."

She sat cross-legged at the bar, grumbling about how the smoking ban compromises the city's cosmopolitan image.

"Come on, this supposed to be the party capital of the world and then there's restriction, restriction, restriction," she said, punching the air with her cigarette.

Bartender Jace broke the tension by plunking down a couple of Dixie cups filled with tequila (drinks are free, but guests tip generously).  Later in the evening, rumors that two women were caught canoodling spread through the apartment.

Twenty-four-year-old Jace constructed the six-seater bar in January largely "because I like to build stuff," he said while the blinking, multicolored lights of a framed Jesus picture glowed behind him.

When the smoking ban went into effect in March, the virtue of his creation was realized.

It gave the housemates all the incentive they needed to open their own night spot instead of suffering the indignity of being kicked to the curb for a puff.

"It's degrading, having to stand outside like a hooker to have a smoke," said Kevin, 22, a Bensonhurst-bred scenic designer whose box-like bedroom became Twister central.

By midnight, the place was packed and the air was hazy.  Many of the night's guests are Kevin's colleagues, here to blow off steam before a week of long hours building runways for Fashion Week.

Rachel, 24, a trade union organizer, aptly summed up the evening's success:

"It's cheaper than going out in the city and everyone I want to see is here.  There's no scene-y s---.  If you get drunk, someone puts you to bed.  It's a friendly atmosphere."

Around 4 a.m., after the crowds had gone, Jace and Kevin counted out the tip jar.  Some of the funds had been spent on a midparty beer run, but there was just enough left for breakfast and a pack of smokes.

September 9, 2003
        By Fredric U. Dicker

ALBANY - Prominent conservative and liberal politicians, bolstered by a stunning poll, urged Gov. Pataki and lawmakers yesterday to ease the state's harsh new anti-smoking law.

"I'm calling on the governor and the Legislature to fix the law," said state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long. "Clearly, government has gone too far and the people of New York are saying so." The party commissioned a poll, first reported in yesterday's Post, that found nearly 68 percent of all New Yorkers and 63 percent of city voters believe the new ban on smoking went too far.

Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey said the smoking ban had harmed hundreds of businesses in his district by driving smokers into Pennsylvania.

September 8, 2003
        By Frederic U. Dicker

NEW YORKERS over whelmingly believe that Gov. Pataki and the Legislature "went too far" in passing the state's harsh new anti-smoking law, a bombshell new poll shows.

And the poll found they want the law - which took effect July 24 - changed.

The still-secret survey, a copy of which was obtained by The Post, shows that nearly 68 percent of all New York state voters - and 63 percent of city voters - say the controversial anti-smoking ban is too severe.

New Yorkers of all ethnicities agree that the ban went too far: blacks, 78 percent; Hispanics, 68.4 percent; and whites, 66.4 percent;

They also agree it went too far by sex: men, 70.7 percent, and women, 64.5 percent. They even agree it went too far by political orientation: Democrats, 63.8 percent; Republicans, 67.9 percent; independents, 75.3 percent.

And even nonsmokers agree it went too far.

A whopping 62 percent of nonsmokers said the law is too harsh.

The poll also shows a majority of New Yorkers want the law changed.

The poll, conducted by the nationally renowned firm of McLaughlin & Associates, found two out of three voters say Pataki and state lawmakers should modify the law to permit - at the very least - some smoking in bars, nightclubs and lounges.

Just 28 percent said they wanted the current law left the way it is.

The poll - the first to become public since the smoking ban took effect - was commissioned by the state Conservative Party.

It found a majority of New Yorkers believe the state should keep its hands off local smoking regulations and leave it to bar and restaurant owners alone to decide if smoking should be permitted.

Nearly 57 percent of all those surveyed - and nearly 53 percent of New York City voters - said the decision should be left to the private sector.

Just 22 percent said state government should make the decision, and another 17 percent said it should be left to local governments.

"This poll shows that the Legislature and Gov. Pataki went too far," said state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long.

"Voters wisely know we can find a workable way to handle smoking without big government crushing everybody's freedom of choice," said Long, who is expected to make the poll public as soon as today.

The new poll surveyed 600 likely New York voters July 29-30 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

[Review the poll at http://www.mclaughlinonline.com/newspoll/np2003/030808nycon.pdf]

September 5, 2003
        By Hasani Gittens and Stephanie Gaskell

Beleaguered bar owners were burned again yesterday after Mayor Bloomberg warned that a legal loophole in the state's smoking ban was tight enough to stop all but a handful of establishments from lighting up again.

The state's new anti-smoking law gives cities across the state the right to grant waivers to bars and restaurants that have seen their business plummet because of the ban.

But city officials say the state law doesn't require them to grant waivers — and Bloomberg said only that the city would consider them on a "case-by-case" basis.

Bar owners saw no cheer in Bloomberg's view.

"It's stupid to say that the rest of New York state can recover their losses but the people of New York City can't," said Katherine Kyle, a bartender at Collins Bar in Hell's Kitchen.

The city's law went into effect on March 30. But an Aug. 20 state Health Department memo — reported in yesterday's Post — has the effect of allowing the city to grant waivers to establishments that want to build ventilated smoking rooms and owner-operated pubs if they can show the smoking ban has hurt their business.

"Anytime somebody makes a request [for a waiver], I will certainly talk to the [health] commissioner and we will look at that," Bloomberg said yesterday.

The number of such waiver requests is likely to be minuscule.

Bars where the owner is also the sole employee are rare. And ventilated smoking rooms are so costly to build that only a handful of bar owners sought to do so before the city smoking ban took effect.

September 4, 2003
        By Kenneth Lovett and Stephanie Gaskell

Smokers, there's still hope.

A little-noticed loophole in the state's new anti-smoking law gives cities and other municipalities across the state the right to grant waivers to bars and restaurants that have lost business because of the ban, officials said last night.

State Health Department spokesman William Van Slyke said the new exemption provision applies in New York City, where many bar and restaurant owners complain that business plummeted after the city enacted its own stringent smoking ban earlier this year.

The state law gives New York City officials the power to grant such waivers - but does not require that they exercise that authority or even set up a waiver process, Van Slyke said.

A state Health Department memo sent out late last month tells cities and counties across the state that they can grant waivers and allow smoking if the business owner can prove financial hardship.

City officials said last night they were reviewing that state's Aug. 20 memo and pointed out that the city law doesn't have a waiver provision for economically distressed businesses - and the officials didn't say if they would use the power in the new state law to grant waivers to deserving bars or restaurants.

"We're reviewing the state's memorandum. However, the city law does not have a waiver provision, and therefore we cannot waive any requirements of the city's law," said city Health Department spokeswoman Sandra Mullin.

"We are reviewing the implications of the state memo," she added.

Seventy-five hard-hit upstate businesses have already applied for waivers.

"It's mildly encouraging that some legislators are waking up to the fact that they've cut the legs out from an entire industry," said David Rabin, co-owner of Lotus nightclub in the Meatpacking District and president of the New York Nightlife Association.

"It's a gratifying first step, but we will not rest until the law has been amended so that it's not just on a case-by-case basis," he added.

Under the state's guidelines for waivers, an establishment must prove that complying with the ban would "cause undue financial hardship" or that other factors exist "which would render compliance unreasonable."

Those claiming financial hardship must provide financial information, including a loss in business volume since the law went into effect, among other things.

Health officials must also consider the adverse effects of secondhand smoke on those who would be subjected to the waivers, according to the guidelines.

"We are confident that further attempts by the tobacco lobby and its allies to water the legislation down have no chance of sticking," said American Cancer Society CEO Donald Distasio. "Talk of exemptions and lawsuits is nothing more than hot air, which, although tiresome, does not cause cancer."

August 30, 2003
        By Clemente Lisi

No butts about it - the United Nations has decided to ban smoking.

The U.N., one of the last bastions for smokers in New York, will follow the Big Apple's tough anti-smoking law beginning Monday, officials said yesterday.

"Because of the agreement with the host country, we are bound to follow the local laws," said U.N. spokeswoman Hua Jiang. "We are trying to work out what concrete measures to take."

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the restrictions are meant to eliminate the risks of second-hand smoke.

In a memo to staffers, Annan urged people "to cooperate voluntarily" with the ban.

Though the U.N. has issued several critical reports on tobacco use worldwide, it didn't have to comply with the city or state's strict smoking ban because its East Side headquarters is international territory.

Officials expect an uphill battle keeping diplomats, employees and visitors in line with the anti-tobacco rules.

The ban announced yesterday is just the latest in a string of efforts by U.N. officials to stop employees from lighting up anywhere in its headquarters.

In 1995, the world body announced it was enacting a smoking ban for much of its headquarters - including lobbies, open-area offices, cafeterias and elevators - and only allowed smoking in designated places, such as an area of the delegates dining room.

The ban proved unsuccessful because it was ignored by many working in the 39-floor building.

U.N. officials said at the time that they had no authority to enforce it because diplomats who work there represent sovereign nations.

In 1997, the U.N. Children's Fund - better known as UNICEF - called for a world-smoking ban. At the time, the United States said the U.N. should ban smoking on its grounds to set an example.

Mayor Bloomberg approved a citywide smoking ban in March, barring people from lighting up in public places, including bars and restaurants.

August 16, 2003
        By Gillian Harris, Jeane MacIntosh, Caroline Wexler, Linda Stasi and Steve Dunleavy

The lights were out, the phone lines dead and the humidity stifling - but fun-loving New Yorkers turned the worst blackout in history into an all-night summer party in bars, cafes and street corners across the city.

Once it became clear that the massive shutdown was not terrorist-related, the relief was palpable. Millions of stranded commuters and New Yorkers without power decided to make the most of a long, hot, dark night by grabbing a cold beer and making new friends.

Bars without air conditioning and rapidly dwindling supplies of alcohol reported their busiest night of the year. At the Emerald Inn on Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side, revelers crammed into the tiny bar, where candles flickered on the tables and 200 pounds of ice kept beer supplies cool.

Elsewhere in Midtown, Mayor Bloomberg's anti-smoking squad would have had a field day had they been on blackout patrol. Several popular watering holes from Times Square to Hell's Kitchen were aglow in candlelight and jammed with sweaty, thirsty patrons who lit up indoors with abandon.

August 11, 2003
        By Stefan C. Friedman

Thousands of New Yorkers are calling 311 to give Mayor Bloomberg the 411 on his job performance - and their feedback is not so good.

The city's non-emergency hot line - which also serves as a message board for the mayor - received more than 7,500 calls from March 1 to June 9 from people wishing to opine on the mayor.

A large majority gave Bloomberg a big thumbs-down. Firehouse closings and the smoking ban topped the list of the most-heard gripes.

Ten percent of the total calls about the mayor criticized Hizzoner on his decision to shutter firehouses as a way to close the city's $3.6 billion budget deficit.

"You are putting people's lives in danger," fumed one caller. If you want to close any firehouses, close one on your block."

Another caller was even harsher, saying, "Please do two things for New York City: Reopen the six firehouses and leave."

Just eight people thought the firehouse closings were a positive sign.

The mayor's smoking ban was almost as unpopular.

Four out of five people calling on the butt ban though it was a bad idea.

One voicer labeled the mayor "a fool" for saying that the ban would "save 1,000 lives a year."

Many others complained about bars and restaurants being financially crippled, while others vented over the amount of smoke wafting through their windows from puffers congregated outside bars.

[additional reporting in the print version - Complaints to 311]  "I [haven't] been so disgusted or discouraged since Nixon" "The smoking ban is reminiscent of communist Russia.  I voted for him before.  I will never vote for him or any of his yes men again."

August 8, 2003
        By Steve Dunleavy

WHEN Michael Bloomberg was elected mayor, he betrayed his supporters.

I'm not saying this. It is said by a very smart man named Joseph Santora, a lawyer and a crime buster who worked under the very liberal Republican Mayor John Lindsay.

Santora supported Bloomberg, and Joseph's wife even volunteered on the mayor's election campaign.

Santora, 63, said: "Bloomberg was elected mayor, not commissioner of faith and morals, like Oliver Cromwell."

"Taxes and edicts should follow law, to raise revenues, not to influence a human's legal lifestyle."

Counselor Santora was, of course, speaking in particular about this hemorrhage of money in the bar and restaurant business, caused by Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban.

But he wasn't just telling me.

He wrote a blistering letter to the mayor, outlining all of the problems with the administration.

Here are some of the highlights:

* "Your apparent solution to our fiscal problems is higher taxes, more regulation and borrowing. They only make a recession worse."

* "You keep chanting city employees are all dedicated, hardworking and efficient, when anyone dealing with them knows that is nonsense."

* "If the war on smoking was so important, your failure to mention it in the campaign was no oversight, but deliberate concealment."

True, true and true.

Bloomberg was decent enough to respond to Santora's letter. But Santora wasn't satisfied.

"This is about an egomaniacal intrusion into a human's personal and legal habits," Santora said. "It is one man's edict."

And that's the heart of the problem. Bloomberg's spent too much time in the board room and not enough on the streets of New York. The denizens of our fair city don't like to be told what to do by someone they don't respect.

"This man is tone-deaf," said Santora.


July 31, 2003
        Page Six

DESPITE Mayor Bloomberg's somnambulistic dedication to his Tali-ban on smoking, some city officials want to be reasonable. Manhattan Beep Virginia Fields will host a hearing on the effects of the smoking ban on Sept. 16. Fields says that her office and city agencies have noticed "the dramatic increase in the number of complaints about outdoor noise as a result of the ban." Restaurant and bar owners "have also complained about a drop in business." Look for more pols to join the fight to liberate smokers from nanny-government oppression.

July 27, 2003
        By Linda Stasi

After the murder of City Councilman James Davis at City Hall on Wednesday, hundreds of outraged bar and restaurant owners, smokers and workers, still decided to go ahead with a "ban-the-ban" smoking rally outside City Hall on the following day.

Since I'd been asked to speak at the event, I found myself in a quandary. Would it be disrespectful to Davis' memory to participate in a rally aimed at pols - at the place where one had been gunned down?

Probably not - after all, Davis was a guy who spent his career literally fighting City Hall - from the inside out.

The protest was held to fight the ridiculous smoking ban, which had spread (like the side-stream smoke it was supposed to prevent) statewide on Thursday.

A couple of questions: Why aren't owners allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to run a smoking or non-smoking place? And why aren't we allowed to decide for ourselves whether we want to go there or not? I don't know about you, but nobody's ever forced me to eat out.

And if the law was enacted in large part to "protect" grub and pub workers, why then were hundreds of those workers protesting that the only thing the ban has protected them from are the tips they used to get when their bars were busy?

Finally, why the heck would you become a bartender if you hated smoke? Would you become a chef if you were anorexic?

Me? I used to light up with the best of them but it became such a pain in the, er, butt, to light up at work that I quit. It was just me and the hookers standing in the freezing cold, outside of where I was working at the time. I had the shoes for it, but tragically, the rest of the outfit needed some work. I looked like the only working girl on 11th Avenue in a sensible cloth coat and woolen hat.

July 25, 2003
        By Stephanie Gaskell and Kenneth Lovett

Hundreds of bar and restaurant owners gathered outside City Hall to protest the state's new smoking ban, which took effect yesterday.

"We're dying," said Maura O'Sullivan, who owns the Old Blarney bar in Lower Manhattan.

"We didn't gain any new non-smoking customers [under the city ban]. We've lost customers."

Up to 1,000 protesters rallied against the law.

It does away with several exemptions allowed by the city law, including single-owner-operated bars and bars with separate smoking rooms.

Lawmakers claim the ban won't hurt the city's economy — but bar owners aren't buying it.

"If that's the case, why hasn't anyone ever opened a non-smokers' bar?" said David Rabin, co-owner of Lotus. "You'd think they'd have the busiest bar in New York."

Councilman Tony Avella (D-Queens), who voted for the city smoking ban, told the rally he would now try to get city lawmakers to reconsider.

"I've always had concerns from day one," he said. "The hearings were done in such a way that this was a done deal."

Minutes before the rally, a few dozen supporters of the ban gathered outside City Hall to commend Gov. Pataki for signing the statewide ban.

"Today is a great day because New York City blazed the trail," said Dan Klotz of the American Cancer Society.

"This ban has been embraced by an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers. New Yorkers who go out not only breathe more easily, but their dry cleaning bills have gone down, too."

Meanwhile, Scott Paul, co-owner of the Center Street Smoke House in upstate Batavia, accused state officials of "trying to enlist me in their anti-smoking Nazi army and make me one of their enforcers, and I won't do that."

Paul said he'll brave fines to get his day in court and argue for a more reasonable law.

"There's got to be a secondhand-smoke standard that's somewhere between 'zero tolerance' and 'it's so thick you can't see,' " he said.

July 25, 2003
        By Steve Dunleavy

THEY had the map of Ire land written all over their faces.

They were Seamus O'Toole of Eamonn's in Brooklyn, there was Mike Glynn of Kennedy's, there was Sean and Patty Riley from the Molly Wee.

They came out in force outside City Hall yesterday chanting "Can the Ban" and Paudie O'Callaghan led a six-man delegation from Ireland to give support to the protest against the state and city's smoking laws.

They were there because the ban is strangling their bar business, threatening their mortgages, and jeopardizing the financial security of their staffs.

Most were Irish, like Brendan Carrigy, a retired bartender and Vietnam veteran, but it was guys like Queens Councilman Tony Avella who showed it was not just an Emerald Isle issue.

Avella, who doesn't smoke or drink, said: "The opposition doesn't even discuss this thing. Bloomberg set up the smoking hearings as a done deal. That's not democracy.

"Nobody asked anyone. Just a done deal."

He voted for the ban, but told the crowd he now wants the council to reconsider.

Across the park at a saddened City Hall, after one fanatic killed a wonderful guy on Wednesday, was a demonstration by the other side — those who favor the smoking ban.

Donna Shelley, chairperson of the Smoke-Free Coalition, danced like a cat on a hot tin roof when asked a simple and obvious question.

Are you for freedom of choice for a woman to have an abortion? Answer: "Yes." But you're against the freedom of choice for a person to light up in a bar? Answer:

"I'm just not going to go into that," she said as she led her 50-strong counter protest, made up of mostly teenage school kids.

Mike Glynn, of Kennedy's Bar on 57th street: "This is killing us, killing a tax base for Bloomberg's budget and all we get is lies."

In full disclosure I have to reveal that I am a smoker and extremely biased on the issue, which puts me on the opposite sides of Mayor Bloomberg, who is in danger of politically disappearing off the radar screen.

But watching these arrogant Cromwellians piously beat their breasts and use a couple of kids as their props should probably tell you a little something about the nature of the beast.

They are masking their arrogance in the camouflage of virtue. And we know where that gets fanatics.

July 24, 2003
        By Des O'Brien - Des O'Brien is the owner of Langan's Bar and Restaurant and a member of the United Restaurant and Liquor Dealers
           Association of New York.

TURN off the lights? I'm confused - but then, no more, no less than your average New Yorker.

This week, Mayor Bloomberg proclaimed that by turning off the lights on our bridges, he would be saving jobs. He says he wants to do as much as possible to prevent people from losing work.

Pity he didn't apply that same honorable principle before he turned off the lights on our business with his draconian smoking ban.

The mayor and his fall-in-line City Council are akin to the Three Blind Mice; perhaps they like being in the dark. If they continue along this path - and I see no reason why they won't - it's only a matter of time before the entire city will find itself in the dark.

And to make matters worse, today the state's smoking ban kicks in.

Preliminary reports indicate that the state lost $150 million in sales-tax revenue during the first quarter of the year. This figure is expected to balloon to somewhere in the region of $225 million per quarter for the remainder of the year, unless there is a miraculous economic turnaround. Expect this number to grow bigger when the statewide smoking ban goes into effect.

It is no coincidence that the $75 million jump from the first quarter occurred just as the New York City anti-smoking law went into effect. This is lost revenue to the city and state and could have prevented a tremendous amount of job losses.

The law came about through bogus science and a distortion of the facts by people with too much time on their hands. These same people are now pursuing the fast-food industry, when instead they should be addressing the core issue: making people aware of their inherent responsibility to themselves, their children and others.

Mayor Bloomberg continues to do almost nothing to return this city to a reasonable level of business and commercial strength. In fact, by virtue of almost all his policies, he has succeeded in doing almost the opposite.

Unthinkable! For such a successful person in the private sector, he is failing so miserably in the public arena.

I'm aware of his efforts to bring the Summer Olympics to New York in 2012. A very noble idea indeed.

However, who will want to come to a city where you cannot smoke in a pub, where you get ticketed if you take up two subway car seats (at 2 a.m., no less) and where you pay an absurdly high 8.625 percent sales tax and an unfathomable 14 percent occupancy tax for a hotel room?

What businesses would want to locate here or, for that matter, remain here when property taxes are crucifying them and when state-of-the-art technology permits them to conduct business from almost anywhere else in the country?

To think that 20 years ago almost all of the Fortune 500 firms were located here in New York. Now there are fewer than 50.

The people of New York are outraged, as demonstrated by Mayor Bloomberg's dismal 24 percent approval rating.

And they have good reason to be.

Restaurant industry leaders have planned a peaceful demonstration at City Hall today at 1 p.m. to demonstrate to the mayor that all is not well. Thousands are expected to be there in protest of the state smoking ban.

There is power in numbers - perhaps enough power to turn the light on in the mayor's head.

July 24, 2003
        By Stephanie Gaskell

City officials released new employment data yesterday to bolster their claim that the cigarette ban isn't hurting bar business - but nightspot owners said they're just blowing smoke.

From March to June, there were 9,700 new jobs in the bar and restaurant industry - compared with 9,300 jobs during the same period last year, according to the Economic Development Corporation.

"The data we have so far indicate very clearly there's been no negative impact on the industry from the smoking ban," said EDC President Andrew Alper.

But many bar and restaurant owners said the city was interpreting the statistics to bolster its anti-smoking position.

"As far as I'm concerned they're just trying to give legitimacy to the law they passed, but if you ask any owner they'd say it's been hurting business," said Steve Shaw of Gallagher's Steak House in Midtown.

Don Alonzo shut down his restaurant Alonzo's near the United Nations last month after more than a decade - and he blamed the smoking ban.

"They all used to come in here and smoke," he said. "Now they're staying at the U.N. and smoking at the restaurant there."

The United Nations is not subject to city laws.

The city's smoking ban went into effect on March 30. An even stricter statewide ban goes into effect today.

Thousands of protesters are expected at City Hall today to protest the statewide ban.

July 23, 2003
        By Stephanie Gaskell and Perry Chiaramonte

The city Health Department is allowing customers in seven lucky bars to puff away despite Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban - if only for a day, officials said yesterday.

Under the ban, which took effect March 30, bars can qualify for an exemption if they are a single-owner-operated establishment, have a separate smoking room or get 10 percent or more of their revenue from the sale of tobacco products.

Four bars qualified as single-owner-operated.

Two bars qualified as cigar or tobacco bars, which means they sell enough tobacco products to meet the revenue minimum.

Another was granted an exemption because it's a membership association, and there are technically no employees.

But it is unclear what will happen to the joints' special status once an overriding statewide ban - which allows exemptions only for tobacco bars and certain membership associations - goes into effect tomorrow.

"The new law voids some of the exemptions," Health Department spokeswoman Sandra Mullin said.

James Keenaghan - the 39-year-old owner/operator of Kitty Kiernan's in Brooklyn, which won an exemption - knows all too well that some of his business is about to be snuffed out.

"I'm exempt - until Thursday at midnight, when the [new state] law kicks in," Keenaghan sighed last night.

"I know a lot of other people in the bar business, and their profits have been down 40 percent since the ban. As soon as I can't allow my customers to smoke, I'm gonna lose a lot of business," he said.

A dozen bars applied for exemptions but were denied.

They included the Stonewall bar in Greenwich Village, which wanted to build a separate smoking room, Mullin said.

A total of seven bars originally applied for an exemption by arguing they are tobacco bars.

One of those approved was Karma in Manhattan.

"Almost everyone here is smoking," Karma bartender Lisa Gualtieri, 23, said last night.

" I think the ban is the stupidest thing ever . . . It's like prohibition all over again."

Those denied exemptions included the Hudson Bar and Books in TriBeCa and Mustang Grill on the Upper East Side.

The decision is pending on one applicant, Grand Havana, where former Mayor Rudy Giuliani held his bachelor party.

July 22, 2003
        By Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY - Opponents of a statewide smoking ban will file a lawsuit today seeking to keep the prohibition from taking effect on Thursday, by claiming the state illegally superceded federal law, The Post has learned.

Using a novel legal argument, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association states in its filing that workplace safety issues - including those pertaining to secondhand smoke - fall under the purview of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

"The Legislature overstepped their bounds when they made an issue about regulating worker safety," said Kevin Mulhearn, the lawyer who prepared the lawsuit. "Once they did that, they stepped into federal terrain."

The state law, which goes into effect at midnight on Thursday, will prohibit smoking indoors in most businesses and public places.

When passing the controversial law earlier this year, state lawmakers said the primary reason for the ban was to protect employees of bars and restaurants from secondhand smoke.

But according to the complaint, which will be filed today in federal court in Syracuse, states are prohibited - without special permission - from regulating worker health and safety issues for which a federal standard is already in place. The complaint claims that OSHA standards already cover "permissible safe exposure levels for employees exposed to toxic and hazardous substances in the workplace."

If the OSHA argument is successful, Mulhearn said it would leave smoking bans in other states and places like New York City rife for similar challenges.

The restaurant and tavern association will also today ask for a temporary injunction, citing "irreparable harm" caused by a potential loss of business.

"We believe that our complaint will make a persuasive argument to the court to overturn the state's smoking ban," said Scott Wexler, executive director of the restaurant and tavern association.

Supporters of the law have said they believe the ban is constitutional and will withstand any legal challenges.

The state law will have little effect on the Big Apple - which already bans smoking in public places.

In anticipation of the law taking affect, angry bar owners across the state are preparing protest rallies for Thursday, with some saying they will again turn off their Quick Draw lottery machines. Two previous Quick Draw protests cost the state more than $1 million in sales.

July 20, 2003
        Page 6

ANYONE fed up with Mayor "Tali-Ban" Bloomberg's costly and capricious smoking prohibition should head to City Hall Park on Thursday at 1 p.m. Citing the fact that hundreds of small businesses and thousands of employees face financial ruin while billionaire Bloomberg jets off to island retreats every weekend, the victims of his Draconian rule will rally to "Can the Ban." At the risk of suffering Bloomberg's selective enforcement, the New York Nightlife Association, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association and other groups are lending their support to the protest, held the day the statewide ban goes into effect.

July 20, 2003
        Sucked in by the city -- again
        Bridget Harrison

Hoards of smokers ejected from the restaurant nearby loitered on my doorstep, refusing to budge as I battled my way through them.

July 20, 2003
        By Jessical Wohl

Imitation may indeed be the sincerest form of flattery, but not when it comes to the cigarette business.

Philip Morris USA, the largest U.S. cigarette maker, says it is too easy to buy copycat versions of its top-selling Marlboro cigarettes and it is working with law enforcement to put a stop to such sales.

Philip Morris USA hopes to end all contraband sales, using tactics that include training police and hiring an agency to make undercover purchases of counterfeit cigarettes.

July 18, 2003
        Page 6

MAYOR Bloomberg's smoking ban is driving neighbors of Bruno Jamais' Restaurant Club on East 81st Street nuts. Locals complain about the noise generated by smokers going outside for a quick tobacco fix. "We can't get a break!" a rep for the restaurant e-mailed us. "Granted, our customers are smoking outside at 2 a.m., but . . . he needs to follow the law and force them to smoke outside . . . So, are we responsible for both the inside and half-block outside surrounding the restaurant?"

July 13, 2003
        SMOKE 'EM UP!
        By Ashley Cross and Maxine Shen

Believe it or not, there is one way smokers can still get their fix - at hookah bars and cafes. Smoking from a hookah - a water pipe filled with flavored tobacco - is as illegal as smoking tobacco, but some owners don't care.

"You can't take it away - it's atmospheric and this place calls for hookahs and decadence," says Salam al-Rawi, who owns Mamlouk. Even at restaurants where hookah smoking is relegated to the back garden, it's still a much more luxurious experience than lighting up yet another in a chain of Marlboros.

Mamlouk (211 E. 4th Street, bet. avenues A and B, [212] 529-3477) offers separate hookah-only smoking rooms (and a $15 surcharge for the pipe).

Moustache (265 East 10th street, near 1st Ave., [212] 228-2022) and Kapadokya (142 Montague Street, bet. Clinton and Henry Sts., Brooklyn, [718] 875-2211) have patios out back for hookah (and cigarette) smoking.

Café Cairo (189 E. Houston Street, bet. Orchard and Ludlow streets, [212] 529-2923) features 35 different flavors of tobacco for its pipes.

Le Souk (47 Ave B, bet. 3rd and 4th streets, [212] 777-545) provides hookahs in the backyard garden - as well as belly dancers.

Sahara East (184 1st Ave, at 11th St., [212] 353-9000) offers long benches, where patrons can drink cups of mint tea with their hookahs in the back garden.

Egyptian Coffee Shop (25-49 Steinway Street, Queens, [718] 777-5517), offers hookahs indoors - but banishes cigarette smokers to the backyard.

July 8, 2003
        By Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY - Restaurants and bars this week will begin asking customers to help fund a lawsuit seeking to strike down the looming statewide ban on smoking, The Post has learned.

Customers will be able to buy "Ballots for Freedom" for $1, sign them, and have them posted on the bar or restaurant wall where they purchased it.

The fund-raiser is designed to raise $500,000, said Scott Wexler, executive director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association.

The association recently promoted an anti-smoking protest by several hundred bar owners in which they temporarily turned off their Quick Draw machines, costing the state more than $1 million.

Wexler said the first $100,000 from the fund-raiser will go toward funding the lawsuit, which is expected to be filed shortly before the ban goes into effect July 24.

The rest of the money will help fund lobbying and political activities.

"When you raise half a million dollars, you become a special-interest group," Wexler said.

The idea for the campaign mirrors charity fund-raising efforts undertaken by bars and restaurants, such as when they sell paper hearts around Valentine's Day to raise money for the American Heart Association, Wexler said.

The tavern association yesterday began distributing the Ballots for Freedom to its 5,000 members, with the idea that if each bar and restaurant sells 100, they'd meet the $500,000 target.

In the meantime, Wexler's lawyers are putting the finishing touches on the lawsuit against the state.

Wexler said his organization will challenge the smoking ban on three main issues: that the law is constitutionally vague, takes away property rights from restaurant and bar owners, and interferes with interstate commerce.

"We are very optimistic that we have a winning lawsuit here," he said.

The state law will prohibit smoking indoors in most businesses and public places. Smoking is even prohibited in outdoor sections of bars and restaurants if there is an awning or roof.

Wexler's organization fought unsuccessfully to have the law amended to allow bars to create separately ventilated smoking areas.

July 8, 2003

Mayor Mike's still blowin' smoke.

He wants to bust you for criminal possession of . . . an ashtray.

Well, maybe not criminal possession.

But after the first 31 days of Mayor Bloomberg's infamous citywide butt ban, his tobacco troopers had handed out no fewer than 111 tickets - with 86 for such civil violations as failing to post a "No Smoking" sign or having ashtrays in public view!

Is this really what the mayor had in mind when he insisted he was going to save hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from cigarette smoke's pernicious effects?

Illicit ashtrays? Illicit empty ashtrays?

Indeed, a restaurant that's caught three times in public possession of ashtrays can have its operating license revoked.

"As expected, the law to protect workers from other people's smoke is largely self-enforcing," said Health Department spokeswoman Sandra Mullin, insisting that the low number of violations means bar owners are complying with the law.

That's because, she insists, "most people prefer to breathe clean air."

Or maybe it's because most people, or at least most restaurant owners - having already been hit by the mayor's mammoth sales-tax and property-tax increases - don't relish the thought of having to shell out up to $2,000 for failure to post a "No Smoking" sign.

Or having an ashtray in sight.

Especially since the same owners have felt a serious drop-off of business ever since the butt ban became law.

The mayor won a famous victory over them, but surrendered utterly as the municipal unions and other special interests ran roughshod over the city's tax base.

Gotham may be going dark.

But rest easy.

Mike's ashtray cops are on the job.

July 7, 2003
        By Stephanie Gaskell

A mere 25 tickets were handed out to bar and restaurant owners for allowing customers to smoke during the first month that Mayor Bloomberg's butt ban was enforced - out of 20,000 eateries citywide.

Since May 1, inspectors handed out 111 notices of violation - 25 of them for smoking, according to the city Health Department.

The others were for minor infractions, such as having ashtrays at the bar and not posting "No Smoking" signs.

The ban went into effect March 30, but health inspectors issued only warnings during the first month.

"As expected, the law to protect workers from other people's smoke is largely self-enforcing," said Associate Health Commissioner Sandra Mullin.

Health inspectors, who work only until 11 p.m., visited more than 6,500 bars and restaurants in May.

The only bar to be caught more than once for allowing customers to smoke was the Athens Cafe in Queens.

"We've been targeted big time. I don't know why," said owner Nick Constantinou, who has been slapped with seven violations - two of them for illegal puffing.

"We've enforced the law. How it cannot be clear, I don't understand. We're going to fight it," he said.

Smoking fines cost $200 to $400 for the first offense. A second offense is $500 to $1,000 and a third offense is $1,000 to $2,000.

With a $200 to $400 fine for the first ticket, the city could bring in anywhere from $22,200 to $44,400 for violations during the month of May.

There's also a "three strikes and you're out" provision - three offenses in 12 months and the establishment's license can be revoked.

All notices of violations are brought before an administrative judge, who has the authority to set the fine.

Some of the businesses that received violations include Flashdancers and Jimmy's Downtown in Manhattan, the Portofino Restaurant on City Island, Ecstasy Bar in Brooklyn and the Arab Community Center in Queens.

No bars or restaurants on Staten Island have been ticketed so far.

Mullin said the department has received 500 complaints from people calling 311, the city's nonemergency hot line, or filing a complaint on the department's Web site at www.nyc.gov/health.

The city ban allows smoking in cigar bars, separate smoking rooms and single owner-operated establishments.

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September 27, 2003
        Small pack still break smoke law
        By Maggie Haberman

From Carvel to Cipriani, more than 500 city restaurants, bars and even corporate offices were slapped with summonses in the first months after Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban took effect, officials said yesterday.

From May 1 to Aug. 29, inspectors hit 524 restaurants and bars with fines for flouting the stringent laws.

But that number's a mere fraction of the more than 20,000 restaurants and taverns around the five boroughs - suggesting that most establishments are complying with the laws, even if they don't agree with them, city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene officials said.

Manhattan racked up the most summonses by far with 240 places getting ticketed. The accused violators ranged from the upscale Blue Hill restaurant to the Beekman Deli, according to Health Department records.

Others were Cipriani Dolci in Grand Central Terminal, a Loews theater on Third Ave. and a Carvel in Queens.

Even corporate offices felt the heat - the law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft got ticketed for "working smokeplace inadequate, not posted or not provided."

Some didn't try

Only about a fifth of the restaurants, or 124, were cited for failing "to make a good-faith effort" to force their clientele to put cigarettes out. Twenty-nine of those summonses were in Manhattan.

And the majority of summonses were for not posting "no smoking" signs in noticeable places, or for having ashtrays lying around in view.

The smoking law took effect on March 30, but officials gave bar and restaurant owners a one-month reprieve before they started nailing law-breakers.

"Bar and restaurant owners continue to be overwhelmingly compliant with the SFAA and, thus, are protecting workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke," Health Department spokeswoman Sandra Mullin said.

She added that followup visits showed that a smattering of about 30 of the original 524 places were still flouting the law.

Businesses can be cited for five types of violations. First-time violators can be fined between $200 and $400. Not all of the fines have yet been paid, so the city had no total available for the amount of money collected.

A statewide law banning smoking in workplaces, including bars and restaurants, took effect July 24. Many business owners have been lobbying the Legislature to overturn or loosen the law.

September 19, 2003
        Rudy clears air on smoke-ban flap
        By David Saltonstall

Rudy Giuliani says he wasn't trying to blow smoke in Mayor Bloomberg's face.

After going on Irish radio this week and implying that New York's smoking ban went too far, Giuliani called Bloomberg from Ireland on Wednesday night to explain himself.

Giuliani was only suggesting that countries like Ireland, where there are no smoking restrictions, might want to start with a partial ban that limits smoking to certain areas, Bloomberg said.

"He just thought that sometimes you go part ways to get there, let people adjust and then go the rest of the ways," the mayor said yesterday in explaining Rudy's go-slow approach to smoking laws.

Giuliani lit up city papers yesterday when he said in Ireland that "some people want to make the choice of being able to have a cigar or a pipe or a cigarette after dinner. And they should be provided with an opportunity to do that."

Their long-distance conversation quickly turned to lighter topics - mainly golf, which Giuliani has had lots of time to play while on his business trip to the Emerald Isle.

"I was a little bit envious. As I pointed out, I had four more events to do after our conversation last night," Bloomberg said. "Rudy's answer to that was, 'Well, you wanted the job.'

"My answer to that," Bloomberg added, "was, 'I even paid to get it!'"

September 18, 2003
        Giuliani blows smoke at Mike ban
        By David Saltonstall

Let the people smoke.

That seemed to be Rudy Giuliani's message - to Mayor Bloomberg and the people of Ireland - when asked yesterday if he thought the Emerald Isle should follow New York's lead and ban smoking in pubs and restaurants.

"Some people want to make the choice of being able to have a cigar or a pipe or a cigarette after dinner," the former mayor told Irish state broadcaster RTE. "And they should be provided with an opportunity to do that."

Giuliani, an occasional cigar smoker, argued that it made more sense to restrict smoking only to certain areas - as New York did under a law passed in 1995, when he was mayor.

He added that Bloomberg's new ban had succeeded only in pushing smokers out onto sidewalks in front of bars.

"There's no action without an equal and opposite reaction," he said.

Giuliani's comments, by far his most critical of New York's smoking ban, marked a rare public break with Bloomberg, whom he endorsed for mayor in 2001.

The two men have certainly disagreed before. Giuliani has called for a large, sweeping memorial at Ground Zero, while Bloomberg has suggested that less could be more.

The former mayor also criticized property, income and sales tax hikes backed by Bloomberg this year.

Still cordial

Bloomberg, for his part, has been extremely solicitous of the former mayor - even agreeing to include an exemption in the smoking ban, at Giuliani's request, that allows cigar conventions to puff away in town for up to five days.

Bloomberg spokesman Ed Skyler declined yesterday to comment on Giuliani's latest remarks.

Aides to Giuliani tried to downplay his comments yesterday.

They said the former mayor was suggesting only that Ireland, which plans to zap public smoking in January, should start slowly, with a partial ban.

"This is in no way at all a criticism of anyone," said Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel.

September 17, 2003
        Barkeeps rally, say smoke ban stifling business
        By Joe Mahoney

ALBANY - Bar owners served up a frosty message to legislators yesterday, charging at a rally here that the state's smoking ban is killing business - and jobs.

"The people I had to lay off have clean air - but they have no jobs," Ciaran Staunton, owner of O'Neill's, a pub in midtown Manhattan, said at a protest near the Capitol organized by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association.

Bar owners, who say the seven-week-old smokes-out law has caused business to drop by as much as 40%, chanted "Can the ban!"

Tavern owners, led by restaurant industry lobbyist Scott Wexler, said a fair compromise would be to allow smoking in bars that install ventilation.

Gov. Pataki, who signed the ban into law, said any changes are up to lawmakers.

But the Republican-led Senate, which was in special session yesterday, refused to tinker with the legislation. "We're not going to do anything to change the law now," said Senate Republican Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer).

Bruno said he doubts the ban is the cause of a business slump - and even predicted the ban would be good for business.

Meanwhile, bar owners had the same message for Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields at a hearing on the city's nearly six-month-old workplace smoking ban.

"This ban is the first step in the death of nightlife entrepreneurship," said David Rabin, president of the New York Night Life Association. "Why don't we just change our name to Cleveland and call it a day?" he said to wild applause.

September 3, 2003
        Holy smokes! They're up again, by 13 cents
        By Michael Saul

Smokers, take a deep breath - your habit just got even more expensive.

On Labor Day, city smokers started paying about 13 cents a pack more for their smokes, thanks to a law passed by the state Legislature that mandates how stores charge for cigarettes.

It worked like this:

Last summer, Mayor Bloomberg signed a bill that raised the excise tax on cigarettes from 8 cents a pack to $1.50 a pack, beginning July 1, 2002.

The tax hike boosted the price of some brands to more than $7 a pack and gave the city the distinction of having the highest cigarette tax in the nation.

That was bad enough for smokers, but for the past 14 months, retailers made it a little easier by subtracting that $1.50 excise tax before computing the sales tax.

If the total price were $7, for instance, the shopkeeper would charge sales tax on just $5.50. Now, because of the law, he must include the excise tax as part of the sales price before adding on the sales tax.

So, in effect, smokers are now paying sales tax on their excise tax. And that translates to an additional 13 cents per pack.

"I hate it. I totally hate it," said David Padilla, who was smoking a cigarette outside a Duane Reade store across the street from City Hall yesterday.

"I have to go to Jersey or I have to quit - that's all I can do," he fumed.

Aides to Bloomberg, who has seen his poll numbers plummet partly because of his workplace smoking ban, said the mayor does not deserve the blame for the latest tax increase.

"This is legislation that the state passed," said Jordan Barowitz, a Bloomberg spokesman. "We did not request it."

In May, the state Legislature passed the legislation over Gov. Pataki's veto as part of a massive budget deal brokered with the Bloomberg administration.

"Everybody was aware of this," said Charles Carrier, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). "We worked very closely with the city trying to address its budget needs."

Carrier added that the legislation was passed to make the sales tax collection uniform across the state.

"We were correcting an anomaly," he said.

For smokers, though, it's just another burden.

"The tax is too high," griped James Deosa, 58, of Manhattan, as he dragged on his cigarette on his way to work.

August 7, 2003
        Whoopi's huffing & puffing
        Tells Bloomberg city can butt out
        By Donna Petrozzello

Whoopi Goldberg told Mayor Bloomberg that smokers should be left alone.

There were sparks - but no fire - when smoker Whoopi Goldberg met yesterday with anti-smoker Mayor Bloomberg.
The two came together to tout the start of production on Goldberg's sitcom "Whoopi," in which she plays a cigarette-smoking hotel owner. But their opposing stances on the hot-button topic made them seem like unlikely podium mates.

Ever the politician, Bloomberg downplayed direct questions about Goldberg's smoking on the show - which already has ignited watchdog groups.

But the outspoken Goldberg, who lives in the city and asked that the show be shot here, is clearly butting heads with the mayor's strict nonsmoking rules.

"We haven't become nonpeople or nontaxpayers," Goldberg said after a press conference from the set at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. "I will not be bullied by a group of people who really want to do the right thing - but they're doing the right thing the wrong way. This is not Afghanistan, damn it. I will not wear this smoking burka."

Goldberg is fired up over the city's sweeping public smoking ban - spearheaded by Bloomberg - suggesting that it has rudely forced smokers to shiver outside offices in winter just to enjoy a butt.

"People do smoke, and that's the bottom line, and there's nothing you can do about it," she said. "If you say to me, 'I want you to stop [smoking],' you have to give me an alternative."

So far, Goldberg has dodged the city's law because she puffs on herbal smokes, she said, a type of cigarette permitted at indoor workplaces, according to city rules.

"They're horrible," she noted.

Bloomberg said he's put his personal views aside about her on-screen - and off-screen - habit.

"This is a big city and everybody's got a right to their own views," he said. "But the [smoking] law is clear about the workplace, and this is a production that's going to comply with keeping a safe workplace for everybody."

Bloomberg's views on Goldberg's smoking may not matter. The city's no-smoking rules also provide leeway for smoking during artistic endeavors, meaning she can smoke as much as she'd like while taping the show.

He's also happy about the money the show will add to the city.

"This series alone will mean 250 new jobs for New York, and $13 million will be spent on its cast, dry cleaners, limousine services and the corner coffee shop," the mayor said. "I thank the show's producers and NBC. They're sending a powerful message that when it comes to TV production, there is no substitute for New York."

Presumably, some of that $13 million will be spent on cigarettes, too.

July 25, 2003
        Smoking ban is choking biz, say protesters
        By Fiona McDonough

Some people believe the ban on smoking has done more harm than good.
At least 500 protesters gathered outside City Hall yesterday, the day a statewide ban went into effect in addition to the city's, to urge that smoking be allowed in bars and restaurants.

"You think secondhand smoke is dangerous? How about poverty?" cried Vanessa Rohrbach, 35, a bartender for 10 years. She said her tips have been "cut in half" and she no longer can afford health insurance.

"Our regular customers are not coming, or they don't stay as long," said Rohrbach, who works at Peter's on the upper West Side.

The New York Nightlife Association, which organized the rally, said bars, taverns and clubs are facing "dramatic declines in revenue, some more than 40%." The industry employs 35,000 to 40,000 workers, an association spokesman said.

"We all want clean air," said Nightlife Association President David Rabin. "There is cutting-edge filtration technology that can accomplish that goal."

Bar owners are seeking legislation to allow smoking with ventilation systems in place.

But other tavern proprietors say the ban is fine just the way it is.

"I don't think you can ventilate out the smoke," said Arthur Gregory, 49, owner of A&M Roadhouse in Tribeca. He celebrated the statewide measure with the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, some community members and other bar owners at another rally outside City Hall.

"It hasn't hurt my business that much," he said of the smoking prohibition.

"I'm happy about the ban because I was waking up three times a week with my lungs hurting from the smoke," Gregory said. Gregory, whose mother died of lung cancer, quit smoking three years ago.

"You can do what you want at home, but you have no right to kill me or my employees," he said.

July 23, 2003
        Smoke signals good for 3 bars
        By Lisa L. Colangelo, Joe Mahoney and Eric Herman

The city still has a few bars where you can smoke - three, to be exact.
The smoke-friendly spots were among seven exempted from the city's smoking ban by the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. A tougher state ban takes effect tomorrow, eliminating four bars from the city's list of places where smoking is still allowed.

"Smoking is permitted here," said Sam Pande, manager of the Karma Lounge, a restaurant bar at 51 First Ave. in Manhattan. "It's going great right now."

Also on the smoke-friendly list are Club Macanudo, a cigar bar at 26 E. 63rd St. in Manhattan, and VFW Post 107 at 2414 Gerritsen Ave., Brooklyn.

The city received 20 applications for exemptions from its smoking ban. Four bars won approval under an exception for family-owned bars without employees. The state law closes that loophole. The city rejected 12 applications, and one - the Grand Havana Room at 666 Fifth Ave. - is pending.

A group representing the owners filed a federal lawsuit yesterday in a bid to stop the statewide smoking ban. A smokers' rights group, meanwhile, is planning a lawsuit of its own.

"We have identified several flaws in the new state smoking ban law that we believe will lead to the court overturning the law," said Bill Leudemann, president of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association.

A group called NYC CLASH - New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment - pledged to file its own suit today.

Many bar and restaurant owners complain that the city's law, which began being enforced in May, has clobbered businesses, cutting revenues by up to 40%. Owners' groups plan a protest at City Hall tomorrow.

Gov. Pataki said he was confident the smoking ban would withstand the legal challenge.

July 22, 2003
        State's smoking ban puts lights out Thurs.
        By Joe Mahoney and Eric Herman

The butts stop here.

Come Thursday, a state ban will outlaw smoking in taverns from Bridgehampton to Buffalo. The law covers some 78,000 bars and restaurants - and extinguishes exemptions granted by the city's three-month-old ban.

Bar and restaurant owners plan a rally to protest the law at City Hall on Thursday. In Albany, they will challenge it in court.

"This is the most cowardly, heinous, discompassionate legislation that's ever been directed toward an industry by government," said Thomas Slattery of United Restaurant, Hotel and Tavern Owners of New York.

The city's law banned smoking in New York's bars and restaurants but allowed puffing in rooms with separate ventilation. It also made an exception for family-owned bars without employees.

The state law nixes both, though it exempts Native American casinos, private clubs and cigar bars.

Owners in the city said the state law won't make much difference to them, since most bars have employees and "no one was building the smoking rooms anyway," said David Rabin, president of New York Nightlife Association.

The biggest impact will be felt in the 57 counties outside the city. Some, like Westchester, have smoking bans. Nassau County passed a ban, but a judge prevented the county from enforcing it.

The state law will have a "net legacy of saving lives," said state Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-L.I.), who sponsored the bill. "Secondhand smoke is a known carcinogen."

But many bar owners said it is a known job killer. Scott Wexler, director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, said his group will seek an injunction against the ban this week.

Meanwhile, the law has met with a lukewarm response in some upstate counties.

"I think the state is going to have some problems with the enforcement," said William Thomas, town supervisor of Johnsburg, near Lake George, and chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

Rabin said bars have lost 20% to 40% of their business since the city's ban took effect.

"We're lucky we have a small yard in the back where people can go out and smoke," said John McLoughlin, owner of McLoughlin's Bar in Astoria, Queens. "If we didn't have that, we'd surely be out of business."

July 18, 2003
        City tobacco bond sales up in smoke
        By Dave Saltonstall

The city is stamping out this year's planned sale of $715 million in bonds funded by tobacco settlement money.

That's because the costs of borrowing against the settlement are rising over fears that new lawsuits could bankrupt the tobacco companies paying the settlement.

"It's not something we plan to do," Alan Anders, a deputy director in the city's Office of Management and Budget, told Bloomberg News yesterday. "It isn't cost-effective right now."

The move is not expected to blow a hole in the city's budget because unlike the state and other municipalities, the city now uses money from tobacco bonds to fund long-term capital projects, not day-to-day operating expenses.

The administration is expected to find other, cheaper ways to finance the same projects, officials said.

The rising cost of borrowing against future revenue from cigarette makers became clear in April, after Philip Morris said it could go bankrupt if forced to post a $12 billion bond to pay for an Illinois court judgment.

Mayor Bloomberg has warned ever since that lawsuits against tobacco companies might limit the ability to borrow against the settlement, whose payments during the first 25 years were projected at $206 billion.

July 7, 2003
        Owners hazy on butts ban
        By Lisa L. Colangelo

Asking customers to snuff out their smokes just isn't enough.

City bars and restaurants are learning the hard way that they face big fines - even if they only forget to post warnings or remove ashtrays.

"They said the signs were not clear. A 'No Smoking' sign? How it cannot be clear? I don't know," said a frustrated Nick Constantinou, owner of the Athens Cafe in Astoria, Queens.

The Greek cafe was one of 71 restaurants, bars and other businesses nabbed by health inspectors for violating the city's new smoking ban during the first four weeks of enforcement in May.

The butts ban, which outlaws smoking in virtually all workplaces, kicked in April 1, though the city's 20,000 bars and restaurants were given a one-month grace period to get used to the new restrictions. A statewide smoking ban goes into effect July 24.

In May, inspectors caught people smoking at 23 establishments during 6,500 inspections, according to the city Health Department.

But most of the 111 violation notices dished out by the city were aimed at owners for failing to remove ashtrays and not properly posting "No Smoking" signs.

The violators ranged from Astoria sidewalk cafes to a bingo concession and snack bar in Brooklyn to an East Side Starbucks.

Inspectors hand out notices of violations, not summonses. The fines, which range from $200 for first-time offenders to $2,000 for repeat violators, are set by an administrative judge.

The Health Department can also revoke the license of any business that violates the law three or more times in one year.

"As expected, the law to protect workers from other people's smoke is largely self-enforcing," said department spokeswoman Sandra Mullin.

"Most people prefer to breathe clean air," she added. "Smoke-free workplaces are good for health, and as all scientifically valid studies have shown, do not harm business."

Constantinou said business at his cafe has dropped 50% since the smoking ban, and he plans to fight his violations.

"We've been targeted, big time. I don't know why," said Constantinou, who got seven notices from inspectors. "[Customers] are going to places where they can smoke."

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Midhudson News - September 30, 2003
        Senator has mixed emotions about smoking ban

As the debate continues over whether the state should maintain, modify or throw out its smoking ban law, one Hudson Valley state lawmaker hasn't made up his mind.

Senator William Larkin of Cornwall-on-Hudson is weighing both the health and economic sides of the issue. “I think that we need to do something to assist, because we worry about the health on one side and we want see how we can keep the people who are the fringe from going out of business,” he said.

Opponents of the smoking ban say government has no right telling people how to run their businesses.

There is an apparent loophole in the current law, which would allow counties to grant hardship waivers to businesses that have been severely hurt by the new law.

Reuters - September 30, 2003
Russia, Costa Rica want to keep on smoking at UN

UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke too soon in trying to ban smoking from U.N. headquarters with several fuming diplomats on Tuesday trying to find ways around the prohibition.

At a meeting of the General Assembly's committee on budget and administration, several delegates, led by Costa Rica and Russia, questioned the legal basis for Annan to put out such an order without a vote from member states.

In the end, the panel, which includes all 191 U.N. members, decided to ask Annan to explain the legal basis for his decision before taking any further action.

"It is the sort of issue that can catch fire, as it were," said one Western delegate, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It can get pretty disgusting in the basement where there are no windows but some delegates are spoiling for a fight and want to smoke."

Annan issued the ban in a letter to staff and ambassadors in August, citing health reasons and insurance costs in the high-rise building on Manhattan's East River that does not have a sprinkler system. He urged everyone to cooperate voluntarily.

In 1995, the United Nations announced a smoking ban for much of its headquarters, such as small meeting rooms, although some delegates violated it.

Buffalo News - September 29, 2003
        Opponents of smoking ban haven't taken their last gasp
        By Henry L. Davis and Lisa Haarlander

Two months after a statewide smoking ban took effect, some local businesses hope to slip through a loophole in the law before they pack away their ashtrays.

In addition, not everyone is following the tough new rules.

Dozens of taverns, restaurants and social clubs here have been cited for isolated violations.

And a few openly defy the ban, allowing regular customers to slide or ignoring smokers who light up late at night.

Still, most businesses and people appear to have quietly adjusted. The haze of cigarette smoke is largely a sight and smell of the past.

"In general, there actually seems to be pretty good compliance out there," said Dr. Anthony Billittier IV, Erie County health commissioner.

The strict legislation, with few exceptions, leaves smokers with virtually no options but their homes and outdoors. However, the legislation allowed for waivers if a business owner can show that compliance creates an unreasonable financial hardship.

About 130 establishments, from bars to bingo halls, out of several thousand businesses and social clubs in the eight-county region, have requested exemptions from the smoking ban since it started July 24. Their chances of getting one, however, are cloudy.

For most, the complaint is the same: The ban has driven away customers, slicing liquor revenues.

Ross Catalino, owner of Rory O'Shea's in Buffalo, blames the ban for a decline in business that forced him to lay off three employees.

Eric Buziak wonders if his family will have to close the doors earlier on weekdays at Dottie's Pub, another small city establishment, if late-night patrons don't return.

"It has been rough," he said.

At Fletcher's Bar & Grill, a fixture in Kenmore for 28 years, owner Donald Fletcher said he never has gone through a summer as bad as the one that just ended.

He said his most recent order for beer was one-third what he normally buys. His waitresses are worried about fewer tips.

"Our business hasn't picked up as much as it usually does with the start of football season," he said. "Is it just because of the smoking ban? I can't pinpoint it for sure, but we have been hurt."

A longer-term review of sales tax revenues from bars and restaurants may ultimately help support or discredit the claims of financial hardship. But if customers are drinking less, the economic pain should flow downstream, observers said.

A professional observation

Try-It Distributing Co., which sells beer to bars, restaurants and convenience stores, saw a small drop in sales to bars and restaurants in August, according to Paul Vukelic, company president.

"The mom-and-pop neighborhood bars that are struggling to make it anyway are the places that are really going to feel it initially," he said. "The Chippewa district was down anyway, but I think the smoking ban made it worse. The ones that have picked up a little are the ones with the patios that are allowed to have smoking."

Requests for exemptions from the law also have come from companies that cite special circumstances.

One of the only waivers issued so far in the state went to Kodak Co. in Rochester, allowing workers to smoke in designated indoor smoking rooms.

The company argued that, if forced outside, smokers endanger themselves and others because of the proximity of chemical storage drums. In return for the three-year exemption, Kodak agreed to reduce the number of its indoor smoking rooms and attempt to eliminate indoor smoking within three years.

Western Regional Off Track Betting Corp. applied for waivers in the 17 counties where its 43 facilities are located. The corporation estimates that it has spent as much as $4 million installing specially ventilated rooms for smokers.

"It sure makes it easier on our employees and those customers that don't smoke, but with a total ban, we can't accommodate customers who do smoke, and they're not coming in any more," said spokesman Ed Carney.

Gathering momentum

In Erie County, the state ban replaced an existing smoking ordinance that restricted smoking to certain areas of restaurants and allowed smoking in bars. Other counties had less-stringent regulations.

The new, stronger measures crack down on smoking in virtually every indoor place, including designated company smoking rooms and even certain outdoor spots.

Smoking bans gathered momentum this year as New York joined California, Delaware and Florida in expanding the prohibition on smoking in the workplace to restaurants and bars. Clean indoor air bills were introduced in at least 35 states this year, according to the Pew Center on the States.

Although it's a state law, enforcement of the New York measure falls to local government in most cases, but the State Legislature did not provide guidelines to define financial hardship.

Like the state Health Department and other counties in New York, Erie County is waiting until there are more definitive criteria before acting on the waiver requests it has received.

"The goal, even with a waiver, is to ensure the protection of people exposed to secondhand smoke," Billittier said. "If we were to grant waivers to everybody, it would essentially negate the law."

In places such as Chautauqua County, where residents can easily drive across the border to Pennsylvania to smoke in a bar or restaurant, public health officials have come under pressure from local businesses. Only four waivers have been requested, but county officials say 58 others have requested applications.

"We're hearing from business owners and struggling with this issue of establishing criteria. One of the frustrations is that every county seems to be allowed to handle this as they see fit," said Steven Johnson, the county's director of environmental health.

Suit filed against ban

Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association in federal court in Syracuse seeks to nullify the smoking ban by arguing, among other things, that the state has no fair way to issue waivers to businesses.

The lawsuit is still pending, according to the association, a trade group that has had ties to the tobacco industry and a handful of bars around the state.

Even if businesses prove that they have suffered financial hardship and get approval to break out the ashtrays, anti-smoking advocates stress that those businesses must still make arrangements to protect nonsmokers and employees from secondhand smoke.

"A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that all they have to do is attest that they lost business. I think they will have to prove it," said Russell Sciandra, director of the Center for a Tobacco-Free New York.

"It's not as though a waiver allows smoking without a plan to protect nonsmokers. It will never be business as usual again," said K. Michael Cummings, director of the Tobacco Control Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Cummings and his colleagues have been monitoring the air quality at about 20 bars. He said he's pleased with the results.

"You see isolated cases of people smoking, and others have purposefully broken the law to make a point. But spot-checks show that businesses are complying with the ban," he said.

Under the new law, a county could fine bar and restaurant owners $1,000 per violation.

However, officials in area health departments have stressed that they do not intend to act like the smoking police. They have largely responded to complaints, not actively sought violators, and given the public time to get used to the stricter rules.

Erie County, for instance, has issued 97 letters so far to bars, restaurants, social clubs, businesses, churches and bowling alleys, advising the owners about the new state law. They include the Catholic Club of Cheektowaga, the Left Bank restaurant, Spot Coffee, Concord Lanes and Dottie's Pub, according to the Health Department. The Buffalo News also received a letter.

Despite at least one warning each from the Health Department, patrons were smoking inside Dottie's Pub on Seneca Street and inside Deubell's Southside Grill on Seneca Street on Wednesday afternoon. Although not a representative sample, there were patrons smoking or signs of smoking such as ashtrays at six of eight bars visited by The News on Wednesday afternoon and evening.

The owner of Deubell's, Tom Deubell, said he's enforcing the ban but occasionally he gets a customers who won't comply.

"You try your best to comply even though you know that by complying you're putting yourself out of business," he said.

The week after receiving the warning, the owner of Dottie's, Dottie Knapp, said she clamped down on smokers and saw her business fall by 40 percent.

"I bought this bar just a year ago. We're just establishing ourselves," Knapp said. "It's going to put me out of business."

The Post Standard - September 28, 2003
        State's smoking ban irks Libertarians
        By Erik Kriss

Libertarians are scouring the state collecting signatures from people who oppose the statewide smoking ban.

Party vice chairwoman Bonnie Scott said the effort is expected to last about six months, adding there's no target number of signatures.

The party, which seeks a repeal of the ban consistent with its views on individual liberty and limited government, plans on presenting the petitions to, as Scott put it, the "three men in Albany" who make the decisions - Gov. George Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.

Associated Press - September 26, 2003
        Butts-out groups face inquiry

ALBANY — The state’s Lobbying Commission has sent letters of inquiry to nine groups that fought against scaling back the statewide workplace smoking ban that went into effect in July, the commission’s executive director said Thursday.

David Grandeau said the commission wants to know whether the groups engaged in a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in support of the smoking ban as they said they would. If so, they may have violated state law by not registering as lobbyists with the commission and not reporting their expenditures if they spent more than $2,000 trying to influence the passage or defeat of legislation.

Grandeau said the groups have 15 days to respond to the commission’s inquiry from the time they receive the letters asking for more information about their activities. A more in-depth investigation might ensue, depending on what the groups say, Grandeau said.

“A goodly number will be canceled at the staff level and not get to the investigation stage,” Grandeau said.

Groups being contacted are the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition, the National Center for Tobacco Free Kids and the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island.

Grandeau said the commission acted after receiving information from New York Post reporters about the purported plans to spend millions defending the smoking ban, which the Legislature and Gov. George Pataki approved in March. Grandeau said some of the best information it gets about possible violations of the lobbying law comes from the media or from rival groups of alleged wrongdoers.

“A lot of people take the opportunity to provide us information about their competition, or at least of what they perceive as information of their competition doing this,” Grandeau said.

Russ Sciandra, head of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York, said the members of the groups who got letters from the commission knew the difference between lobbying and doing promotion and publicity to inform New Yorkers about the ban.

Sciandra, who was one of the organizers of the pro-smoking ban effort, said that in some cases the groups got grants from the state Health Department to publicize the ban.

“Promoting compliance with the law is not lobbying,” Sciandra said.

Grandeau countered, “It doesn’t matter where the money came from. Our test is the same no matter where it comes from — are you spending more than $2,000 on lobbying activity?”

Sciandra is a registered lobbyist in Albany on behalf of the American Cancer Society.

Buffalo News - September 26, 2003
        Waivers from smoking ban await state criteria
        By Thomas J. Prohaska

LOCKPORT - Niagara County business owners hoping for waivers from the state's workplace smoking ban needn't hold their breath.

The Board of Health learned Thursday that the state still has not issued firm criteria for waivers.

"There may not be anything coming out to allow a waiver for six months," said Assistant County Attorney J. Michael Fitzgerald.

The law that took effect July 24 bars smoking in most indoor places, but allows businesses to apply for waivers. But according to Fitzgerald, "The waiver provision doesn't say anything."

Environmental Health Director James J. Devald said the state Association of Public Health Officials is working on the criteria. So far, 14 written requests for waivers have been received, and Devald said another 15 businesses have told the Health Department informally that they might apply. "The only way a waiver would be given is because of financial hardship, but the proof has to be there," said Public Health Director Paulette M. Kline.

"Every bar, restaurant and bingo hall in the county could say their business is down, but that's not how it's set up," Fitzgerald said.

He said the businesses would have to show the county financial details dating back further than July 24.

"They have to show us how they're going to comply with the intent of the law, which is to eliminate secondhand smoke from the employee under the Clean Air Act," Fitzgerald said.

Kline said the Health Department is notifying businesses applying for waivers that it is waiting for state criteria to be established.

Still in question is who would review the waiver requests. Kline said the Board of Health is supposed to do it.

Board President John Gotowko said he wants the board's Legislative Committee to handle the work, not the whole board.

The county Health Department is responsible for enforcing the law, but Devald said no fines have been imposed.

He said the department has checked complaints in about 50 establishments, and where evidence of smoking was found, the inspector issued a warning and left literature about the law.

"I think we're almost ready to go to the next step," Devald said.

Chicago Tribune - September 25, 2003
        N.Y. smoking prohibition spurs lawbreakers, lawsuit
        By Ron DePasquale

DUNKIRK, N.Y. -- In this lakefront city, once a humming industrial center now plagued by factory closures, the unemployed who head to the bars to drown their sorrows must do so now without a cigarette.

Two cousins--one who smokes, the other who never has--were drinking one night in a Central Avenue bar called Tito's. They were the only patrons there.

"You really think anyone's going to quit smoking because of a law?" asks Carlos Gonzalez, 45, a janitor who smokes only when he drinks.

He asks the bartender if she has heard about a lawsuit filed against the state's Clean Indoor Air Act, the nation's toughest smoking ban alongside Delaware's. The law took effect July 24, and makes no exceptions for smoking in any workplace.

"Life is good," said Manuel Gonzalez, 48, a machinist. "People say it's their right. They don't understand what their rights are. You don't have the right to inflict harm on others. There is no right to smoke. It's dangerous."

Outside the bar, cigarette butts litter the sidewalk, a refuge for bar patrons who want to smoke. With Lake Erie and its brutal winter winds only a block away, there may be few butts on the sidewalk in a couple of months.

The 24-year-old bartender, Mariah MacPherson, is a non-smoker who started working at Tito's this year and would be the first to lose her job if the bar keeps losing money because of customers staying away. She said the law is undemocratic.

"We should have had the option to vote it down, and if we didn't have the option to vote it down, they should have given the owners the option to go smoke-free," MacPherson said. "It's hard because they lose money."

Before the ban, places such as neighboring Erie County, which includes Buffalo, gave bar and restaurant owners the choice of installing expensive ventilation and filtration systems or banning smoking.

Mark Croce, who owns a restaurant, a bar-restaurant and a nightclub in downtown Buffalo, says he is neutral about the ban.

"But they should've made some exception for those places that undertook the great expense to allow smoking," Croce said. "They designed around the old ruling, and there's no special compensation for those people."

Big victory in New York

Health advocates are celebrating the New York ban as one of their biggest victories yet in their fight against second-hand smoke, which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blames for 38,000 deaths a year. And they point to the state's high tobacco taxes and falling smoking rates as evidence that the harder it is to smoke, the less people will do it.

To some businesses, the ban inspires complaints and contempt. Restaurants say they are losing money because of customers stepping outside for an after-dinner smoke but not returning to pay the bill. One upstate bar owner is flouting the law by having "cigarette girls" pass out free smokes.

Supporters say the law allows everyone to compete on a "level playing field." But critics call that a fantasy because the prohibition is being enforced differently in the state's 62 counties.

At a recent meeting of about two dozen members of the Madison County Restaurant and Tavern Owners in central New York, only a handful of owners reported they had completely ended smoking in their establishments, said Brad Dixon, chairman of the group and owner of the Solsville Hotel.

Dixon said after one fine, he is "trying to go legit" but notes losing money to other bars, including one right across the street, that still allow smoking inside. Business on the weekends has been cut in half, he said.

"It's unfair," Dixon said. "They're enforcing it on a complaint basis only at the health department, and they have only four employees. I'm not going turn in the guy across the street because that's not my style and it's not my job."

Conversely, a health official said the process has been "surprisingly smooth." Fines, which can total thousands of dollars, get the message across quickly, said Dr. Michael Caldwell, president of the New York State Association of Public Health Officials and health commissioner of Dutchess County in the Hudson Valley area.

"We go in and educate them about the law, and after a day or two if they're still permitting smoking, we make it clear to them that we're not kidding, and we start fining," he said.

Smoking ban challenged

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Owners filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction, claiming that the law is vague and gives the federal power of regulating workplace safety to the state. A U.S. judge in Syracuse heard arguments Sept. 9 and is expected to announce a decision by Tuesday.

California was the first state to ban smoking in public places, though it permits people to light up at a bar with fewer than five employees. Smoking in the United States has been declining, and communities, from Dallas to Lexington, Ky., have banned public smoking. In Chicago, a proposal to ban smoking has been put before the City Council.

Others plan or have joined the bandwagon. Connecticut will prohibit smoking in restaurants in November and in bars in April. Vermont bans smoking at establishments where more money is made from drinking than eating. Delaware has a comprehensive ban, while Florida began banning smoking in restaurants last month. Maine, which bans smoking in restaurants, will ban it in bars starting in January.

Utica Observer Dispatch - September 24, 2003
        Smoking ban alters routines
        Law hurting businesses, owners say
        By Elizabeth Cooper

Nancy Morgan has been going to The Devereux in Utica for lunch every day for years, enjoying a leisurely lunch and savoring a cigarette.

But the statewide smoking ban has ended her long-standing tradition.

"Since the new law came into effect, I buy lunch and go outside or else I pack a lunch," Morgan said.

The smoking ban enacted July 24 is designed to protect bar and restaurant employees from the health hazards associated with inhaling second-hand smoke. Smoking is no longer allowed in any place of employment, including bars and restaurants.

New patterns

Morgan is not the only Devereux customer to alter her lunch patterns to accommodate a smoking habit. The Devereux used to be full at midday, she said. But Tuesday, only a few tables were occupied.

"Between 85 and 90 percent of people who came in for lunch smoked," said Devereux manager James Fierro, who estimated overall profits for the restaurant and bar are down 50 percent.

It appears most establishments are honoring the ban, despite the pinch it causes, Oneida County health officials said.

Businesses hurting

In the meantime, said owners and employees of bars and restaurants, the ban is hurting business.

Bernadette Inserra -- a bartender at Kelly O'Neill's in Utica who also waitresses at the Devereux -- said Kelly O'Neill's profits are down about 20 percent. Robert Finster, manager at 257 Steakhouse and Saloon of Utica, said sales in the bar room of his establishment are down about a third.

Candie Mitchell, taking a cigarette break outside the county office building, said she is one of those smokers who has altered her lifestyle because of the ban.

"I don't go out as much," Mitchell said as she inhaled deeply on a cigarette. "Instead of going out for dinner, my friends and I buy pizza and go to one of our houses. It's just not convenient to go to dinner and then go outside to smoke."

Her friend Candace Linder agreed.

"It's like you're not able to go where you want," she said. "It's making me avoid places."

Even when smokers do venture into the bars, they don't seem to drink as much, Kelly O'Neill's Inserra said.

"They can't take their drink outside, so they finish their drink, go out, have a cigarette, come back in have another drink," she said. "Before they'd smoke and drink at the same time, so they'd drink more."

Restaurants and bars statewide are in the same boat, according to the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association.

"It's pretty extreme," said Scott Wexler, the association's executive director, adding that hundreds of bar and restaurant owners had called with the same woeful tale. "It varies between 20 and 40 percent off."

He said though restaurant tabs are up in some cases, they don't compensate for losses in bar sales. And establishments that don't serve food are suffering even more.

Employees are being hurt as much as management.

"This is less than a minimum wage job," Fierro said of his wait positions. "If I don't have business, they're not making tips."

He said if things continue as they are, he may have to lay off people.

Tom Cavallo's Restaurant and Banquet Facility is one of the few places that reports breaking even. And management attributes that to Cavallo's cigar bar.

Manager Noelle Cavallo said the main bar, where no smoking is allowed, is down about 15 percent, but the cigar bar's increased revenue is helping pick up the slack.

"Overall, we're doing OK," she said. "We're not hurting like everyone else."

Only cigar bars opened before Jan. 1, 2003, are allowed to operate under the law.

The Post Standard - September 24, 2003
        The Empire strikes out
        By Tim Knauss

Three weeks after its Rochester location folded, Empire Brewing Co. on Tuesday abruptly closed its original and last remaining brewpub, in Syracuse's Armory Square.

The closing surprised customers, employees and business associates.

The 9-year-old brewery/restaurant had won national awards for its beers and helped popularize Armory Square as an entertainment district.

"I can't believe the Empire's closed," lawyer Steve Donato said, arriving for a noon lunch only to find the doors locked. "This is one of my all-time favorite places."

Waitress Julie Rudich, who had worked at Empire since February, got a phone call Tuesday telling her she was out of a job.

"No warning," Rudich said. "None at all."

The brewpub at 120 Walton St. employed about 30 people.

Owner David Katleski, of Syracuse, who started Empire Brewing in 1994 with partner Michael Hodgdon, said they decided just Monday to shut down, after meeting with financial advisers.

Katleski cited a downturn in sales and other factors as reasons for closing the 120-seat facility.

There is increased competition in Armory Square, which is beginning to suffer from an "oversaturation" of bars, Katleski said. The state smoking ban also appeared to reduce traffic, especially late at night.

And Empire Brewing faced rising costs, including costs related to the basement restaurant's susceptibility to flooding, he said.

Bottom line: "The market conditions have changed considerably over the last couple of years, and the Empire's Syracuse location is no longer a profitable enterprise," Katleski said.

Albany Times Union - September 23, 2003
        Anti-smoking campaign in search of new success
        Albany-- Activists target tobacco use at carnivals and in cars with children
        By Erin Duggan

Two months after New York outlawed smoking in bars and restaurants, state lawmakers are being asked to consider broadening the ban to cover on-duty carnival workers and adults riding in cars with children.

Several bills extending the ban into private cars, public beaches and even amusement parks remain active in the Legislature, each identifying new places and reasons to prohibit smoking. Supporters of the various bills say they will decrease littering and secondhand smoke.

Opponents say each bill is another attempt by government to snuff out cigarettes.

"It's about reaching a smoke-free society," said Audrey Silk, founder of New York City's Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment.

If Silk and other smokers seem to be looking hard for conspiracy, some lawmakers are making the search easy.

A bill that would ban smoking at amusement parks, carnivals and fairs singles out workers as people who have "very close contact with young and impressionable children," although the children's parents and other adults can still smoke on the premises. The bill concludes that carnival workers who smoke "set a bad example for children."

Another measure would ban smoking in public parks and beaches as a way to control litter, but cigarettes are the only item banned.

Casinos could be off-limits for smoking, too, under a bill that would require any Indian Nation with a current or pending gaming compact with the state to abide by the state's Clean Indoor Air Act, forcing all smoking to move outside.

And opponents of a proposal to ban smoking in private cars carrying passengers younger than age 16 say they fear the bill is a step closer to banning smoking in private homes.

Assemblyman Pete Grannis, D-Manhattan, a sponsor of several anti-smoking bills, said there is no intent to outlaw cigarette use in private homes.

"The sanctity of the home, no one is talking about invading whatsoever," Grannis said.

Grannis said the idea behind most of the anti-smoking legislation is to keep cigarettes in places that don't affect nonsmokers' health.

Most of the bills have been re-introduced each year for several years, but both sides of the smoking debate say the smoking ban that went into effect on July 24 lends momentum to the anti-smoking agenda -- so much so that previously unpopular bills might get consideration.

Grannis and others say the proposal to ban smoking in more places will help protect children from cigarette butts, being exposed to smoking or even smoke itself.

"How many parents want their children to pick up a cigarette because smokers treat beaches, parks and public roadways as their ashtrays?" said Grannis.

While there may be more interest in legislation to limit smoking in the wake of the ban on lighting up in bars and restaurants, Grannis said passage is no sure bet given opposition from business interests and smokers.

"It's a handful of disgruntled smokers who have been unable to avoid their addiction who are screaming the loudest," he said. "I think there is strong support for these laws."

But even some health groups say the pending bills would go too far.

Russell Sciandra, of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York, said health groups have never endorsed the bill to ban smoking in cars when children are present. Instead, he said, they want to teach parents about the risks of smoking around children.

"We feel that we can do a lot more to educate people about the dangers of secondhand smoke, but we don't think legislation is called for," he said. "That doesn't mean we don't think it's a serious problem. It is, but the answer isn't always to pass a law."

CNS News - September 22, 2003
        NY Mulls Extending Smoking Ban to Cars as Protests Mount
        By Steve Brown

New York lawmakers are considering extending the state smoking ban to private automobiles even though smokers and bar and restaurant owners recently took to the streets to demonstrate against it.

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association (ESRTA) organized the statewide protest against the ban, which outlaws smoking in all workplaces, including bars, restaurants and bowling alleys.

People in such western New York localities as Kenmore, Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda participated in the Sept. 15 protest, called "Taking It to the Streets." The following day saw placard-bearing demonstrators line up outside the state legislative building in Albany against the law, which took effect March 30.

"I think we're winning the battle of the press and public opinion," Scott Wexler, ESRTA executive director, told CNSNews.com. "Watching the news clips, both electronic and print, we seem to be getting our message across. I think they're presenting our message as a more credible message than our adversaries."

Speaking to the Buffalo News last week, Patrick Hoak, president of the New York Innkeepers Association, said the law caused five western New York restaurants to shut down completely and estimated a 20 to 60 percent loss in business among those remaining open.

According to a New York Nightlife Association (NYNA) poll taken prior to the law going into effect, 21 percent of club and bar patrons said they would spend less time there if smoking were banned. Nine percent said they would cut off all visits to bars and clubs affected by the ban.

"This ban is the first step in the death of nightlife entrepreneurship," David Rabin, NYNA president, told the New York Post. "Why don't we just change our name to Cleveland and call it a day?"

Aside from grassroots protests and letter-writing campaigns to state lawmakers, Wexler said the ESRTA had filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the law in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. Hearings were conducted Sept. 9, and Wexler said a decision was expected next week.

"I don't think we're going to get the preliminary injunction, although I think we have a very strong case on the merits," Wexler said.

Wexler said the ESRTA is hearing from its members that overall business is down an estimated 20 to 40 percent since the law took effect.

"Heck, a whole bunch of places aren't following the law," Wexler added. "They're not going to have economic losses if they're not following the law."

City officials said health inspectors have written 524 tickets for smoking ban violations as of Sept. 16. Thirty restaurants and bars have been ticketed more than once, according to Nancy Miller, New York Health Department assistant commissioner for tobacco control.

The New York Times Monday included a feature on drug dealers turned contraband tobacco dealers on the city streets in the wake of the ban. According to the article, former marijuana pushers make between $100 and $150 per day selling Marlboros and Newports in Harlem.

"A lot of people who were selling pot or heroin are now selling cigarettes. You can make the same amount of money, and you don't get locked away as long," an unidentified 25-year-old was quoted as saying in the Times .

Wexler said he was not surprised.

"Small businesses predicted this would happen," Wexler said. "It's a similar pattern to what we're finding with people finding a way to smoke. There was an article in the paper last week about an apartment in Brooklyn that had opened up as a quasi-illegal bar. There was another article last week in the Hudson Valley News about private clubs, fraternal organizations, Veterans of Foreign War posts and American Legion posts that were allowing smoking."

It all goes to show that people will find a way to get around a law they consider onerous, Wexler explained.

Still, lawmakers show no sign of backing off or weakening the ban.

"There has been no movement whatsoever," Wexler said.

Pending bills introduced this year in the state legislature include one banning smoking in the privacy of a person's own car, leading smoking advocates to believe a complete ban on smoking is on the way.

However, lawmakers claim the intent is to protect children by getting businesses to cut down on pollution.

"With concern for public health, I would be pleased (to ban all smoking), but that's not what we're doing," State Assemblyman Peter Grannis (D-Manhattan), the bill's sponsor, told the New York Post.

Supporters of the ban said they were skeptical about claims that the smoking ban has hurt businesses in the state.

"While there have been some anecdotal reports of some establishments losing business, the data show that the city bar and restaurant industry actually grew in the first three months of the ban," Miller said at a hearing at Pace University last week.

NYNA attorney Rob Bookman disputed Miller's data, saying that statistics point to a loss of jobs as a result of the smoking ban. Vincent Fyfe, United Food Commercial Workers Union chief, said his members estimated a 20 to 30 percent drop in liquor sales.

Michelle Dell, owner of the Hogs and Heifers bar in New York City, said the ban had "devastated" her business at the hearing.

"I may have to lay off workers soon. We need help before it's too late," Dell said.

Post-Standard - September 21, 2003
        Onondaga Nation threatens I-81 toll if state orders taxes
        By Mike McAndrew

Native American nations across New York are gearing up to protest the state's latest effort to collect millions of dollars in taxes on cigarettes and gasoline sold to non-natives on Indian territories.

The Onondaga Nation will never collect a tax on cigarettes for New York, nation lawyer Joe Heath said, but it is willing to negotiate to resolve some of the state's concerns about the regulation of Native American businesses.

If the state tries to force the Onondaga Nation to collect taxes on the cigarettes the nation sells, Onondaga Chief Virgil Thomas said, the Onondagas will build a toll booth on Interstate 81 and charge a fee for those who cross their territory.

"If we can build this," he said, pointing to the nation's state-of-the-art lacrosse and hockey arena on Route 11, "we can build a toll booth."

The state Tax Department issued new proposed regulations concerning the collection of taxes on Indian nations Sept. 12. But leaders of the six Indian nations that make up the Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee, maintain that the Iroquois treaties with New York bar the state from imposing taxes on Indian land.

In the past week, leaders of the Oneida Indian Nation, Cayuga Indian Nation, Seneca Nation of Indians, Tuscarora Nation, Tonawanda Band of Senecas, and St. Regis Mohawks have vowed to resist any effort by the state to collect taxes on sales on their lands.

"This is not going to get resolved," said John Kane, a Mohawk manager at Ross John Enterprises, which owns a Holiday Inn and four cigarette and gasoline shops on the Seneca Nation's territories in western New York. "The state is going to back down again."

Such vows raise images of 1997 - the last time the state attempted to force the collection of taxes in Indian nations. That attempt spurred demonstrations, roadblocks and other incidents at Indian territories across the state. The state abandoned the effort.

The new state regulations would require businesses on Indian territories to purchase cigarettes and motor fuel from wholesalers. The state would charge the wholesalers the $15-per-carton excise tax on cigarettes. The wholesalers would pass the state excise taxes on to the Indian businesses.

The Indian vendors would be expected to pass the cost on to non-Indian customers. Native American consumers would receive state-issued coupons so they could buy cigarettes from businesses on Indian lands and avoid paying the $15 per carton excise tax.

The state said it would also require non-Indians who buy cigarettes and other items from Indians on reservations to pay the state and local sales taxes, which range up to 7.25 percent. Consumers would not pay the sales tax at the register, but through a new line on their state income tax returns.

The state could prosecute anyone who fails to pay the sales tax on their income tax return.

Native American businesses are also expected under the proposal to pass on to non-native customers the 36.8 cents per gallon state taxes on gasoline, based on a $1.85 per gallon price.

The tax department estimated that the new regulations would help the state collect an extra $20 million in the state fiscal year that ends March 31 and $64.5 million in the following year.

New York lost about $500 million in 2001 and as much as $895 million in 2002 by failing to collect taxes on tobacco products sold by Native American businesses, over the Internet, and by bootleggers, according to a study paid for in 2002 by the FACT Alliance for the Fair Application of Cigarette Taxes.

Doug George-Kanentiio, a Mohawk writer who supports the traditional Iroquois chiefs, said traditional Iroquois are worried that the state will try to link the gas and cigarette taxes to negotiations over Indian casinos and land claims.

"The state will say at some point of the negotiations that they will withhold the expansion of casino gambling until the Indian nations comply with the tax regulations. That's what's going to happen," he said.

Meanwhile, non-Indian convenience store owners are unhappy that the state has allowed Indian businesses to have an unfair competitive advantage because of the tax issue.

Because of the price differences, there's been a huge shift of customers away from the tax-paying convenience stores to unlicensed, unregulated tax-free Native American stores selling cigarettes and gas, said James Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, which represents 1,800 stores.

Taxes vs. sovereignty: On this issue, economics butts up against sovereignty claims.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1994 ruled that New York could collect taxes on cigarette and gas sold to non-Native Americans by businesses on Indian territories.

In 1996, Pataki announced plans to force businesses on Indian territories to collect and remit to the state taxes on gas and cigarettes sales to non-natives.

In 1997, traditional chiefs of the Onondaga, Tuscarora, Mohawk and Seneca nations negotiated with Pataki an alternative deal that would allow businesses on Indian territories to avoid collecting state taxes if the businesses were licensed by tribal governments, paid a fee to the tribal governments, and agreed to a minimum price system for the gas and cigarettes they sold.

The minimum prices and fee were designed to keep prices for cigarettes and gas at the Native stores on par with prices at other stores in New York. The Indian nations were to use the licensing fees to fund social programs on their territories.

But the deal was denounced by independent Native American business owners and their supporters, who claimed it violated Indian sovereignty.

While refusing to pay taxes to New York, independent native business owners were also opposed to paying licensing fees to their own tribal governments.

"We have free enterprise here in the Seneca Nation," Kane said.

In 1997, supporters of the Native American business owners briefly blocked traffic on Interstate 81 on the Onondaga territory, shut down a 40-mile stretch of highway on the Senecas' Allegany reservation, and closed the state Thruway for about 45 minutes on the Senecas' Cattaraugus reservation.

After Pataki abruptly abandoned the commerce agreement, suspicious fires damaged houses owned by traditional Onondaga Chief Ollie Gibson and Tuscarora Chief Leo Henry.

The new initiative: Despite ongoing complaints from off-reservation convenience store owners, the state opted not to push for a resolution of the sales tax issue with the Native American businesses until this year.

In May, Pataki announced a tentative land claim settlement with the St. Regis Tribal Council - the elected Mohawk government at Akewesasne in northern New York - that also would allow the Mohawks to open a casino in the Catskills and to be free of state taxes on Mohawk sales of cigarettes and gas to non-natives.

The newly elected Mohawk tribal council has since rejected that agreement with Pataki.

In passing its own state budget in May, the legislature mandated that the Pataki administration begin taxing the sales of cigarettes and gas to non-native customers by businesses located on Indian territories, claiming that the state could collect $165 million in revenue.

Pataki criticized the legislature, saying that such action would have "devastating consequences for the state's relationship with Native Americans" and insisted the issue should be resolved through government-to-government negotiations with the Indian nations.

Last week, Pataki's state tax department issued its new proposed tax regulations, which are scheduled to become effective Dec. 1 unless the tribal governments reach alternative agreements with the state.

"These regulations were mandated by the legislature over the governor's veto. The tax department must follow the law," said Tom Bergin, a spokesman for the tax department.

Heath, who represents the Onondaga Nation, the Tonawanda Band of Senecas and the Tuscarora Nation, met Wednesday in Albany with two members of Pataki's staff to learn about the proposed regulations and to open the door for negotiations on an alternative commerce agreement.

The 1997 deal that Pataki and the traditional chiefs negotiated could be used as a starting point for a new round of negotiations, Heath said.

Reviving the 1997 commerce agreement - which would mean the traditional chiefs would regulate businesses on Indian territories - is one way to avoid the state imposing taxes on Dec. 1, said George-Kanentiio.

Heath said no one knows if the tax department's initiative will prompt the kinds of demonstrations and violence that occurred in 1997.

"Will the fires start up again? Who knows," Heath said. "I don't want to predict there will be no protests."

The atmosphere is different than it was in 1997 at Onondaga because the people of the Onondaga Nation forced the privately owned cigarette and gas businesses to shut down and the nation now runs the only cigarette business on the territory.

The business climate is different at the Mohawk, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations.

There, businesses that are not licensed by the Native American governments and contribute no revenue to the governments sell tax-free gas and cigarettes.

Native Americans will block the highways if the state tries to tax the reservation businesses, predicted Kane, a Mohawk who in 1990 was convicted of conspiring to torch the Oneida Nation's bingo hall.

"You can't shut down people's livelihood and not expect a fairly tumultuous response," Kane said.

Associated Press - September 17, 2003
        Rudy sez Bloomy blew it on city's total smoking ban

'Some people want to make the choice of being able to have a cigar or a pipe or a cigarette after dinner, and they should be provided with an opportunity to do that'

DUBLIN, Ireland — Ireland should not follow New York’s lead and ban smoking in all workplaces, Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday.

The former New York mayor said the recent decision of his successor, Michael Bloomberg, to prohibit smoking in restaurants and bars wasn’t fair to smokers.

Smoking was banned in most indoor workplaces in New York, including large restaurants, in 1995, when Guiliani was still in power. The new ban extending the rules to smaller restaurants and bars took effect in March.

Ireland has pledged to follow suit in January — a divisive move in a country where pubs remain the hub of communities, and 30 percent of people smoke.

Giuliani, who is in Ireland to address business leaders, told state broadcaster RTE it made more sense to restrict smoking to certain areas, as was the case in smaller restaurants and bars in New York before the new ban.

“Some people want to make the choice of being able to have a cigar or a pipe or a cigarette after dinner, and they should be provided with an opportunity to do that,” he said.

Giuliani added that New York’s ban meant more sidewalks outside food and drinking establishments were congested with smokers. “There’s no action without an equal and opposite reaction,” he said.

Guiliani has been known to smoke a cigar now and then but does not have a reputation as a regular smoker.

Times Union - September 17, 2003
        Burning issue splits the Capitol
        By Erin Duggan

Albany-- As bar owners rally for change, Pataki says ban could be softened while Bruno, Silver stand firm

Gov. George Pataki said Tuesday he would consider amending New York's sweeping indoor smoking ban if the state Legislature is willing, but top lawmakers appeared to stand by the restrictions even amid the threat of political fallout next year.
Hundreds of bar and restaurant owners rallied Tuesday at the Capitol to lobby lawmakers to soften the statewide ban that took smoking out of bars and restaurants. Waving red and white placards that called on lawmakers to "Can the Ban," members of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association vowed to turn the 7-week-old law into an election issue if the law isn't changed.

Bar owners want smoking to be allowed in bars that install powerful air filters, and said they will take their agenda to the polls. There were calls from the crowd to vote Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, out of office for his strong support of the law, and praise for Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, who said earlier this month his party might pull its endorsements of lawmakers who supported it.

While both Bruno and a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said their support hasn't changed, Pataki said he would consider any amendments the Legislature agrees upon.

"If the Legislature comes up with something they find acceptable, we'll take a look," he said. "I'm not ruling it out."

In separate events around the Capitol as the state Senate went back into session to clean up some budget measures and to pass environmental legislation, proponents of both sides of the smoking ban issue claimed their position has growing support since the law went into effect. Polls commissioned by the two sides yielded widely varying results backing their position for or against the law.

Supporters of the Clean Indoor Air Law vowed in their own news conference to keep the law on the books as written.

"If the Legislature thinks they're hearing a lot of complaints now, they're going to hear a heck of a lot more if they tamper with the law," said Russell Sciandra, of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York.

Sciandra, standing next to a table with about 25,000 thank-you cards addressed from ban supporters to Pataki, said the ban is working as planned.

"In every type of venue, the incidents of smoking decreased precipitously since the law took effect," he said.

Anti-smoking volunteers canvassed the state, recording smoking in bars before and one month after the ban took effect. They found at least one person smoking in 27 of 100 bars a month after the ban, and smoking in 11 percent of restaurants and four percent of bowling facilities.

"It shows New York is on its way to full implementation," Sciandra said.

But owner after owner stood up at a rally Tuesday in the Legislative Office Building and said compliance with the ban was putting a measurable financial strain on their businesses. Although the law has a clause providing waivers for businesses that can show economic hardship, Scott Wexler, executive director for the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, said local health departments are not granting them.

"Our concerns were ignored by the Legislature," Wexler said, standing before approximately 200 supporters. Business owners, he said, "will tell you, our fears have become reality."

Bar and restaurant owners cited a drop in sales of alcohol -- in some cases as much as 40 percent -- and an increase in litter, noise and security problems caused by people being forced outdoors since the ban's enactment.

When New York City banned smoking earlier this year, many bar owners pulled the plugs on their Quick Draw machines to send an expensive message that bars funnel millions of dollars in gambling revenue back to the state.

There are no plans to do that again, Wexler said, since the state is already losing Quick Draw money because of the dip in bar business. But the New York Lottery challenged Wexler's statement, and said Quick Draw revenue is actually up this year, despite the smoking ban.

Only one week in the last 10 has totaled fewer Quick Draw dollars than last year, and that was the week of the August blackout, said Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman.

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said he hopes the Legislature takes up the smoking issue when they come back to the Capitol.

"It's onerous," Jennings, a Democrat, said Tuesday at an unrelated event with the governor. "It threatens the success of a lot of the places we have in the city. The last thing we need are more boarded-up buildings -- and these are long-established businesses."

Assemblyman Robert Prentiss, R-Colonie, said he's urging his colleagues to reconsider the ban. Prentiss' father was a chain smoker who died of emphysema, which inspired the lawmaker to quit cold turkey.

"I realized that smoking hurts my health, but that was my choice," Prentiss said. "Just as constituents have a choice whether to smoke or not, business owners on their private property should have a choice whether to ban smoking or not."

Buffalo News - September 17, 2003
        Proponents, foes spar over smoking ban
        By Tom Precious

ALBANY - A Roswell Park Cancer Institute study concludes that airborne pollutants in bars and restaurants have fallen dramatically since the state's smoking ban took effect, while a trade group says the law has contributed to the closing of six bars in Western New York.

The dueling claims were brought to the State Capitol on Tuesday as health groups and bar and restaurant owners continued to wage their war over the law that, since July 24, has prohibited smoking in all workplaces across the state. Business groups had hoped the State Senate, which was in town for a one-day session, would consider weakening the law. But the Legislature's top Republican dismissed those calls and again praised the measure as a major public health victory.

The Roswell Park survey, which used a hand-held air monitor, took measurements in four bars, a restaurant, two bowling alleys and a pool hall before and after the law took effect. It showed airborne particulates in the facilities dropped an average of 84 percent from the first to the second measurement. Before the law took effect, stand-alone bars had airborne pollutant levels 14 times higher than those of bars that already had banned smoking, the survey found. In one facility, measured on the night the smoking law took effect, airborne particulate levels dropped by half after the law kicked in at midnight.

"The new law is working exactly as it was intended to," said Dr. Andrew Hyland, a Roswell Park epidemiologist who conducted the survey.

That smoke particles in bars have fallen is not surprising. But advocacy groups quickly hailed the research as evidence that the law already has made eating and drinking establishments healthier places for customers and workers. In a survey by the Center for a Tobacco Free New York, volunteers reported that, since July, the proportion of establishments where smoking was observed has dipped to 16 percent from 69 percent. Health groups said the level is acceptable for a new law.

But Patrick Hoak, president of the Innkeepers Association of Western New York, who joined 150 protesters at the Capitol Tuesday, said six bars had closed in the region in the seven weeks after the law took effect. Hoak, the supervisor of Hamburg where he also owns a restaurant and bar, declined to identify the establishments, but said the smoking law was the final straw for the shuttered businesses.

Hoak said his bar business has declined 37 percent since the law took effect, forcing him to lay off a bartender. The remaining bartenders, he said, have lost an average $40 in tips per shift. "What jobs do you have for them, New York State?" Hoak demanded.

Friday night bar business at his bar, he continued, has fallen by $400, with no pickup, as some health groups had predicted, in dining room business.

"It's a disgrace to see 70-year-olds out in your parking lot hiding like teenagers," he said of the law that has pushed smokers outdoors. "What an embarrassment this law is."

A group of bar owners from around the state has sued in federal court to overturn the law. If the lawsuit loses, Hoak described the outlook as "bleak."

But Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, a Brunswick Republican and chief State Senate backer of the smoking ban, said a hardship clause in the law permits businesses that can prove "true financial hardship" to allow smoking. Bar owners say no health department in the state would be willing to grant the waivers.

Press Republican - September 17, 2003
        Smoking ban sturdy
        Albany listening, but not acting, top lawmaker says
        By John Milgrim

ALBANY — Armed with tales of dramatic business losses, nearly 200 bar owners from across the state rallied in Albany Tuesday, hoping lawmakers would gut the state’s new smoking ban.

They ended up with one top lawmaker promising no changes to the law, and a new poll from smoking-ban advocates showing three-quarters of state residents favor the ban.

"We’re listening," Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno said of the rally later in the day. But, "we are not doing anything that is going to change the law. We don’t want to lose sight of why we did it in the first place."

The bar owners carried large red signs reading "Can the Ban." One carried a knockoff of the nation’s old "Don’t Tread On Me" flag. And all had stories of a significant loss in business since the law went into effect July 24.

Fran Walton, owner of the Wilderness Inn in Wilmington, said she’s seen a drop in customers and expects more when it’s too cold for smokers to just step outside for a puff.

"When it’s zero, come November, that’s when it’s going to be really tough," she said.

Smoking in businesses and virtually all public buildings, including bars, bowling alleys and pool halls, has been banned.

Hard-hit bar owners have held out some small hope in recent weeks because of a little-publicized provision in the law allowing waivers for businesses that could prove undue financial hardship. However, just one waiver has been issued, and most at the rally weren’t holding much hope for many more.

The rally was put together by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association and coincided with similar protests in other parts of the state. That group is suing in federal court to try to overturn the ban. Many of the bar owners said their businesses dropped between 30 and 50 percent.

Restaurant and Tavern Association President Scott Wexler said they want the law changed to allow smoking in bars with approved air-cleaning equipment.

"Don’t offer our industry false hope of gaining a waiver from the ban while our business losses mount. We need the legislature to fix the law," Wexler said.

Walton said the ban is just the latest in a trend of laws that hurt bar businesses, such as raising the drinking age and lowering the blood alcohol limit making driving a criminal act to .08 percent.

"What’s next?" she said.

Last week, Wexler’s group touted a separate poll showing most New Yorkers opposed the ban. Both sides of the issue accused the other of using questions in their polls to skew answers in their favor.

Anti-smoking advocates, meanwhile, decided Tuesday was the ideal time to show state government their appreciation.

Russell Sciandra, director of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York, said there’s been an average 84-percent decrease in indoor pollutants at bars and restaurants since the ban went into effect.

Sciandra was flanked by several dozen volunteers who helped usher in the ban across the state. They came to the capital with about 25,000 postcards thanking lawmakers for passing the law.

Plattsburgh’s Lelia Knight said she recently collected 300 signatures from Clinton and Franklin counties. She is coordinator for the Adirondacks Tobacco Free Network.

"If the legislature thinks they are hearing a lot of complaints now, they are going to hear a lot more if they try to tamper with the law," Sciandra said.

Associated Press - September 16, 2003
        No smoking ban changes are taken up by Senate
        By Joel Stashenko

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The state Senate's leadership stood by the provisions of New York state's nearly 2-month-old smoking ban in public workplaces Tuesday despite lobbying by bar owners and some Republican members for exemptions to the law.

Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who called his members to Albany Tuesday for a one-day session, said the issue to him has not changed since the Legislature voted in March to prohibit smoking in virtually all public buildings starting July 24. Smoking kills hundreds of thousands of Americans and costs the health care system billions of dollars, Bruno said.

"I am hearing from people everywhere I go who are smokers who are saying, `Thank you for that bill ... it was just a natural reaction to light up cigarette after cigarette while you're having a drink,"' Bruno said. "They're really saying it was the right thing to do because they want to stop smoking."

A few hours earlier, bar owners attending an Albany protest organized by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association said the smoking prohibition has cost members between 20 and 40 percent of their business since July 24.

Bruno said he was sympathetic to bar owners' complaints, but predicted that business would bounce back, as taverns in California reported theirs did after imposition of a similar ban. He also noted that New York bars and other businesses can apply for a waiver from health officials if complying with the law would cause them undue economic hardship _ a route the tavern association said Tuesday is fruitless because the waiver requests are all being denied.

Asked Tuesday about efforts to weaken the ban, Gov. George Pataki said he'd leave it up to the Legislature to decide what to do.

"If the Legislature comes up with something that they find acceptable, we'll take a look at it," said the Republican governor. "We're not ruling it out."

Captial News 9 - September 16, 2003
        Protestors say smoking ban is full of hot air

The smoking ban uproar is flaring up again as senators return to town.

State senators are coming back to Albany Tuesday for a one-day special session. They're expected to give final approval on an environmental cleanup bill and confirm some high-level Pataki nominees.

Outside the Capitol, protesters are planning to rally against the 2-month-old smoking ban. Area bars got into the act early Monday night, organizing protests outside places like Glenville's Flightline Pub.

Dolores Niedziejko said, "It should be up to the bar owner, not up to the government. They shouldn't be making our choices. I have lost a lot of business because of it, and so has everybody else."

Anti-smoking groups will hold a press conference in rebuttal to Tuesday's protests. Some republicans are lobbying to weaken the ban, but the Senate is not expected to take action on it today.

Buffalo News - September 16, 2003
        Rain dampens protest of smoking ban
        By Janice Habuda

Just a handful of smokers lit up outside a Town of Tonawanda sports bar Monday night, part of a statewide protest of New York's tough new smoking law.

The turnout appeared to give credibility to tavern and restaurant owners who say business is suffering because of the law, which took effect July 24. The legislation essentially banned smoking in most public places.

"It's killing our business; it's killing everybody's business," said Sheila Holler, bar manager at St. James Place on Military Road.

Smokers are directed to one half of a covered patio. Despite Monday Night Football on television, the cool, rainy weather had dampened business even further.

"Once it gets cold they're not going to come around," Holler said. "Last week, it was really nice out and we had a decent crowd."

Mike, a Buffalo resident, was among those having a smoke.

"I like to come watch a sporting event, sit at the bar, have a cigarette . . . and relax," he said.

"We're all right now," he said. However, "What are we going to do when the weather breaks?"

The protest in Town of Tonawanda, as well as others in Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda, was for those unable to attend this morning's protest in Albany. Bar and restaurant owners are pushing for an amendment that would allow smoking if there is an air purification system in the bar.

Last week, the state Conservative Party stepped up efforts to get senators to ease up on the ban. In an interview with The Buffalo News last week, state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said: "They're driving jobs out of New York and hurting the economy. They've certainly (taken) away the freedom from an awful lot of people in their quest."

The American Heart Association stands by the new law.

In a statement issued Monday, it said: "This is a public health issue. The public law in effect is designed to reduce risk or disability and death from exposure to second smoke (sic). One of the major risk factors of heart disease is smoking and second hand smoke. Smoking is toxic."

NY Newsday - September 16, 2003
        Another Victim of 'Reform'
        By Dennis Duggan

There wasn't a soul sitting at the bar in P.J. Horgan's yesterday, which its owners bill as "Queens' most authentic Irish pub."

It is a scene all to familiar to many angry pub owners, and it took shape this spring when the City Council bowed to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's insistence on a smoking ban.

The Sunnyside bar-restaurant is on Queens Boulevard at 42nd Street and is owned by John Murphy, 37, who bought out Joe Gillespie's interest two weeks ago.

"We sat down one night and talked about what we were going to do to sell the place or for one of us to buy the other out," Murphy says. "Business was so bad, it wasn't enough for the two of us to earn a living.

"Joe put his heart and soul into it during the 18 years he was here, and it knocked the wind out of him to agree to sell."

There has been a bar on this corner of a solid neighborhood for over 70 years. There are places like it all over the city, where retirees come in the morning for a pint of beer, to read the papers or to watch TV and talk to the bartender.

But the ban has changed all that. And Murphy blames Bloomberg, who, he says, is "out of touch with the working class in this city."

"It is selective discrimination," Murphy says. "The mayor seems to have it in for people like me. There's even talk that because of the noise problem he created by forcing people to smoke on the sidewalk outside the bar, that he is going to ask that bars close at 2 a.m."

Now, there is no question that smoking is not good for your health. It's the reason I stopped smoking two decades ago.

But it appears that we have a mayor who appears to be a secular guy with a sophisticated world outlook but who also happens to have a reformer streak inside of him and wants to force New Yorkers to bend to his will.

"He doesn't live in the real world," says Gillespie, who adds he has no idea what he is going to do now that he no longer runs the bar. "Look at the devastation he has caused."

The tobacco wars are heating up again. There will be a hearing conducted by Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields at Pace University this morning to assess the impact of the ban. And Michael Martin, Ireland's health minister, is in town to talk to Bloomberg about the smoking ban. Martin will also travel to Washington to talk with federal Health Secretary Tommy Thompson.

Martin is as gung-ho as Bloomberg to see to it that an even more draconian smoking ban set to begin in Ireland next year is a success even though the men and women who run the country's hospitality industry says that, based on what has happened in New York, business could fall by 30 percent.

Ask John Fitzpatrick, owner of Fitzpatrick's hotels in Manhattan and in Chicago. He says his bar business has fallen by 25 percent.

"I'm a nonsmoker," he says. "But I believe people should be allowed to smoke in a part of the bar that is separate."

Fitzpatrick says when he goes to Chicago, the difference is obvious. The bar scene is, he says, "much more lively in Chicago."

Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Woodside), who voted in favor of the mayor's initiative, says he hasn't been able to assess the impact of the ban on neighborhood bars.

But he is concerned that small-business owners may suffer the consequences of a mayor bent on transforming a city already under duress from the terrorist strikes and a faltering economy.

How soon will it be before we start calling this Glum City instead of Fun City?

Associated Press - September 15, 2003
        Senate returns, advocates fear much will remain undone
        By Michael Gormley

ALBANY, N.Y. -- As the Senate prepared for its one-day session Tuesday, advocacy groups and lobbyists made last-minute pitches to add reforms of election, lobbying and smoking laws to the chamber's short agenda.

The Senate will be met with a planned rally led by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association outside the Capitol to protest the state's two-month-old indoor smoking ban. The group contend the law hurts businesses and infringes on personal freedoms.

That protest will be countered by a press conference from anti-smoking groups, who said Monday a poll they commissioned showed "strong and deep" support for the smoking ban across the state. The poll shows seven in 10 of the 600 registered New York voters contacted support the smoking ban. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

No action was expected in the Senate Tuesday to weaken the smoking ban, despite lobbying by some upstate senators in the chamber's Republican majority, spokesmen said.

Buffalo News - September 15, 2003
        Smokers 'Taking it to the Streets' to protest ban
        By Vanessa Thomas

A collective puff of cigarette smoke will permeate the air outside of restaurants and bars across Western New York tonight, when patrons stand outside with placards and light up to protest the new smoking ban.

During the statewide protest, dubbed "Taking it to the Streets," customers at participating venues will be asked to step outside for a brief protest starting at 8:30 p.m., to show their disapproval of a smoking law, in effect since July 24, that has banned smoking in all workplaces, including bars, restaurants and bowling alleys.

Protests are planned for least three local venues - in Kenmore, Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda.

Organized by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, the rally is meant for those who cannot attend the group's larger protest, which is scheduled for Tuesday morning on the steps of the state legislative office building in Albany.

"People are frustrated and they feel helpless, so by participating in the protest they'll feel like their voices are being heard," said Western New York organizer Judi Justiana.

"Our customers feel like lepers every time they have to step outside to smoke. . . . The state went too far with this law and it's causing major job losses."

Patrick Hoak, president of the Innkeepers Association of Western New York, said the smoking law caused five restaurants in Western New York to close down. He estimated that restaurants are suffering a 20 to 60 percent loss in business because of it.

"It's hypocritical for (the state) to say smoking is bad for our health, yet they take the sales tax (on cigarettes)," said Hoak. "This is not about health. This is about choice. . . . Don't put a knife in the back of restaurants. We need help now."

Hoak said the bar and restaurant owners hope the rallies will push state legislators to amend the law to allow smoking if there is an air purification system in the bar area.

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association has also filed a lawsuit in federal court in Syracuse against the state to challenge the constitutionality of the law.

Nevertheless, anti-smoking advocates at the Center for a Tobacco Free New York say the smoking ban helps protect employees and patrons from the toxic effects of cigarettes.

Lesley Battaglia, manager at Betty's Grill in North Tonawanda, said the anti-smoking initiative has crippled her family business of 40 years.

"Summer's bad to begin with but this just adds to the struggle," said Battaglia, adding that profit is down about 30 percent. "We're already dreading the winter."

Justiana, owner of Judi's Lounge, 257 Military Road, Niagara Falls - where one of the local rallies will be held - said each "Taking it to the Streets" rally will last between 15 and 30 minutes.

Protests are also planned for St. James Place, a sports bar and pizzeria at 1531 Military in Kenmore; and the corner of Webster and Tremont streets in North Tonawanda's restaurant district.

News 12 Westchester - September 15, 2003
        Smoking ban protest held in New Rochelle

NEW ROCHELLE - Smokers in New Rochelle snuffed out of restaurants and bars took part in a statewide protest on Monday night. They say they're simply fed up with the law, and their mission is to get the smoking ban reversed.

Protestors outside Spectators Bar on North Street say the county smoking ban has taken their freedom away. They say they should be able to choose if they want to have a cigarette in a bar or restaurant.

New Rochelle bar owners say they've seen a 35 percent drop in business since the ban went into effect in June. But County Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua Lipsman says that's not so. He says research shows businesses are not suffering at all. Lipsman also says the ban is the right thing to do since second-hand smoke has proven to kill.

Protestors say they plan to travel to Albany on Tuesday to tell state legislators they want their choice back.

The Saratogian - September 13, 2003
        Smokers plan walkout to protest state ban
        by Jerome Burdi

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Smokers are fuming over the state's smoking ban, and they are going to let legislators know with a silent walkout at bars and restaurants across the state at 8:30 p.m. Monday, a day before the Senate is back in session.

The idea originated from bar owners in western New York who have a hard time getting to Albany, said Tom DiPietro, president of the local chapter of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association that includes Saratoga, Schenectady and Warren counties.

'The point is to let people know that people that work in and patronize bars and restaurants are not enthralled by this legislation,' DiPietro said. 'It will be a peaceful protest that won't harm anybody.'

DiPietro, who owns Jr.'s Barbeque in Burnt Hills, said he is a non-smoker and the ban has not hurt his business, but he is opposing it because he believes businesses should have a choice.

'The market should dictate what happens,' said DiPietro, who added that he believed in the free market principles of Adam Smith. 'They should have the right to have smoking.'

Those who oppose the ban that was enacted on July 24 will walk out of whatever establishment they are in and stand outside for about a half-hour and probably light up a smoke, DiPietro said.

One bar in Saratoga Springs sure to participate in the walkout will be The Alley bar on Long Alley. It took its ashtrays out last week after being visited by the state Department of Health.

'If we can't smoke in here, it's ridiculous,' said Linda Wagoner, the bar's manager. She said that as a mother, one of her concerns is that when a woman goes outside to smoke and leaves her drink at the bar, it could be drugged.

'That's scary; nobody has even thought about that,' Wagoner said.

Buffalo News - September 13, 2003
        State to tax Indian tobacco and gas
        By Tom Precious

ALBANY - The days of tax-free sales of cigarettes and gasoline by Native American retailers are set to end Dec. 1 under a regulation quietly proposed this week by the state tax department. In response to an edict by the State Legislature earlier this year that the Pataki administration begin collecting hundreds of millions in lost sales taxes, the state Department of Taxation and Finance is ordering that wholesale distributors of cigarettes deliver only products that are already taxed to their Native American retail customers.

The Legislature believes that cracking down on the tax-free Native American sales will bring the state $165 million this year and $330 million next year, a figure industry groups say is conservative. But tax officials say the regulation will be worth $20 million this year and $64.5 million in 2004.

A tax department official said he believes the rule applies to both retail establishments like smoke shops as well as Seneca Nation of Indians Internet sales outlets that have seen business boom as the state has raised its taxes on tobacco products in the past few years.

Seneca Nation retailers and a lawyer for the Native American businesses were already threatening legal action to stop the
regulation. The Oneida Nation, which has a busy tobacco and gasoline retail business in Central New York, vowed to "resist all efforts" to collect the taxes, a spokesman said.

The regulation, if it takes effect with no changes, applies to all tobacco and petroleum products. It would, according to the state, effectively end the pricing edge Seneca and other Native American retailers have had to attract consumers to tribal smoke and gasoline shops. In the case of cigarettes, they are able to charge at least $1.50 less per pack - the going state cigarette tax. "It basically creates a level playing field for the non-Indian vendors who were complaining they weren't able to compete," said tax department spokesman Michael Bucci.

Seneca retailers had not yet heard about the regulation proposal Friday, but were defiant.

"I don't think it's going to happen," said Kevin Seneca, who runs a smoke shop, Papa's Place, on the Senecas' Cattaraugus
Reservation. "If there are going to be any tax stamps on cigarettes, they'd have to be Seneca Nation stamps. The nation is the one to decide that, no one else."

Seneca President Rickey Armstrong was unavailable to comment.

"It's an attempt at a death sentence on the economic welfare of Indian retailers and is complete disregard for Indian sovereignty," said Joseph Crangle, a Buffalo lawyer who is a registered lobbyist for Seneca business interests.

The regulation permits Native Americans to continue buying tax-free products from reservation stores for their own consumption through a system in which special coupons will be distributed quarterly.

Under the system that was proposed a decade ago by the administration of Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, cigarette distributors would be required to sell to Native American retailers only those packages of cigarettes with tax stamps.

That means the distributor prepays the $1.50 state excise tax, and then it is up to him to collect the wholesale price and tax from the Native American retailers. Gasoline distributors also would be responsible for paying the state for any taxes on products sold to Native American retailers.

While the burden to collect the excise tax will fall directly on wholesalers who market to Native Americans, consumers will ultimately have the responsibility to pay the sales tax. State tax officials said that beginning next year, personal income tax forms will have a line on which non-Native American residents must pay sales taxes that were avoided by purchases on reservations.

"Responsible people are going to comply with the law," said tax department spokesman Tom Bergin. In July, a top state tax official said the agency was working on plans to collect the names of consumers who buy cigarettes over the Internet from Native American retailers. The Senecas are the nation's top tobacco sellers on the Web.

The clock began this week on a 60-day public comment period on the regulations, and state tax officials said Friday they expect the new rules to take effect Dec. 1. Officials were unable to provide copies of the proposed regulations.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1994 backed the state's authority to collect the taxes. Gov. George E. Pataki at first tried to collect the taxes, but in 1997 he backed down after a series of violent protests by Senecas and other Native Americans along the Thruway.

In vetoing the state budget this year, Pataki said the collections would be extremely difficult to obtain because of legal and other obstacles.

Representatives of non-Native American retailers praised the action, though they were reserved in calling an end to their decadelong fight to resolve the tax issue, because they have seen the state back down in the collection effort before.

"If the tax department follows through fully and fairly and consistently enforces it, then I think it would go a long way toward
leveling the playing field for retailers of tobacco and motor fuel in New York," said James Calvin, executive director of the New York Association of Convenience Stores.

Calvin's group has unsuccessfully sued to get the governor to collect the taxes. "We've been down this road a few times before, so you can understand if we're a bit cautious about speaking too soon," he said.

Observer - September 12, 2003
        Rallies against state smoking ban set for Sunday, Monday
        By Julie Spears

A new flyer is circulating in the north county area promoting a countywide response to the unconstitutionality of the smoking ban legislation that took effect on July 24.

According to Brenda Perks of New York Operation Freedom, she has been receiving calls from around the county regarding the smoking ban and subsequent rallies. The newest rally is planned for Sunday at local bars, taverns and restaurants throughout the county, the day before a one-day session will resume in the United States District Court.

"We want them to know we are still out here. We want some relief or we will get them out of office," said Perks.

Perks now has a sign outside her bar, Mel's Place in Falconer that reads: "To all you elected officials, if you don't offer some relief from the smoking ban, we will relieve you from office at the elections."

Hearings on the case assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn in Albany, started Tuesday and there still is no response to the request for an injunction to suspend the smoking ban while the case is being heard.

Perks has gotten responses from smokers and non-smokers in opposition to the smoking ban.

"Everyone is mad about this because it is unconstitutional and it is another excuse for the government to take more away from us,'' she said. ''My husband is a veteran and he put everything into this place. He is angry because they are taking away his American dream.''

The "Freedom Jamboree" will be held at the Sherman Hotel on Sunday beginning at noon to raise funds toward ad campaigns and legal fees due to the implementation of the smoking ban. Tickets are $5 and flyers are also available.

Groups like Big Leg Emma and Smack Dab will be performing. Karaoke by Tiger Lily is also planned.

Individuals and groups interested in flyers and tickets may contact Perks at 665-6341 or 499-1599.

The countywide rally called "Takin' It To The Streets," is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Participants are encouraged to wear the "Save Our Freedom, Save Our Right to Choose" t-shirts and bring candles, flashlights, lighters and signs to their favorite bar, bowling alley, restaurant, bingo hall or tavern to "demonstrate their disgust at the smoking ban law." Sample signs include "My Vote, My Voice, My Choice" and "You Are Protecting Me Into Bankruptcy."

"State and Assembly will be back in session on September 16 for one day only. Speak up and let them hear our voices," says Perks.

More than 5,000 businesses that have joined efforts with the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association in the fight against the ban.

Other businesses are invited to contact the association by calling (518) 436-8121.

The government has plans to take the smoking ban to another level. According to the New York State Assembly webpage additional bills are on the table that include banning smoking in private passenger vehicles where minors under the age of 16 are passengers and includes civil penalties of $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for a second offense and $1,500 and/or 10 days in jail for a third offense.

Other bills that state Sen. Patricia McGee says are waiting for review include prohibition of smoking in private homes where there are children under the age of 16 and prohibition of smoking on public lands like beaches and public parks. The legislative history shows these bills were first presented in 1997. All carry the same penalties.

According to Matt Roberts, McGee's media representative, the bills were forwarded to the legislative codes committee. He was unable to verify what actions were being recommended. The committee allegedly handles bills that do not have financial impact.

Bar owners who are renewing liquor licenses are shocked because the cost for a two-year license has increased to $1,900 and installment payments are no longer allowed.

According to Roberts, there has not been any information available regarding the increase in licensure fees or mode of payment.

"They are now $1900. Everybody's went up and we are not allowed to pay it in installments anymore," said Perks.

Record Online - September 11, 2003
        Lawmakers consider smoking ban options
        By John Milgrim

Albany – The state leaders who took cigarettes out of bars and businesses this summer say they will consider options that could allow smokers to light up again in some taverns, but they won't gut the Clean Indoor Air Act, as some lawmakers have called for.

Regardless, advocates for reintroducing smoking at some bars aren't holding their breath.

"The indications I'm seeing ... the legal course is still our best chance at success," said Scott Wexler, executive director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association. That group has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the smoking ban.

Since the ban went into effect July 24, hundreds of bar owners across New York have complained of a significant drop in business. Some even said the ban has forced them to close. Gov. George Pataki said yesterday that he's open to revisiting the law.

Late last month, the state Department of Health issued guidelines for local health officials to issue smoking ban waivers if businesses could prove they suffered an "undue financial hardship." But the state never said how much of a hardship businesses had to endure to qualify, and as of this week, only one waiver – to Eastman Kodak in Rochester – had been granted.

"We've had some discussions with some of the members, many of them advocating making some changes, " said State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-C-Brunswick.

"While we lament some loss of business in some places, I think we all have to stay focused on the big picture. Why did we do it? Why have other states done it. Why have counties across the state been doing it?" Bruno said. "Why? Because 86 percent or so of the people in this state support a smoking ban. They don't want to be made sick."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said yesterday that he's willing to look at some form of relief for some businesses.

CNS News - September 10, 2003
        Groundswell Against NY Smoking Ban Gets State's Attention
        By Jeff McKay

When New York lawmakers passed one of the nation's most stringent smoking bans in July, anti-smokers hailed their hard-won victory, while smokers' rights groups proclaimed the ban would harm businesses.

Now both the state's Libertarian and Conservative Parties are bringing their case against the smoking ban to Albany, while a recent statewide poll shows voters overwhelmingly want the ban repealed.

The state Libertarian Party, taking a page from the California recall, is beginning a statewide petition drive to repeal the New York smoking ban. The Libertarians say bar and restaurant owners should have the right to decide whether to permit smoking or not on their property.

Laws that impose a ban on restaurant smoking don't address a real problem - they merely address a perceived inconvenience to nonsmokers, said John Clifton, New York State Libertarian Party chairman. "The smoking ban is a petty infringement on recreational liberties, on behalf of a disputed dogma (the supposed health hazards of second hand smoke)."

The smoking ban has so riled some business owners that they are now suing the state.

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association is challenging the constitutionality of the anti-smoking law, which bans smoking inside bars, restaurants and other workplaces. The association claims the smoking ban is so vague and confusing that it has failed to effectively provide any recourse for businesses that may be suffering economically.

The association plans to argue that many state businesses - from bars to taverns to restaurants -- are suffering a financial hardship, which could eventually put them out of business. Some of those businesses say they have lost up to 50 percent of their business since the smoking ban took effect on July 24.

The state is expected to counter that the ban protects the health of patrons who do not have to breathe secondhand smoke.

"We estimate a thousand people a year die from second-hand smoke exposure that occurs in the work place," said Russell Sciandra, the director for the Center For a Smoke Free New York. He disputes claims that the smoking ban is hurting the overall economy.

However that sentiment does not sit well with some business owners.

Recently, a large group of businesses in New York that have "Quick Draw" lottery machine terminals on their premises turned those machines off. They refused to sell lottery tickets for one day, a protest that cost the state more than $1-million in revenue. Just as their refusal to sell lottery tickets affected state coffers, the state's high cigarette is hurting their businesses in the same way, the protestors said.

"WABC in New York has already run a story stating how the ban has caused restaurants along state borders to lose business, as smoking patrons choose to commute to eat in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, where freedom is still legal," said Clifton.

Even before the smoking ban was signed into law by Republican Gov. George Pataki, the state's Conservative Party has been working hard to fight the ban, which, it says, will hurt business, cause the state to lose tax revenue, and place a needless burden on residents.

"There is little evidence that secondhand smoking is a serious problem. The Conservative Party strongly recommends the repeal of the statewide smoking ban," said New York Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long.

A new poll by McLaughlin & Associates conducted for the New York State Conservative Party shows that a majority of New Yorkers believe the smoking ban is too harsh and should be repealed.

In a poll of 600 likely voters, nearly two of every three people said the smoking ban should be repealed, although they favored some smoking restrictions in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and lounges.

The poll also showed 68 percent of New Yorkers believe politicians went too far in enacting the ban. Six out of every 10 people who categorized themselves as nonsmokers also believe the law is too harsh.

"This poll shows the government has gone too far. The governor and the state legislature need to fix this law," said Long.

The Post Standard - September 10, 2003
        Bars ask to put smoking ban in ash heap
        Local tavern owners among those who want federal judge to overturn state law.
        By John O'Brien

Six bar owners from across the state - including two in Syracuse - went to federal court Tuesday, claiming the state's new smoking ban could put them out of business if a judge doesn't halt its enforcement.

The bar owners say the law has already caused a 30 percent to 50 percent drop in sales since it went into effect July 24. The law bans smoking in indoor workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

A lawyer for the state called the bar owners' predictions of financial disaster "implausibly dire" and said they would have to adapt to the new law for the public good.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn withheld decision on the bar owners' request to issue a preliminary injunction halting the state from enforcing the law. Kahn, who heard legal arguments in Syracuse, said he would review the case over the next week and try to issue a decision quickly.

Kevin Mulhearn, a lawyer for the bar owners and the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, told Kahn that the law should be overturned because the state has no fair way to issue waivers to bars that can show the law is causing an undue financial hardship for their business.

County health departments across the state have refused to issue waivers to all but one of hundreds of applicants, Mulhearn said. The only waiver was issued to Kodak Co. in Rochester, allowing workers to smoke in its break rooms. The state Department of Health hasn't acted on an additional 60 to 70 waiver applications, a state lawyer said.

The state Legislature failed to include criteria for deciding what constitutes a hardship case, so the county health departments won't issue the waivers, Mulhearn said.

The state health department is setting out criteria for making that determination, state Assistant Attorney General Charles Quackenbush said.

The bar owners claim the law is vague about when smoking is permitted in outdoor dining areas. And they claim the law is pre-empted by federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration laws that govern the use of toxic substances in the workplace.

Quackenbush argued OSHA left it up to the states to regulate smoking in public places.

The co-owners of one of the Syracuse bars in the lawsuit, Dodester's on South Avenue, were in court for the arguments.

"It's not about smoking," Caren Snyder, co-owner of Dodester's, said outside court. The other Syracuse bar in the lawsuit is Murray's on Burnet Avenue.

"It's about having a right to choose," Snyder said. "We have one person sitting at the bar and everyone else is outside. Happy hour's not very happy anymore."

Bar patrons have contributed $1,000 to help pay for the costs of taking the state to court, Snyder said. Another bar owner in the lawsuit said her bar has lost $3,000 a week because of the law, and that she had to fire four workers.

Quackenbush conceded the law would hurt some bars.

"Sometimes the state has to ask one segment of the population to endure some pain for the public good," he said. "The purpose of this law was not to keep these people in business."

The law was intended to safeguard the workers and patrons who are exposed to secondhand smoke. More than 63,000 people a year die from secondhand smoke, Quackenbush said in court papers.

Russell Sciandra, director of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York, said studies in other places where smoking was banned have consistently shown no negative impact on taverns. That's because many of them take advantage of the law and market a smoke-free environment to draw the 80 percent of adults who don't smoke, he said. Many of them hadn't gone to bars because of the smoke, he said.

"That's what these obstructionists aren't doing," he said, referring to the suing bar owners. "If this law is overturned, people will die."

Tuesday night, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association hosted a meeting in Solvay for local bar owners to learn more about the lawsuit and take steps to lobby state politicians in favor of granting waivers for Central New York bars.

Snyder told the 60 people who attended the meeting at the Bridge Street Tavern that her day in court had gone well and things might be looking up for bar owners hurt by the ban.

Skip Boise, from the Empire Restaurant and Tavern Association, urged the business owners to gather support for a rally in Albany next Tuesday in support of granting more waivers to owners statewide. Staff writer Emily Kulkus contributed to this report.

Ithaca Journal - September 10, 2003
        Smoking ban waiver debate heats up
        By Andrew Tutino

ITHACA -- Two businesses in Tompkins County applied for an exemption to the state smoking ban, but the Board of Health postponed a decision on the applications Tuesday.

The Bowl-O-Drome in Ithaca and the Elm Tree Inn in McLean requested the exemptions through a waiver in the New York State Public Health law that went into effect in July.

But board members decided to postpone any votes on the waivers until the criteria for granting one is clear. A committee of state health officials is to convene soon to come up with guidelines counties will be able to follow when exemptions are requested.

As expected, the waiver portion of the state smoking ban has created a level of confusion between health officials and business owners who seek exemptions.

"If we are considering issuing a waiver, I would recommend that we hold off until the guidelines are issued," said Frank Proto, a Board of Health member and a Tompkins County Legislator.

In the meantime, some restaurant and bar owners said their businesses are suffering.

Chuck Parkin, the owner of Bowl-O-Drome, said he projects a minimum loss of $25,000 in revenue because of the number of teams who dropped out of fall and winter bowling leagues. That figure didn't include losses to the bar and restaurant portion of the business.

"If that is not a hardship, I don't know what is," Parkin told the board Tuesday. "I understand this law is to help employees. But how are you going to help employees if they are laid off?"

Parkin said the Bowl-O-Drome has already laid off two employees since the law went into effect, a manager and a waitress.

Parkin said this past August was the worst he has had during the 17 years he's owned the bowling alley.

"I am not going to have the money to pay the state and county taxes, so I am going to have to pay penalties," he said. "This is going to snowball. That is an undue hardship on me."

In McLean, Nancy and Charles Peacock filed for the exemption at their restaurant, the Elm Tree Inn, because they said their business has tailed off since the ban went into effect.

"Our biggest concern is that this is our livelihood," Nancy said at Tuesday's meeting. "This is our business. I respect the concerns for our patrons, but you have to give us some leeway on this. Our bar is empty. And we are not seeing the nonsmokers come in like people said they would."

The debate on how to grant waivers centers around whether individual businesses should be granted exemptions because of hardship, or if an exemption shouldn't be granted because the law affects similar businesses in the same manner.

Associated Press - September 9, 2003
        Conservatives threaten campaign against smoking ban legislators
        by Joel Stashenko

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ The leader of the state's Conservative Party said Monday that state legislators risk the party's endorsement by supporting the state's ``inflexible'' workplace smoking ban.

``This is about jobs,'' said party Chairman Michael Long. ``I think this is about freedom. I think this is about government intruding on the lives of the people of the state of New York.''

Long said some legislators, especially majority Republicans in the state Senate, typically run with Conservative Party support. All 212 seats in the state Legislature are next up for election in November 2004.

``If they face primaries, they have to be looking over their shoulders,'' Long said of pro-smoking ban legislators Monday on Albany radio station WROW.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said last week that some of his upstate members were lobbying to waive the smoking ban for some bars, arguing that it was severely hurting their businesses. Bruno said he was sympathetic to entrepreneurs, but is urging senators to remember the personal misery and health care costs caused by cigarettes to smokers and those around them.

Long released the results Monday of a poll commissioned by the Conservative Party that he said shows most New Yorkers want any further regulation of tobacco use in bars and restaurants left up to their owners and not government.

To the question ``In general, who do you think should decide whether smoking should be allowed or not allowed in privately owned restaurants and bars?'' 57 percent responded the owner/management; 22 percent said state government and 17 percent said local or county government.

Long said those findings show the Legislature should admit they made a mistake with the ban that went into effect July 24 and ease the law.

``The Legislature just went too far,'' Long said. ``Voters wisely know we can find a workable way to handle smoking with Big Government crushing everybody's freedom of choice.''

The poll of 600 New Yorkers who said they were likely voters was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The New York Post first reported the poll Monday.

A smoking opponent, Russ Sciandra of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York, derided the poll as full of loaded or leading questions. He said the Conservative Party's release of the survey was part of an overall strategy by smoking ban opponents to undo the prohibitions, perhaps beginning as soon as Sept. 16, when the Senate returns to Albany for a one-day session.

Sciandra said polling tobacco opponents have conducted show that ``likely'' voters are ``better educated, higher-income people who are more likely to vote and they're more likely to support cleaner Indoor Air acts.''

``I don't think the political sentiment is there'' to roll back the smoking ban, Sciandra said Monday. ``Everyday that goes by my side gets stronger. People get used to the ban, nonsmokers can see the benefits and smokers can live with it.''

Associated Press - September 9, 2003
        Bar owners say smoking ban vague, confusing and unconstitutional
        By William Kates

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) The state's public smoking ban is so vague and confusing that it has failed to effectively provide any recourse for economically suffering businesses, the attorney for a group of bar owners said Tuesday in asking a federal judge to block enforcement of the law.

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new law, which went into effect July 24 and bans smoking in bars, restaurants and other workplaces.

Kevin Mulhearn, the association's attorney, told U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn that the smoking ban was causing irreparable harm to bar and restaurant owners, some of whom have lost up to 50 percent of their business.

Although the law provides waivers for undue financial hardship, Mulhearn said the Legislature failed to provide any specific standards, leaving local health departments confused and unwilling to grant waivers.

Hundreds of businesses around the state had applied to their local health departments for a waiver but none had been granted, except for the Kodak Corp. in Rochester. Another 60 to 70 have unsuccessfully sought exemptions from the state health department, he said.

Because of the vagueness of the provisions, it would be possible for a bar to be denied a waiver in one county, while a bar in another county facing the same circumstances might receive one, he said.

Kahn reserved decision on the association's request. Attorneys said they expected a ruling within a week or two.

Assistant Attorney General Charles Quackenbush, meanwhile, questioned whether bars and restaurants were losing business because of the law. He said none of the six bars involved in the lawsuit had done any comprehensive studies that included other possible factors, such as high unemployment or recent layoffs.

``Their claims to injury are speculative,'' he told Kahn. ``The genuine irreparable harm will be inflicted on patrons and workers.''

Outside the courthouse, Quackenbush said that the purpose of the law was not to keep people in business.

``The purpose of the law is to protect public health. Sometimes the state has to ask a segment of the population to endure some pain for the greater good of the public,'' he said.

Quackenbush said legislators left the guidelines general so that each county could decide for itself what undue financial hardship is.

``Right now they have flexibility. I think they are asking for something they don't really want. This way, each applicant can put forth the factors they feel are relevant and compelling,'' he said.

The association's lawsuit also contends that the law's definitions are excessively vague in violation of the Constitution's due process clauses. That vagueness has left bar and restaurant owners bewildered about when smoking is prohibited in outdoor dining areas, Mulhearn said.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims the law is unnecessary because federal statutes already govern the use of toxic and hazardous substances in the workplace.

Caren Snyder and Dodie Buies are co-owners of Dodester's Pub in Syracuse, one of the bars that joined in the lawsuit.

``People aren't forced to come in to our bar. It should be our choice,'' said Buies, noting that a recent poll commissioned by the state Conservative Party found that nearly 60 percent of the respondents agreed with her.

Snyder, an accountant, said sales at their five-year-old bar are down 47 percent over the past two months.

``Happy hour isn't happy anymore,'' Snyder said.

She said she applied for a waiver on Aug. 1 but it has not yet been acted on.

``This is not about smoking,'' she said. ``It's about making choices.''

Meanwhile Tuesday, the state Libertarian Party said its members would seek signatures on petitions calling on the Legislature and governor to repeal the ban. John Clifton, the nonsmoking chairman of the party, said the ban is a blow to freedom of choice for all New Yorkers.

``Yes, smokers do have a liberty right to `choke others' who have chosen to go where people recreationally smoke,'' Clifton said, ``just as patrons have a right to eat fatty meals in front of dieters who have chosen to be at a fast food restaurant.''

In Albany, a group of officials from cancer treatment and research centers around the state said they were solidly behind the smoking ban and they urged that the law not be weakened.

``We have to hold strong,'' said Donald Distasio, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society for New York and New Jersey. ``This is a great leap for the health of New York. To step back away from it now would be a dreadful mistake.''

Buffalo News - September 9, 2003
        Conservative Party pressuring lawmakers to ease ban on smoking
        By Tom Precious

ALBANY - With the State Senate due back in town next week for a brief special session, the state Conservative Party on Monday stepped up efforts to get senators whom it has backed in past elections to weaken the state's tough new ban on smoking.

"This could have an effect on certain races next year," warned Michael Long, the state Conservative Party chairman.

Long said opposition by his small but influential party to the smoking law comes down to a matter of economic development for small-business owners and freedom of choice for smokers. Monday, he released a poll, which cost the party $18,000, that he said showed support for again letting people smoke in places such as bars.

Long is not, however, without his ties to the tobacco industry. While the party has taken in large amounts of money from tobacco companies through the years, Long himself in 2000 received income from a now-shuttered group with connections to Big Tobacco.

Long's filings in 2000 with the state Ethics Commission, which he must submit as a state party leader, show he received in excess of $1,000 - the exact amount does not have to be made public - from the National Smokers Alliance.

He said he served on the board of directors for the group, which pressed the cause of smokers' rights. Also, the ethics filing shows that Long's wife has a financial stake in a Manhattan sports bar where smoking now has been banned. Long said his two sons run the bar.

Long, who has close ties with Gov. George E. Pataki, said he has long been opposed to cracking down on personal freedoms, which he said is now occurring with the new smoking ban that took effect this summer. It prohibits smoking in nearly all public places. "If I was spending $20,000 on a survey just to keep my sons happy, something would be wrong with me," Long said. "The bottom line is, this is a bad law."

Health groups said the push by the Conservative Party has raised a number of flags. They point to its polling firm, McLaughlin & Associates, which they say has done work for tobacco companies and others with ties to the industry. For the Conservative Party poll, the firm found 57 percent of New Yorkers think that owners of the establishments, not the government, should decide whether smoking is permitted in their bars or restaurants.

The Center for a Tobacco Free New York said the Conservative Party also has gotten nearly $50,000 in contributions in the last three years from one tobacco company: Altria Group, formerly known as Philip Morris.

"They just seem to be devoting a disproportionate amount of money and their political juice to fighting this, and you've got to wonder if there isn't something other than their philosophical differences here," Russell Sciandra, director of the anti-smoking group, said of Long's Conservative Party.

Health groups and legislators, led by Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, a Rensselaer County Republican, say the legislation will save lives by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke. Restaurants and bar owners say that it will sharply cut into their business by driving smokers, who make up a majority of patrons in some bars, out of their establishments.

Mid Hudson News - September 9, 2003
        Mills calls for repeal of smoking ban

State Assemblyman Howard Mills of Hamptonburgh yesterday urged county officials in the Hudson Valley to grant waivers to businesses that are being negatively impacted by the new state indoor smoking ban.

Many restaurants and bars are reporting a severe decline in business since the law went into effect. If Mills had his way, he would do away with the law all together. “It’s not that I’m pro-smoking, I’m not a smoker myself, and it’s not that I’m not concerned about the public health,” he said. “It is a matter of personal choice. I think we need to be very careful in this day and age that government does not go too far and I think the smoking ban is one of the most over reaching and big brother bits of legislation that I have seen since I went to Albany four years ago.”

Mills voted against implementation of the law originally.

The state Conservative Party, meanwhile, yesterday released findings of an independent poll it commissioned, which showed that two out of three voters would change the smoking prohibition and allow “some reasonable accommodation” for smokers.

Democrat & Chronicle - September 9, 2003
        Geva gets smoke ban waiver
        By Matt Leingang

Actors in Biloxi Blues at the Geva Theatre are allowed to smoke cigarettes onstage, thanks to a decision by the Monroe County Health Department that gives the theater a temporary waiver from the state’s new smoking ban.

The Neil Simon play, which began Sept. 2 and runs through Oct. 5, depicts life in a 1943 Army boot camp.

Monroe County health officials granted the exemption Friday. It’s the second local waiver to the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act, which went into effect July 24. Eastman Kodak Co. got a three-year waiver for workers at Kodak Park.

In a related development, Scott Wexler, executive director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, rallied opponents of the smoking ban Monday night in a meeting at Dandrea Restaurant and Party House in Rochester.

Wexler’s organization is funded partly by the tobacco industry.

About 50 people — mostly bar and tavern owners from the region — attended the meeting.

“ They passed a crazy law that’s unconstitutional. It’s against people’s rights,” said Paul Cardella, who owns Loop Lounge, 1031 S. Clinton Ave.

Several at Monday’s meeting wore T-shirts expressing their discontent with the state’s law. The back of the T-shirts reads: “ People smoke in bars. Get over it.”

Scott Paul, an owner of Center Street Smokehouse in Batavia, said he sold about 500 of the shirts, which would help pay his legal costs of fighting $8,000 in fines he received when he deliberately allowed smoking at his bar after the ban.

Paul said his bar business has decreased 30 percent since the ban, forcing him to cut out live entertainment.

Wexler said a major problem with the state’s waiver system is that it is vague, so counties don’t know how to issue one. He said he knows of no bar or tavern in the state that has been granted a waiver from the smoking ban.

Biloxi Blues contains two scenes in which Army recruits smoke cigarettes. When the play began at the Geva Theatre, actors used herbal cigarettes, a theatrical product that does not contain tobacco.

But its sweet aroma confused audience members into thinking that the characters were smoking marijuana, destroying the “ reality” of the scenes, said Skip Greer, co-acting artistic director.

In order to avoid confusion and to remain faithful to the play, Geva Theatre officials decided to petition the county for a waiver.

Art is not a legitimate reason to exempt businesses from the Clean Indoor Air Act, but in the Geva case, the county made an exception, said Health Department Director Dr. Andrew Doniger. Production rights for Biloxi Blues had been purchased before the law went into effect, he said.

New York’s newest public health law prohibits smoking in any business in the state, including bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and other establishments not covered by previous indoor smoking prohibitions.

The aim is to protect patrons and workers from secondhand smoke.

The state Health Department allows counties to grant waivers for businesses that can show an undue financial hardship or other factors that would render compliance unreasonable. Companies claiming hardship must provide financial information to back up their contentions.

Doniger said Geva’s waiver is for the production of Biloxi Blues only. It remains to be seen how future productions will be handled, Doniger said.

Greer said the theater might ask for future waivers — New York City is handling Broadway requests on a case-by-case basis, he said. In the meantime, Geva will continue searching for creative solutions for scripts that call for actors to smoke onstage.

The county has received about 20 waiver requests, Doniger said. With exception of the Geva Theatre and Kodak, all applications have come from the owners of bars and restaurants. A complete list was not available Monday.

Most applications have been denied, but a few cases remain open so that county officials can review additional information, Doniger said.

Empire Brewing Co., the popular High Falls brewpub that closed last week because of financial problems, was not one of the applicants.

Kodak Park was given a waiver so that smokers could remain in designated indoor smoking rooms. Forcing them outside — where they could be surrounded by numerous chemical storage drums — was considered too dangerous, according to county officials.

In return for the waiver, Kodak agreed to cut down the number of indoor smoking rooms from 59 to 19 and will aim to eliminate all indoor smoking within three years.

WIXT Channel 9 - September 9, 2003
        Smoking Law Challenged

A hearing in Syracuse Federal Court Tuesday morning could determine the future of New York's controversial No Smoking law. The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association says the law is unconstitutional and wants a federal judge to throw it out. It claims that the law is causing irreparable harm to their livelihoods.

Kevin Mulhearn, restaurants’ attorney: “They're losing a lot of their business. The vast majority of their patrons are smokers. They're seeing sizable hits in their economic future because of the law.”

Charles Quackenbush, NY state’s attorney: “The primary purpose of the law is not to help these people stay in business. The primary purpose of the law was to protect public health and occupational health.”

Federal Judge Lawrence Kahn says he hopes to reach a decision within a week.

WROC-TV - September 8, 2003
        Smoking Ban Legal Challenge

Legal wrangling for New York State's smoking ban. The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association is challenging the ban in federal court for two reasons.

They say there's already a federal standard for indoor air contaminants. And they claim the ban's too vague because it allows waivers for some businesses and not others. Both sides battle it out in federal court tomorrow.

Members of the tavern association met tonight at Dandreas Party House in Rochester. Their hoping they convince the judge that the ban needs to be stopped while the case travels through the court.

Scott Wexler-Empire State Restaurant Assoc.
"On the vagueness issue, we think we have a very good chance of persuading the court that the law's unconstitutional and perhaps receive a preliminary injunction"

Many local bars have already defied the ban, like the Center Street Smoke House in Batavia. Next week bar owners will lobby the state legislature during a special session.

Times Herald - September 8, 2003
        County taking requests for smoking ban waivers
        By Rick Miller

Written requests for waivers to the smoking ban in New York restaurants and bars are being accepted by the Cattaraugus County Health Department.

As of today, the county Health Department has received 10 written requests, Public Health Director Barbara J. Hastings told The Times Herald.

This represents a reversal of the decision not to issue waivers adopted by the New York State Association of County Health Officers after the Clean Indoor Act went into effect July 24.

It comes after a review of the waiver issue by the state Health Department.

A state Health Department memo states the law authorizes county health departments to grant waivers if “compliance would cause undue financial hardship,” or “other factors exist that would render compliance unreasonable.”

The memo states: “In processing such applications, the department will consider all the materials submitted by the applicant in support of its request for a waiver.

“Staff will also consider the adverse effects of the requested waiver on persons who, because of the waiver, may be subjected to an involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke,” states Richard W. Svenson, director of the Division of Environmental Health Protection.

Among the evidence of undue financial hardship the Health Department would consider are:
Past business profits, expenditures and investments such as air handling/exhaust systems to remove second-hand smoke.
A loss of business volume or profit established as a result of the smoking ban.
Present and/or future economic impacts including increased staff and/or other investments.

In his memo, Mr. Svenson said written applications for a waiver should identify evidence in support of the waiver request and describe restrictions to the request to “minimize adverse effects of the requested waiver upon persons subjected to involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke.”

Mrs. Hastings said that while Cattaraugus County will accept requests for waivers, there are currently no forms and the department has no ability to determine financial hardship.

“We don’t know if it means losing 50 percent of your business or 10 percent, or if it means layoffs,” Mrs. Hastings said. “What is undue financial hardship? How do we know if it was due to the smoking ban? We don’t know.”

She added: “What about the people who don’t smoke? We have to know the establishment will do something to protect those who don’t smoke.”

Mrs. Hastings said those establishments requesting a waiver will receive a letter telling them the request is under review. They will probably be asked to submit information to justify the waiver request.

“Whether we are going to issue (waivers) is the question,” Mrs. Hastings said. “We just don’t know. We have to consider public health.”

There are currently no waiver forms available. “We are accepting written requests for waivers,” Mrs. Hastings said. “I just wish we had some criteria.”

The New York State Association of County Health Officers is expected to come up with guidelines on undue financial hardship soon, she said.

In the meantime, the county Health Department continues to receive complaints of violations of the indoor smoking ban — particularly from bars.

When a complaint is received, a health official visits the establishment to issue a warning and make suggestions on compliance.
Mrs. Hastings said she expects the first citations to be issued within a month.

There is a maximum $1,000 fine for violating the Clean Indoor Air Act. The Board of Health is expected to keep fines in line with other Public Health Law violations, between $50 and $75 for a first offense.

Times Union - September 6, 2003
        Confusion stalls smoke law exemptions
        Albany -- Local health offices to decide if businesses should be exempt from tobacco ban
        By Andrew Tilghman

Local health officials are struggling with their newfound authority to grant exemptions to the state's six-week-old smoking ban, leaving bar and restaurant owners banking on a waiver in limbo.

"It's a very difficult position for us to be in," said Jack Parisi, director of environmental health for Schenectady County.

State health officials said in July that they did not believe the no-smoking law allowed any waivers, but they now say that was a mistake and have left it up to county health departments to decide if a business should be exempt.

As word of potential waivers spread this week, business owners began lining up seeking the exemption. But health officials said they will not grant any waivers until they receive more guidance on where smokers could be permitted to light up in public.

The state law that took effect July 24 is designed to reduce health risks related to secondhand smoke. It prohibits smoking in offices, bars, restaurants, bingo parlors and anywhere else that people work for wages or tips.

A loophole allows county health departments to grant waivers for business owners who face financial hardship "which would render compliance unreasonable." Interpreting the criteria for financial hardship and a timetable for doing so is up to each county.

In Albany County, 13 bars have applied for waivers, seven applied in Schenectady County and none have applied in Rensselaer County. All requests remain on hold, county officials said.

For more-rural counties that do not have local health offices, including Saratoga, businesses must apply directly to the state Department of Health. The department has 71 waiver applications pending. None have been granted and each will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, said William Van Slyke, a DOH spokesman.

Bar owners are frustrated by the confusion.

"They don't know what is going on," said Ed Shea, owner of Shea's Restaurant in Albany, who has requested a waiver. He said his business has dropped off so much that he bought 48 percent less beer and liquor in August compared with the same month last year.

State health officials said it is unclear whether they will issue more specific guidelines for counties to follow.

"Local control is something that is important on this matter, and there's certainly a significant degree of that," Van Slyke said.

Bar owners who have been pressuring state lawmakers to revise the law said they likely will change their strategy.

"We have to start lobbying at the local level to get favorable interpretations of the waiver requirements," said Scott Wexler, head of the Empire State Bar and Restaurant Association.

Some fear a domino effect, as bars that receive waivers will begin to take customers away from others that do not.

"It's possible that if you start granting waivers, you could be creating financial hardships for others," said Dr. Jim Crucetti, Albany County's commissioner of health, who received three new waiver requests this week.

The New York State Association of County Health Officials, a group independent from state government, has begun work on recommended guidelines for county officials to consider.

"I think the membership prefers to have some guidance on this so that there can be some general outlines of consistency, although no one is obligated to utilize them," said Dr. Michael Caldwell, the association's president and the health commissioner in Duchess County.

Some fear the rules could vary greatly from county to county, local politics could play a factor in who gets the waivers, or counties might deliberately relax standards to encourage smokers from outlying areas to come and bolster local businesses.

"What you get is arbitrary and capricious standards of every local department of health," Wexler said.

WSTM-TV 3 - Central NY - September 6, 2003
        Some Businesses Want Smoking Ban To Lighten Up For Those Who Choose To Light Up
        Edited by Dave Pieklik

Armory Square, in Syracuse, tends to be a busy bar and restaurant district.  But since the smoking ban went into effect some owners in the city claim they have been losing money.

A clause in the state's smoking ban law may give some a chance to be exempt from it.  But health workers say the chance that will happen is highly unlikely.

Bar owner Dodie Buies says since July, when the smoking ban went into effect, her business has not been the same.

"Business is quite a bit down.  I've lost most of my lunch crowd that I just started to develop because we just opened our kitchen," said Buies.

Buies puts the blame directly on the ban, claiming her clientele was made up of many smokers. But she hopes her business troubles will come to an end because of a clause in the smoking ban law that says a waiver can be granted to certain businesses.

Buies says she has already submitted a request.

"This is my business, my livelihood, my life on the line and the government is trying to regulate how I can live my life," she said.

According to the law, businesses can request a waiver under two circumstances:

If the business can prove the ban has caused financial strain

If the business protects workers and the customer from harmful effects of smoking.

But Sherry Tomasky, a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, says even if a business thinks it has met the guidelines, there is still no guarantee a waiver will be given.

"If anyone has the impression that there is going to be bars and restaurants that will allow smoking, that's not the case," said Tomasky.

The county Health Department says soon, the waiver application will be even more structured, and each county is in the process of setting up more criteria with which to judge the applications.

The additional criteria for Onondaga County should be set by the end of September or the beginning of October.

The Saratogian - September 6, 2003
        Bars applying for smoking waivers
        by Jerome Burdi

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Smoke curled from a man's cigarette Friday in The Alley bar on Long Alley. Ashtrays were lined up on the bar, looking like the old days of early July.

After getting a visit from the state Department of Health for not obeying the smoking ban, the bar's owner, Eugene Goolic, said it would be the last day he would allow smoking.

Goolic, along with other bar owners in town, said the ban would hurt them in the upcoming months without the rush of tourists to pump up business. Goolic said he tried to find a loophole in the ban that began July 24, but he couldn't. Because certain clubs are exempt from the ban, Goolic's employees even became volunteers and patrons 'club members,' but the state Liquor Authority wouldn't license the bar as a club because it's not nonprofit, he said.

'Without smoking in this bar, it will go under,' Goolic said.

The state will grant waivers to establishments that fall on 'undue financial hardship,' said William Van Slyke, a health department spokesman. The department received 75 applications from 21 counties in the state as of Friday, he said, but he would not specify which establishments applied.

Goolic said he applied for a waiver to the ban before the health department announced waivers would be granted.

Van Slyke said businesses have to provide financial documentation of their hardships and that 'each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.' The state should make decisions on which establishments will receive a waiver in a few weeks, he said.

Tom Clancy, owner of Clancy's Tavern on Caroline Street, said he took away the ashtrays recently after the health department paid him a visit, and he has already seen a decline in his business.

Clancy, who intends to apply for a waiver, said 80 percent of his clientele smoke, his workers smoke and the bar is suffering. Comparing the first week after track season to the first week in July, before the smoking ban was implemented, he said business was down by 50 percent. His power bill is up, too.

'The air conditioners run and people open and close the front and back door,' he said, referring to the new need to step outside the bar for a smoke. In the winter, it will be the same story with the heat, he said.

'Power bills will bubble. Mine did,' said Clancy.

Buffalo News - September 6, 2003
        Businesses can seek waivers from state's smoking ban
        By Lisa Haarlander

New York State has established guidelines for businesses that want to apply for a waiver from the new smoking ban.
Businesses must prove "undue financial hardship" or factors that make "compliance unreasonable." There is no form to complete. Businesses send a letter and any supporting documents to either their city, county or the state Health Department.

In Erie County, 40 businesses have already applied for the waiver, but the county health department has not yet acted on any of the requests.

"It's a little premature to say that the smoking law has caused a loss of business," said Peter Coppolla, an enforcement officer with the health department. "They have a very volatile business in the best of times. There's many factors that affect their business."

The new smoking law started July 24 and banned smoking in all workplaces, including bars, restaurants and bowling alleys.

Smoking opponents are not worried that waivers will undermine the law, said Russell Sciandra, head of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York.

"Our expectation is that they would be very limited and they would be granted with conditions and restrictions that would ensure nonsmokers are protected," he said. "If that doesn't happen, we will be speaking out."

With a 25 percent drop in business, Rudy Bersani, owner of Slick Willie's Billiard Hall in the Town of Tonawanda, is likely to write a letter and try to get a waiver.

"The majority of people who go to a bar like mine smoke," said Bersani, whose bar is at 2316 Niagara Falls Blvd. "I'm going to survive, but I guarantee you other people won't be as lucky."

Bersani said he already cut his staff's schedules by 40 hours a week.

Mary Wagoner, a bartender at Slick Willie's, is still working her normal hours but her tips have dropped by $200 a week. Usually between noon and 3 p.m. between 20 and 50 people would come into the bar.

"I waited on one person the first three days of the smoking ban," Wagoner said. "It affected us big time. I had $1.50 in my tip jar. I usually don't walk out of here with less than $100."

The Innkeepers Association of Western New York has launched a voter registration drive and some businesses temporarily shut down their Quick Draw lottery machines to protest the new law. State Sen. Dale M. Volker, R-Depew, is encouraging businesses experiencing financial difficulties because of the ban to apply for a waiver.

The smoking law has not hurt business much at Caputi's Sheridan Pub in the Town of Tonawanda, but owner Bill Caputi is still fighting the ban. For August, food and liquor sales were still strong at Caputi's, located at 2351 Sheridan Drive, between Colvin Boulevard and Eggert Road. However, revenue from his dart boards and pool tables dropped 20 percent.

"It hasn't hurt my business, but I still don't like the law," Caputi said. "They're chipping away at your freedoms a little at a time. Control of my place has been taken away from me."

The Journal News - September 5, 2003
        Smoking waivers in New York called confusing
        By Jane Lerner

A little-noticed provision of the state's stringent new law banning smoking in bars and restaurants allows an exemption to business owners who can demonstrate "undue financial hardship."

But both businesses that oppose the smoking ban and anti-smoking groups that fought for the state law criticize the provision and blame the state for confusion surrounding implementation of the waiver program.

Both sides say the provision does not specify clearly enough what "undue financial hardship" is and leaves that decision up to local health departments without sufficient guidance from the state.

"It's a loophole, big enough to drive a superhighway through," said Blair Horner of New York Public Interest Research Group, one of many groups that pushed for passage of the 2003 Clean Indoor Air Act.

A memo the state Department of Health issued two weeks ago informed local health departments that they had the right to grant waivers to the new law.

The law, which went into effect July 24, prohibits smoking indoors in all places of employment, including bars and restaurants. It is intended to free nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Bar and restaurant owners have criticized the measure, complaining that it has hurt their businesses.

An industry group, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, has a lawsuit pending in federal court seeking an injunction from enforcing the regulation. The case will be heard again Monday in federal court in Syracuse.

The organization also criticizes the process for getting exemptions.

"The waiver provision is a good idea," said Scott Wexler, executive director of the Albany-based association. "But the way it stands now, there is no consistent criteria for granting waivers."

Many of the group's 5,000 members throughout the state have applied to their local health departments for exemptions.

"We know of only one in the entire state that has been granted," Wexler said. That case involved an upstate business with a separate smoking room, he said.

Many of its members report that their local health departments are not taking action on requests until they get clarification from the state on how waivers should be awarded, Wexler said.

"There's a lot of confusion about it," he said.

He cited a July 22 memo from Richard W. Svenson, director of the division of Environmental Health for the state Department of Health.

In the memo to city and county health commissioners, Svenson wrote that "state Department of Health staff are being advised to not issue waivers."

But in another memo issued Aug. 20 Svenson stated, "effective immediately, the department will commence processing waiver applications."

The memo stated that enforcement officers in local health departments would be the ones to consider evidence showing financial hardship that applicants offered.

Horner also criticized the state for the confusion.

"The state Health Department fumbled the implementation of the new law," he said. "I hope local enforcement officers don't bend over backwards to stretch the loophole to allow people to get the waiver without real proof of economic hardship."

State Health Department spokeswoman Claire Pospisil said the department had provided enough information for counties to use as a basis to make decisions.

The state, which acts as enforcement officer in counties without health departments, has received about 75 waiver requests, spokesman Bill Van Slyke said.

He didn't know if any had been granted.

The state will continue to work with counties to develop guidelines for implementation of the law, he said.

Rockland County Commissioner of Health Dr. Joan Facelle said her department had received three waiver requests since the law went into effect.

The department denied two because the county did not have information about the the waiver provision from the state.

The county will continue to take waiver applications but will not make any decisions until the state provides more guidance on the criteria for deciding who qualifies for the exemption, Facelle said.

Frank Rooney, owner of TF Noonan's, a Pearl River bar, said he applied for an exemption from the county as soon as the law went into effect. He was rejected.

"I'll try again in a few months," he said, "when I can prove how much the law is hurting my business."

Bar owner Pat Withers said he had seen a drop-off in business since the new state anti-smoking law went into effect, so he applied for a waiver from the regulation several weeks ago.

But he's not holding his breathing waiting to get one.

"I know I probably won't get it, but it's worth a try," said Withers, owner of Ireland's 32 in Suffern.

Not all local business owners are eager to apply for an exemption from the law.

James Yanno, office manager of Mount Fuji Japanese Steakhouse in Hillburn said he was unaware of the exemption provision.

But the new law hasn't affected his business much.

"We banned smoking in the dining room years ago," he said.

Until the new law went into effect, the restaurant allowed smoking in its lounge but has since banned that.

The waiver program has no effect in Westchester because the county's own anti-smoking law does not allow for exemptions, said Thomasine Susengill, spokeswoman for the county's health department.

Russell Sciandra, director of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York, which fought for the law, said he was not too concerned the waiver provision would weaken the state law.

"It's up to the health professional to grant the waivers, and I would assume they have their priorities straight," he said. "They are there to protect the public health, not profit."

Press Republican - September 4, 2003
        City mulls smoking boundary around buildings
        By Joe LoTemplio

PLATTSBURGH — City councilors will consider implementing a 40-foot barrier outside all city buildings for smokers.

Human Resources manager John Linney brought forth the 40-foot distance after some questions were raised about how far smokers must be from buildings under the new state no-smoking law, which was implemented in late July.

Linney said Mayor Daniel Stewart suggested that 40 feet would be far enough so second-hand smoke does not waft into buildings.

But Councilor Glen Olds (R-Ward 6), a smoker, questioned the move at last week’s council meeting where the matter was debated.

"What defines 40 feet?’’ he said.

"Is it 40 feet from the doors, from the bottom of the stairs, or what?’’

There was no clear answer to those questions, and Linney said he would bring back a more defined resolution for councilors to vote on at tonight’s meeting.

Earlier this summer, Clinton County Legislators agreed to a provision that requires all smokers to be at least 40 feet from the doors of each building.

Councilor Jack Stewart (D-Ward 2), a former smoker, said setting distances from the building was not the answer.

"Why not designate a spot for people to smoke instead of this. The way it is now, people smoke all over outside a building and you have to walk inside just to get some fresh air,’’ he said.

Stewart also said he had a problem with the new state law because it is not being enforced.

"This law is a joke. No one is enforcing it.’’

Linney said enforcement is complaint driven.

Times Herald-Record  - September 4, 2003
        Smoking ban waiver?
        Tavern owners not holding their breath
        By Christian M. Wade and John Milgrim

Since the statewide smoking ban was imposed six weeks ago, Desparados Pub owner Cheri Weiner has lost so much business at her Town of Wallkill bar that some nights she just closes early.

"We have lost major revenue," she said. "People are just stopping by the liquor store, picking up a six-pack and going home. They're just not coming in anymore."

Now bar and tavern owners like Weiner have a chance at getting around the smoking ban.

Businesses that lost money when the ban went into effect July 24 can ask local health officials for a waiver from the law. The state Health Department recently issued criteria for local officials to consider in granting waivers.

"The law was enacted to protect public health, not to cause financial difficulties to our local bars and restaurants," said state Sen. Tom Morahan, a Rockland County Republican.

Local tavern owners hailed the loophole in the law, but remain skeptical that counties will grant any waivers.

Matthias Schleifer, Orange County's assistant commissioner for environmental health, said he has received about a half-dozen requests for waivers since the law went into effect. He told those businesses to resubmit their requests after the state guidelines were sent out.

He said he's not sure whether any business in the county will get a waiver.

Meanwhile, local tavern owners watch their earnings shrink and worry about the future.

Gerri Ann Schwartz, owner and operator of Gerri Ann's Place in South Blooming Grove, says she has lost between 40 percent and 50 percent of her business since the ban was imposed.

"It's been very slow," she said. "A lot of people are just buying a couple drinks and going home."

Schwartz plans to file for a waiver with the county, but she's not too hopeful about getting one.

At the Brazen Head bar in Monroe, owner Tom Handbridge said he's lost 40 percent of his business since the ban. He also wants a waiver from the county.

"It's hurting everybody," he said. "We need help."

Anti-smoking advocates who pushed for the law said they don't expect waivers to be granted to all bars that can show they lost money.

"Anybody who has the idea we're going to go back to smoking in bars – they would be incorrect," said Russell Sciandra, director of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York.

"I don't think it [the waiver process] is going to have a significant impact. If it does have a significant impact, then we in the health community are going to raise our voices," Sciandra said.

The law gives county health officials – or the state in counties without a health department – the power to grant waivers.

Claire Pospisil, spokeswoman for the state Health Department, said the department has received 75 waiver requests from the 20 counties it oversees, including Sullivan. So far, the state has issued no waivers.

Eastman Kodak in Rochester received a waiver for an employee smoking room from the Monroe County Health Department.

Press-Republican - September 4, 2003
        Bars, other businesses that can show a loss may apply; uncertain how many will be granted
        By John Milgrim

 ALBANY — There could soon be some exceptions to the new ban on smoking in businesses and public gathering spots statewide.

Bars, taverns and other businesses that lost money when the ban went into effect can ask local health officials for a waiver from the law.

The state Health Department late last month issued guidelines for what local officials can use to determine whether a waiver may be warranted.

"The law was enacted to protect public health, not to cause financial difficulties to our local bars and restaurants," said state Sen. Tom Morahan, a Rockland County Republican who voted for the ban.

But many bar owners across the state said they lost money since the ban went into effect July 24. Some, including the Stumble Inn in Champlain, said they were forced to close because of it. Others, meanwhile said their bar or restaurant businesses have improved.

Anti-smoking advocates who pushed for the law said they don’t expect waivers to be granted to all bars that can show they lost money.

"Anybody who has the idea we’re going to go back to smoking in bars, they would be incorrect," said Russell Sciandra, director of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York.

"I don’t think it (the waiver process) is going to have a significant impact. If it does have a significant impact, then we in the health community are going to raise our voices," Sciandra said.

The law gives county health officials — or the state in counties without a health department — the authority to determine who gets a waiver and who doesn’t. Businesses that violate the law can be fined up to $1,000 in most counties.

Dr. Michael Caldwell, president of the New York State Association of County Health Officials, said it’s too early to tell whether smoking waivers will be granted in select bars, but he did note that while the law said waivers may be granted, they don’t have to be.

"As an association, we clearly felt that broad granting of waivers would go against the best interest of public health in the community," Caldwell said.

Claire Pospisil, a state Health Department spokeswoman, said they have received 75 waiver requests from the 20 counties they oversee, including Franklin and Essex. She could not immediately tell how many requests came from those counties.

So far, the state has issued no waivers, but Eastman Kodak in Rochester got a waiver for an employee smoking room from the Monroe County Health Department.

Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, said she’s even encouraged one courier business to apply for a waiver. The owner of that business, which she did not identify, complained that all his employees smoke, and the law bans smoking in company cars, which they frequently use.

"It was affecting his bottom line," Little said. "That was definitely a financial hardship to him."

Sciandra, meanwhile, said the ban is meant to protect employees from second-hand smoke, as well as the public at large.

"I, as a general member of the public, am entitled to walk in (a bar) and enjoy a beer without being exposed to second-hand smoke," he said.

Cigar Aficionado - September 4, 2003
        A Loophole in the Ban
        By Michael Moretti

Restaurateurs and bar owners struggling with New York State's smoking ban could have a second chance -- a recently unearthed loophole might allow some of them to reopen their doors to smokers.

According to a clause in the New York State Smoke Free Air Act, cities and other municipalities have the right to grant waivers to businesses in their communities that have been adversely affected by the state's smoking ban. Several municipalities, including New York City, already had smoking bans when the state ban went into effect in July; the state ban made many of those laws tougher.

An interoffice memorandum from the New York State Department of Health in late August specified that businesses that have lost money as a direct result of the state smoking ban are eligible for exemption. The memo, a copy of which was obtained by Cigar Aficionado Online, stated that a large volume of "requests and inquiries received from enforcement officials and other impacted parties concerning waiver provisions" sparked a review of the waiver clause, leading to the recent release of guidelines for proving exemption.

In parts of New York where the state ban is the sole smoking ban -- such as Suffolk county -- restaurants and bars submitting an application for the waiver could conceivably allow indoor smoking again. Smoking could return to a bar; a restaurant could regain a smoking section. In other parts of the state where local bans are also in place, the situation is more complicated.

The New York City smoking ban, for example, allows separately ventilated smoking rooms in restaurants and bars until January 2, 2006. Under the state law these rooms were not permitted. Several establishments, such as F.illi Ponte, Angelo & Maxie's and Del Frisco's, had installed ventilation systems in accordance with the city smoking laws. If those establishments have been financially affected by the state smoking legislation, they can cite this as a grievance and reason for exemption, according to the state health department. Owner-operated businesses in New York City that do not have employees, could also potentially become smoker-friendly with exemption from the state law.

Frank's, a steak house in the meatpacking district of Manhattan that has been open since 1912, has a glass-enclosed room with a separate ventilation system where cigar aficionados once gathered. It has been off limits to smokers since the July ban went into effect.

"My check average is down," said owner Steven Molinari. "My smokers always spent more money. They always stayed longer, they had an extra cocktail after dinner; it was all about the night, rather than just eating."

Although his restaurant seems tailor-made to apply for exemption, Molinari is still weighing his options. "If the state was willing to grant the waiver, it would be very helpful because our business was impacted," he said.

For some, it may be too late. Swan's Bar & Grill, which went to extremes to remain smoker-friendly under city law, as an owner-operated bar -- closing down its kitchen and laying off all its employees -- was unable to remain smoke-friendly under the state ban, which eliminated exemption for owner-operated establishments. "We're down 48 percent from the beginning of June, when we were smoking, until the end of August, when we could no longer allow smoking," said Shay Leavy, co-owner of Swan's. "If we keep this up, we will have to close down."

Leavy said that business typically subsides a bit in August, but usually only by about 15 percent. A 48 percent decrease, Leavy said, is "out of wack."

Cigar bars remain smoker-friendly, regardless of the waiver. Several New York City bars that had appeared to be covered under the city tobacco bar exemption such as Aubette, the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel, and the Lobby Court Lounge and Cigar Bar (aka the West 53rd Street Cigar Bar) no longer allow smoking.

Ultimately, it's up to the city or municipality to choose whether it will grant waivers. According to The New York Post, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has yet to decide how it will proceed on requests for waivers to the state legislation. If the waiver option is approved by the city, it would give adversely affected metro businesses a chance to prove that a downturn in profits was directly related to the state smoking ban.

Telegraph - September 4, 2003
        UN envoys fume over New York smoking ban
        By Simon English

A diplomatic confrontation between American authorities and much of the rest of the world intensified yesterday as senior officials at the United Nations insisted on their right to smoke in the organisation's headquarters.

Casting aside petty differences and forging new allegiances, UN ambassadors said they would ignore New York's smoking ban, imposed five months ago and extended to the UN this week.

A directive signed by Kofi Annan, the secretary-general, demanded that "no smoking shall be permitted in any of the UN premises at headquarters", in line with the anti-smoking fixation of Michael Bloomberg, New York's mayor. But at the UN building, Mr Annan and Mr Bloomberg faced rebellion. Despite warnings from UN officials that anyone caught puffing in the building would face "disciplinary action", smokers lit up and inhaled deeply.

The Russian ambassador, Sergey Lavrov, seen marching to the delegates' lounge for a smoke, said Mr Annan "doesn't own this building".

Buffalo News - September 3, 2003
        Bar owner cries foul over lack of waivers
        By Joel Keefer

FALCONER - Tuesday was supposed to be the first day that bars, restaurants and other businesses could apply for a waiver from the state's smoking ban if they can prove hardship.

State Sen. Patricia K. McGee, R-Franklinville, announced the offering in a recent memo to city and county health commissioners.

However, official waiver forms are nowhere to be found, according to one bar owner who is opposed to the smoking ban.

"There are no waivers - at least not at the county Health Department," Brenda Perks, owner of Mel's Place in Falconer, said Tuesday. "We had a lot of people looking forward to applying for the waivers today, but they don't exist. We've been duped again."

Perks said many local bar owners in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties showed up at Health Department offices early Tuesday, only to be told that there were no forms to request the waivers available - at least not yet.

Matthew Roberts, a spokesman from McGee's office in Albany, said he was in the process of contacting county health officials to get some answers.

Roberts speculated that the Labor Day holiday caused the problem. Meanwhile, Perks and other bar owners continue to fume about the smoking ban.

"Everyone said that the government had heard our concerns and was trying to help, even my husband," Perks said. "I told him and others just to wait, because I didn't think it would happen. I was right."

Under the waiver guidelines, the following would be considered:

 Expenditures for capital improvements such as smoking rooms.

 Loss of business because of the ban.

 Projected losses from the ban.

 Other factors, including disability, security, and staffing issues.

MidHudson News - September 3, 2003
        Restaurants can apply for hardship exemptions to smoking ban

Restaurants and bars that have faced an undue financial hardship because of the state’s smoking ban can now apply for waivers, Senator Thomas Morahan said yesterday. “The law was enacted to protect public health, not to cause financial difficulties to our local bars and restaurants,” he said.

The State Department of Health recently issued a memo detailing the waivers that are part of the statewide smoking ban that went into effect in July.

It will be up to individual city and county health departments to consider the requests for waivers based on past, present or future hardship such as past business profits, expenditures and investments, including completed capital improvements like enclosed smoking rooms, for which the applicant will fail to realize some additional financial benefit; loss of business volume or profit, which is a direct result of the new law; present and/or projected future adverse economic impacts that have been or will be incurred to comply with the provision form which the applicant is seeking a waiver; and factors other than financial hardship which make compliance unreasonable, such as disability, security and staffing issues.

Morahan said local restaurant and bar owners should contact their county health departments for waiver applications.

Finger Lakes Times - September 2, 2003
        Seneca to look at smoking law
        By Denise M. Champagne

WATERLOO — Vagueness in the state’s new Clean Indoor Air Act is prompting lawmakers to take a closer look at it and its implications.

Some 30 people from the local restaurant and bar industry last week asked the Seneca County Public Health Committee to consider a blanket waiver for undue financial hardship— at least until guidelines on issuing waivers are understood.

The committee wouldn’t issue that waiver, but it rescinded its July 22 decision to allow no waivers and agreed to have local health officials analyze the law, which took effect July 24. They’ll also compile data from contiguous counties and make a recommendation to the health board, which will make a recommendation to the committee.

The health board, which is part of the county health department, will meet Sept. 17; the Public Health Committee will meet Sept. 30. Any recommendation could ultimately be presented to the county board of supervisors, possibly in time for the Oct. 14 meeting.

“I think the thing that moved [the committee] was the bar owners. Their numbers are scary,” said Cindy Schlegel, owner/operator of the Magee Country Diner.

John Patti of the Pumphouse and Harry Liddell of Tavern on the Flats, both in Seneca Falls, spoke about having fewer customers and a lower cash flow, which might result in layoffs.

Schlegel said Larry Hilimire of Stanton Automatics of Auburn, a games and music vendor, said that night that he might also have to layoff a couple of employees; if people aren’t going to bars, they’re also not playing games or jukeboxes there.

“It’s not just dealing with local bars,” Schlegel said. “What I’m getting at is people just aren’t going to the bars in the numbers that they were, and it’s really hurting the businesses and the businesses that do business with them.”

She said the discussion centered on choice and the government’s intrusion into private life and businesses.

“There was some sentiment for allowing establishments to choose whether they wanted to be smoking or non-smoking, so you have employees who choose whether they want to work in smoking establishments or not. That way it’s a win-win situation. Now it’s a lose-lose situation.”

Schlegel said George Artley of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6200 in Ovid represented the opinions of veterans who risked their lives to protect freedom and can’t sit in their own membership clubs and smoke.

“They were probably the most emotional,” she said. “They were not happy.”

Schlegel said a lot of the establishments had made significant investments in air ventilation systems and are willing to fight the law.

“I think everybody who spoke expressed support for clean air,” she said. “Nobody was saying we should all be blowing smoke in people’s faces. We’re just looking for reasonable, responsible solutions to this.”

Committee member Patsy Amidon, Tyre supervisor, who supports the law, said the committee asked the health board and county attorney to look at issuing waivers and who should decide who would get them.

County Manager Keith Ashby said the county is beginning to receive information from the state on fairly stringent criteria for waivers.

“What’s come in from the state is much more definitive in terms of waiver requirements,” he said. “It does not appear that counties can grant waivers across the board. Each one has to be addressed individually.”

The state has left it to Public Health Departments to enforce the law beginning with a warning for the first violation, a more aggressive warning for the second, and a $1,000 fine for the third and subsequent violations. If counties can’t — or don’t — enforce the law and the state Department of Health steps in, the fine doubles to $2,000.

“We haven’t sent any warning letters, as of yet,” said Dave Hekel, administrator of community services, who is responsible for the county Public Health Department.

“We have received five requests for waivers, at last count.

The waiver requests are from Tavern on the Flats, the Pumphouse, and Off-Track Betting Corp., all in Seneca Falls; and The Smoking Mule and Amy’s Checkered Flag, both in Waterloo.

Hekel said the department has also received three complaints, two filed by Faith Foulkrod of Waterloo, alleging a violation by Penny’s Place in Liberty Plaza in Seneca Falls, where Hekel said smokers have gathered at a picnic table, with an umbrella, in front of the restaurant.

Hekel said, as he understands it, outdoor smoking can have a cover, but it has to be 25 feet or more above the area and that the operator of Penny’s Place was advised to remove the umbrella.

“This law is so new and the state has left a lot of it up to interpretation,” Hekel said, noting Foulkrod had phoned her complaints into Smoke Free New York, an organization created as a result of the legislation.

The third complaint was anonymous and phoned into the Environmental Health Department office, regarding black curtains on the windows of The Smoking Mule, where patrons are reported to be smoking inside.

Hekel said all that has been done so far is to educate the bar owners and public; the department has free Smoke Free NY “No Smoking” signs available.

“We do follow up on every violation that’s reported to us,” Hekel said.

He said whether people can smoke outside has yet to be clarified, but contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with distance from an establishment.

“People keep hearing that,” he said. “There’s nothing in the Clean Indoor Air Act that speaks to distance. We’ve looked because it’s come up several times, and I don’t know where people are receiving their information.”

WRWB-TV - September 2, 2003
        Owners Seek Smoking Ban Waiver
         by Liz Medhin

Some business owners in Seneca County say New York's new smoking ban is hurting their businesses.
Recently, nearly 30 business owners petitioned the county for a blanket waiver. That waiver was denied.

However, the board did say that it would look at waivers on a case by case basis, something it refused to do before.

"If a business comes forward and asks for a waiver, they have to show in detail, with certificable numbers... that says our business went down 'X' amount because of smoking," says County Manager Keith Ashby.

"They cannot use DWI; they cannot use the economy. They can only speicifically use smoking. That's going to be a difficult thing for some of these businesses to do."

So far, one of the only places to receive a waiver is the Kodak building in Rochester.

The Seneca County Health Board will meet again Sept. 17.

Associated Press - September 2, 2003
        U.N. Headquarters Imposes Smoking Ban

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United Nations, the last bastion for smokers in New York City, has officially banned smoking -- but some diplomats insist they still have the right to puff away.

A directive signed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan decreed that ``no smoking shall be permitted in any of the United Nations premises at headquarters'' starting Sept. 1, to eliminate the risks associated with secondhand smoke.

Denis Beissel, head of the U.N. Office of Human Resources Management, warned U.N. staff in a follow-up directive that anyone who smokes in the building could face ``disciplinary action.''

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Sergey Lavrov headed to the Delegate's Lounge for a smoke on Tuesday and noted that Annan ``doesn't own this building.''

U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard conceded that the United Nations may have a tough time enforcing the ban with diplomats.

``We would hope that all would comply with the secretary-general's announced new policy. If it comes to staff and they break the rules, they are subject to disciplinary action. I'm not sure we have the right to discipline diplomats, but we count on their cooperation,'' he said.

Last year, New York City adopted one of the toughest laws in the United States, prohibiting smoking in all offices and indoor public places. A statewide workplace smoking ban went into effect July 24. In addition to bars, restaurants and nightclubs, the state ended smoking in off-track betting parlors, bowling alleys and company cars.

The Leader Herald - September 1, 2003
        Handy urges state to modify smoking law
        By Michael Anich

JOHNSTOWN - A Johnstown supervisor's suggestion Tuesday that the county formally urge the state to modify its new Indoor Smoking Law didn't gain much sympathy from a standing health committee.

Johnstown 1st Ward Supervisor Richard A. Handy, chairman of the Board of Supervisors' Health Services Committee, commented on the new state law, which bans smoking in all indoor business locations such places as bars, restaurants or indoor arenas. The law went into effect July 24.

"I don't think any kid should smoke," Handy said. He said he is a former smoker who has had health problems, doesn't want smoke in his own house and has seen relatives die from cigarette smoking. He also said the Fulton County Youth Bureau is doing a "great" job promoting anti-smoking among the young.

Handy said his argument is with the state Department of Health telling adults that they can't smoke in a location such as a bar or tavern. He said freedom of choice is being taken away.

"I think the state has overstepped its boundaries," Handy said. "I think it should be an option that the smokers have their rights."

He said he wished to see the Health Services Committee recommend the full Board of Supervisors go on record protesting the new law and ask New York state to review its policy. He said action can be taken if enough counties ban together.

Besides freedoms taken away, Handy said another reason to amend the law is because the law forces employees to go outside to smoke. He said this can result in many non-productive workers. Handy said if an employees goes outside for 10 minutes four or five times a day to smoke, the company is losing 40 to 50 minutes a day from that worker.

"That's three-quarters of an hour of an unproductive work day," Handy said.

Smoking should be banned in government buildings, he said, but not where adults with a choice deem appropriate to meet in such as at a bar.

"They've overstepped their boundaries," Handy said of the state. "This is America." He said people who frequent bars as well as those who work in them "choose to be there."

County Administrative Officer Jon R. Stead inferred that it would be hard for the committee on public health to bring up to the full board the possible repeal or amending of the new smoking law.

County Public Health Director Denise Frederick said it might be more appropriate, if supervisors feel inclined, to ask the New York State Association of Counties to lobby to allow people or business persons to have a variance on the law.

"That's more of a business development issue than a public health issue," Stead said. He suggested Handy direct his comments to the board's Economic Development Committee on Wednesday.

The Business Review - September 1, 2003
        Smoking ban lawsuit to be heard Sept. 9

An Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association lawsuit seeking to throw out New York's anti-smoking law will be heard by federal district judge Lawrence Kahn on Sept. 9.

The motion hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the federal courthouse at 100 South Clinton St. in Syracuse, N.Y.

The law, which bans smoking in bars and restaurants took effect on July 24. Some bar owners contend that the measure is costing them business. People like to smoke and drink and if they can't smoke they won't drink, according to Scott Wexler, executive director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association.

The association is seeking to have the judge issue an injunction banning enforcement of the state's law while their lawsuit challenging its constitutionality goes forward.

Times Herald-Record - August 26, 2003
        Taverns watch sales drift out with smoke
        By Melissa Bearns

It's happy hour on a Friday at McMullen's Tavern in Tuxedo. It's normally packed. People used to fight for parking spots in the small lot outside.

But not today. Not any day since the smoking ban went into effect.

Kim Paige, the bartender, strides out to the porch where she sits, holding a Marlboro between her fingernails.

"I sat in there alone for three hours today," she said, jerking her hand toward the bar. "I hate leaving the bar. I hate this."

Paige has been bartending for 26 years. Now her former regulars come in once a week and tell her they're buying six-packs and sitting at home, or driving to New Jersey where they can smoke. She says her tips are down about $50 a shift.

"How am supposed to make my car payment?" asks Paige, a mother of three. "I haven't gone grocery shopping in a month. I dread going to the store because then I know there won't be money for gas."

She stubs out her cigarette and walks back inside past a poster on the wall that reads, "Don't even think of smoking here. It's not our law, it's theirs. Support our effort to overturn it! Buy a Ballot for Freedom."

The ballots cost a buck each and the money goes to the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association for a legal fight challenging the state's smoking ban. Ballots are taped all over the mirror and the wall behind the bar.

Paige isn't alone as she watches a big chunk of her income go the way of smoke. She's joined by bartenders, restaurant owners, waiters and waitresses across the region who have seen a big cut in their tips and profits since the state's smoking ban went into effect July 24.

"There's not one business owner that I've spoken to that says business is up due to the ban," said Brian Butler, executive vice president for the Orange County Tavern and Restaurant Association. "There's not a bar owner anywhere now who's not concerned for the welfare of his business."

Butler has felt the sting of the ban at his bar in Newburgh, The Golden Rail Ale House.

"Two days after the ban went into effect, my Saturday night was down 75 percent," he said.

At Desperado's in the Town of Wallkill, the bar stools are usually filled by early afternoon. Customers used to wait on the steps for the bar to open, said manager and former owner Lisa Bisognano.

But on a recent Thursday afternoon, there was one lone customer at the bar.

"I've never had a week like this," Bisognano said. Business is down about 90 percent on her shift, she says. "I can count on my fingers the people who don't smoke who come in here." The regulars say they won't come."

At the Brazen Head Pub in Monroe, you can't miss the "No Smoking" signs. They're behind the bar and hanging from every television set.

Owner Tom Hanbridge opens the doors at 8 a.m. He says he used to have a crowd all day long. Since the ban went into effect, he says sales are down about 40 percent.

Smoking is still allowed on uncovered outdoor decks, which have become havens for those who can't kick the habit. Owner Scott Outwater says he spent a few thousand dollars to spruce up the back deck of his bar, Dad's Change of Pace in Port Jervis. Now he says it's normal to see three people in the bar and 40 on the deck.

The question that worries restaurant and bar workers is what happens when the snow and sleet start to fall and no one wants to stand outside.

"This place is going to die in the winter," said Paige, the bartender at McMullen's. "People aren't going to sit outside on the freezing cold deck in the snow. I don't know what I'm going to do."

WROC TV - August 26, 2003
        Alleged Violations of Indoor Smoking Ban Aired at Hearing in Batavia

The Genesee County Health Department and the Center Street Smoke House are awaiting results of a hearing held Monday regarding alleged violations of NY's indoor smoking ban by the Batavia bar and restaurant.

On two separate nights, July 24 -- the day the statewide ban went into effect -- and again on August 5, the owners of the Center Street Smoke House passed out cigarettes to its patrons, encouraging them to light up in protest of the ban.

Rather than pay fines up to $1,000 for each violation of the Clean Indoor Air act, the restaurant's owners decided to take it to a hearing. From here, the administrative law judge who heard the testimony will write up recommendations for action and present them to the Genesee County Board of Health.

The board meets on Tuesday, September 2. It is not known if the judge's recommendations could be ready in time for the board to take them up at that meeting.

The Smoke House is accused of allowing smoking of a tobacco product in a place of employment, in a bar, in a restaurant, and of not having adequate signage advising patrons that smoking is not allowed.

Car co-owner Cregg Paul said he is ready to fight the smoking ban, and to make it a "test case" for the rest of the state. He says it is "totally unconstitutional".

His lawyer, Mehmet Okay, says if he and his client aren't satisfied with whatever the outcome of the hearings may be, they could take it to an Article 78 hearing, which would send the matter to State Supreme Court.

Capital News 9 - August 26, 2003
        Smoking ban getting mixed reviews
        By: Elizabeth Hur

Nicole Plisson and Raymond Jerome are both non-smokers, and they're restaurant and bar owners. But the two couldn't disagree more when it comes to the effect of New York's smoking ban on their businesses.

Plisson said, "I'm very happy about it, I'm delighted, I couldn't be happier."

Jerome said, "Stupid law, and I mean it is a stupid law."

While Jerome blames the nearly 50 percent drop in his business to the so-called "stupid law," Plisson calls it a blessing.

She said the law hasn't negatively affected her business so far. And as an added bonus, she, along with others, finally get to breathe clean air at work.

Plisson, who owns Nicole's Bistro in Albany, said, "Some of my bar customers are happy that there's no longer smoking in the bar area."

Jerome, who owns Klamsteam Tavern in Clifton Park, said, "I've done everything to bring this place up to code, and then they turn around and knock the business right out from underneath you."

Jerome said his customers had been able to enjoy outdoor dining overlooking the Mohawk River since a deck was built 15 years ago. But with the new law in place, Jerome had to take it upon himself to ban outdoor dining altogether, so the smokers would have a place to go.

The smoking ban is getting mixed reviews one month later.

Jerome said, "Because we can't have the smokers and the diners in the same area--we didn't want the diners complaining that the smokers were getting to them, so we eliminated it."

Jerome worries the situation will only worsen once winter arrives, and he's not alone.

Teresa Dobson, a waitress at Klamsteam Tavern, said, "I'm down 30 percent in tip money as it is, and this is the busy season with the track and everything. But what's going to happen when September, October, November comes? That scares me."

While one business owner said the law is the law and people should comply with it, another is hoping there will be an amendment to it soon.

WNED AM 970 - August 26, 2003
        County Issues Warnings On Smoking Ban
        By Mike Desmond

BUFFALO - Some bars and restaurants in Erie County are getting warning letters from the Erie County Health Department.

Most of the letters were prompted by complaints that the bar or restaurant was allowing indoor smoking on the premises.

Health Commissioner, Dr. Anthony Billities, says its too early to tell if the problem is widespread.

"A lot of this is hearsay, its people saying that people are not in complience, so we need to verify those sorts of things," Billittier told WNED News.

Health department officials say about 50 warning letters have been issued so far. Officials are still in the process of educating restaurant and bar owners about the new law.

Once enforcement begins, violators can be fined $100 for the first offense.

MSNBC - August 25, 2003
        Bars see business go up in smoke
        By Robin Wood

On sunny days, things are not horrible for bars that have patios or decks. Fewer smokers are coming in since the statewide ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and workplaces went into effect July 24, but at least smoking customers can sit outside and light up. On wet days, bar owners get a likely preview of how business will be as summer fades into winter, and they are worried.

Many of the J.J. Rafferty customers have shifted to the bar and restaurant's 50-seat deck, said Max Baggetta, who owns J.J. Rafferty with her husband, Jim.

The inside waitstaff are often disappointed these days, she said.

Even with Holmes & Watson's 20-seat patio, business is down 30 percent compared to what it was before the smoking ban took effect, said Matt Mckeown, bartender at the Troy pub. When smokers come into the pub now, they stay for shorter periods of time and some have even ditched their bills, saying they are going out for a smoke and not returning.

The new law makes more work for the pub's staff who have to enforce the smoking ban and prevent customers from taking their drinks out with them, Mckeown said. And the loss of smoking customers has not been balanced by new nonsmoking customers, he said.

The smoking ban also is having a negative impact on the city's quality of life.

"The front of every business looks like an ashtray," he said.

The Capital Region members of the Albany-based Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association are reporting an average drop in business of about 20 percent, said Scott Wexler, the association's executive director.

If the economy were booming, the bars might not even notice the drop, but many people are already spending less on entertainment and other discretionary purchases, he said.

"It's the straw that breaks the camel's back," Wexler said.

Capital Region bars, however, are not suffering as much as taverns in Buffalo, New York City and other border areas where customers can easily travel to bars that still allow indoor smoking, he said. Vermont exempts bars that sell more alcohol than food from that state's smoking ban, while Massachusetts rules vary by community.

The Massachusetts legislature is considering a statewide ban that would put it on par with New York state. In the meantime, the border-crossing trips are all out of the state, Wexler said. New York restaurants are not seeing an influx of New Jersey or Pennsylvania diners looking for smoke-free restaurants, he said.

Associated Press - August 22, 2003
        Revised rules issued on fire-retardant cigarettes
        By Joel Stashenko

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The Pataki administration revised its regulations Friday for New York's first-in-the-nation requirement that only cigarettes wrapped in slower-burning paper be sold in the state to reduce their risk of causing fires.

The state will require that bands be attached to cigarette paper to retard the burning down of cigarettes if they are not puffed on.

Under a timetable outlined Friday, the state Department of State set Nov. 3 to receive comments from interested parties on the revised regulations. Assuming further changes are minimal, the state would then finalize the regulations within a few weeks after that, and they would take effect by the end of December.

Under the 2000 law requiring the fire-retardant cigarettes, manufacturers then would get six months to prepare to comply with the new law, meaning smokers would be able to buy only approved brands by the end of June 2004.

Secretary of State Randy Daniels said the revised regulations are "based on sound science and is an effective way to minimize the risk of injuries, deaths and property damage caused by cigarette fires."

Another change in the regulations is to shift the record-keeping onus that retailers are selling "approved" brands from retailers, as was called for in the original regulation, to manufacturers.

Russ Haven of the anti-smoking New York Public Interest Research Group said the banding of cigarette wrappers has shown the most promise of paper technologies to get unattended cigarettes to go out on their own. Under the state's law, at least 75 percent of the samples tested must extinguish themselves before they burn the full length of the tobacco column for brands to pass and be legally sold in New York.

Russell Sciandra of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York said his group hoped for a 30-day comment period on the revised regulations instead of the 60-day period the Department of State imposed.

"Everybody has had their say at this point," he said of a regulatory process that started in late December 2002 with release of the initial cigarette regulations. "We can count four people in New York who have died from cigarette-caused fires and possibly five (this month). Literally, every day matters."

Sciandra said just this month, he has seen press reports of fatal fires in Brooklyn, Montrose and Chautauqua County blamed on careless smoking and a fire near Syracuse that may have been caused by a cigarette.

The law was designed to reduce the number of fires caused by careless smoking, typically where smokers fall asleep and lit cigarettes ignite clothing, furniture or bedding. From 1997-2001, fire officials reported 199 deaths in New York in fires caused by smoking materials, the most frequent cause of fatal blazes during that period.

The lower-ignition paper does nothing to reduce the toxicity of cigarettes to smokers or to reduce the health effects of smoking.

Sciandra continued to predict Friday that some tobacco manufacturer or alliance of manufacturers will challenge the state regulations in court.

"We fully expect based on their history that the tobacco companies will continue to try to drag out this process and meanwhile people continue to die in fires," Sciandra said.

A spokesman for Philip Morris, the nation's largest cigarette manufacturer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the revised regulations. The company in the past has said it favors a national cigarette paper standard, if one has to be imposed, instead of a patchwork of state laws like New York's.

Buffalo News - August 21, 2003
        Stay issued on part of tobacco sales ban
        By Dan Herbeck

The Seneca Nation of Indians won a partial and temporary victory Wednesday in its federal court battle against a controversial state law that bans tobacco sales over the Internet.

But U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny also wrote that the Senecas probably cannot prove that state law violates the Indian Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

"(The Senecas) are unlikely to succeed with respect to their claim that the statute infringes upon tribal sovereignty by regulating the shipment and transportation of cigarettes by tribe members to non-tribe members," Skretny wrote.

Still, he ordered state officials to hold off on the enforcement of some facets of the law. And until further notice, the judge ruled, the state cannot prevent shipments of tobacco onto the two Seneca reservations. He also stopped the state from restricting tobacco shipments from tribe members to other tribe members on the reservations.

Skretny said he will meet Tuesday with attorneys from both sides to schedule a hearing for witness testimony in the case. Two prominent Seneca tobacco sellers, Barry Snyder Jr. and Anna L. Ward, want Skretny to declare the law an unconstitutional violation of American Indian rights.

The law is also under attack in a related lawsuit filed by both American Indian and non-Indian tobacco sellers.

So far, the state has reported no arrests, tobacco seizures or other legal actions related to the law. Skretny's ruling Wednesday was hailed as a "significant first step in a long process" by Paul J. Cambria Jr., the attorney for Ward and Snyder.

"We view this as an important partial victory," Cambria said. "The judge has recognized that there are unique rights held by Native Americans.

State officials had no immediate comment on the ruling.

Daily Freeman - August 20, 2003
        Restaurants' outdoor moves get village nod
        By William J. Kemble

SAUGERTIES - Village officials have agreed to support restaurant owners who move service to the street in response to state laws that prohibit smoking inside businesses.

The update was provided during a Village Board meeting Monday, when trustees said the Dutch Tavern is moving forward with a state Liquor Authority application to allow sidewalk service for alcohol sales.

Following the meeting, village Mayor Robert Yerick said he granted the Dutch Tavern request for village approval after recognizing that other food service businesses had not come to officials before moving tables to the sidewalks.

"Because of the no-smoking issue, he wanted the ability to serve out on the street in front of his establishment," he said. "There is a requirement of a 30-day waiver (that has to be) granted by the municipality."

Yerick said information from New York Conference of Mayors consultants advised that state approval is not always easy to obtain.

"The state Liquor Authority says you must rope off the area and you've got to have so many feet for pedestrian passage," he said.

"They are more rigid rules than we would put in place," Yerick said. "We have an ordinance for open container law."

Village officials noted that both Ann Marie's Cafe on Main Street and the Chowhound Cafe on Partition Street have begun offering outdoor food service and could also seek permission to for alcohol sales outside. However, they added there will be concern over the ability of establishments to avoid illegal sales.

"They have to be careful about the alcohol being served to kids who may walk away from the table," Trustee William Murphy said. "That has to be policed."

Corning (NY) Leader - August 19, 2003
        Bar owners: Smoking ban killing business
        By Mary Perham

BATH | Bar and tavern owners in Steuben County say the new state law banning smoking in their establishments could be hazardous to their futures.

At least 10 angry owners and dozens of their supporters picketed outside state Sen. John R. Kuhl Jr.'s Buell Street office Monday, protesting a law they say will drive them out of business.

What might anger them as much as the potential threat to their livelihoods is that the Clean Indoor Air Act was passed without any input from them.

And that lack of input amounts to an attack on bars and taverns, owners said.

"If we were asked, we would have come up with a non-smoking section or something," said protest organizer Sandra Glick, owner of the Hotel McDonald in Bath. "That's how they would have done it with any other businesses."

Glick said her business has fallen off 70 percent since the law went into effect July 21.

The law was passed to protect non-smoking employees from any ill effects of secondhand smoke. Yet several owners said that safeguard was unnecessary.

"If you apply for a job in a bar, you know there's likely to be smoking," Glick said. "It's not as if it's the only job anybody can have. I mean, no one has to work here."

The Empire Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court the day after the law was enacted. However, a hearing scheduled for mid-August was postponed until Sept. 9.

The association's Albany office was closed Monday.

Several local bar owners said that hearing could be too late to save their businesses.

"I may have to close down," said Shawn Parulski, owner of Just One More on state Route 415. "This is the time of year I'm saving for the winter. I can't pay my electricity now, how am I going to do it in January?"

Business at Just One More has dropped by 30 percent since the new law went into effect, she said.

Owners said it isn't likely they'll find buyers for their struggling small businesses.

"Right now? Who would buy it?" said Jack Gleason, the non-smoking owner of the Taxi Stand in Corning.

Ironically, the law might have forced many non-smoking patrons onto sidewalks outside the bars, too. Bar owners claim most of their non-smoking customers go outside to continue conversations with smoking friends.

And the owners said they are seeing a decline in non-smoking patrons, too.

"Their friends can't come in, so they don't either," Gleason said. "I just placed my smallest monthly order for beer in a year."

Gleason said the small group of pickets may organize a day-long strike to get the state lawmakers' attention. Other owners intend to circulate petitions among customers asking for support. They're confident they'll get it.

"Even my non-smoking customers think this law is stupid," Glick said.

Kuhl voted for the bill last July. He did not meet with the protesters and did not return The Leader's request for a comment.

Other protesters think the law is government interference at its worst.

"Republicans believe in less government?" said one unidentified picket. "Ha!"

"You know, for some people, this is an inconvenience," said bar patron Bobby Cansdale of Bath. "But people's rights are being taken away from them, one by one. It's that simple ... it seems like the government has taken more lately than it's given."

Another man, Carl Trevino, quit smoking 10 years ago. He wishes everybody would quit smoking, he said.

"But this? There's no understanding it. There's no sense," Trevino said.

The pickets predicted the new law will have a ripple effect on the state economy, which relies in part on sales tax, cigarette and alcohol taxes - and the popular lottery-style game, "Quick Draw."

"I made $400 daily in commissions on Quick Draw before the law," said Maylonda Elliott, owner of the Country Pub 2 in Painted Post. "Now? $168. That's half. It's not even worth it."

Owners said the effects also soon will be felt in food, brewing and bottling industries - and in local employment numbers.

"What're they going to do when they have a whole new group of unemployed?" Glick asked. "Like, me?"

Hornell Evening Tribune - August 19, 2003
        Senator says waivers could be granted for those claiming economic hardship
        By Rob Price

BATH - Loretta Wells, owner of the Central Hotel on Buell Street, has a succinct way of describing her bar business since the state's Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect July 21.

"I'm losing money big time."

The 70-year-old businesswoman sat outside the Central Monday afternoon, watching about 25 demonstrators protest the new law in front of the Bath office of state Sen. John "Randy" Kuhl (R-Hammondsport).

Kuhl was part of a majority of state senators who voted in favor of the Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants. Supporters of the law say it is needed to eliminate harmful second-hand smoke in those establishments.

Bar owners say the law is killing their business.

"Business is terrible," said Leland Blake, owner of the Waneta Inn. "We'll have to lay off one (employee) within a week or two if it stays like this."

"By winter, Lee, you're going to lay off more than that," someone called to Blake.

When the Clean Indoor Air Act initially went into effect, Wells' bar business dropped off so fast, she couldn't meet her weekly payroll.

"On Sunday, I took in $123," she said. "I paid the bartender $60. The rest won't even pay for cooling the beer."

Contacted by The Evening Tribune, Kuhl said he doubts the Clean Indoor Air Act will be rescinded. "The bill was passed simply because the negative health impact," he said.

However, he added, the bill may be revisited in order to give state regulators clearer guidelines regarding exemptions for businesses such as The Central Hotel and The Waneta Inn.

The bill allows businesses to apply for waivers in the event of economic hardship, Kuhl noted. In Steuben county, he said, the state Health Department would rule on a waiver application.

Wells says she wishes the state would just leave her business alone.

"I would like to be given back the right to run my tavern as I see fit. This is my only livelihood. This is my retirement."

Oneida Daily Dispatch - August 16, 2003
        Smoking ban snuffs out business profits
        By Mike Ackerman

ONEIDA - Area restaurant and tavern owners are beginning to feel the economic impact of New York state's new smoking ban law that went into effect on July 24.

Three weeks later, tavern owners are reporting drastic drops in customers, cigarette-littered sidewalks and bathrooms, low turnouts for bowling leagues, and worries about further declines in business as weather deteriorates.

Many are hoping a lawsuit filed against the state will declare the ban unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn will hear the case Friday in Syracuse.

The lawsuit, filed by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association (ESRTA), contends that New York state usurped existing federal law and even its own Clean Indoor Air Act.

Since July 24, the Madison County Public Health Department has received six complaints of bar patrons smoking indoors, according to Public Health Educator Virginia Zombek.

"We're not at the point of fining anyone yet," said Zombek. "The health department is just going through the process of verifying complaints.

"In several instances it's been cases of people just not understanding the law, but in the future the department will take action, especially if we receive flagrant, repeat violations and complaints from an establishment."

If an establishment is fined, it becomes public record, said Zombek.

"There's still a lot of misinformation out there. All complaints are kept confidential."

Abe Acee, owner of the Nothin' Fancy Cafe in Vernon, said he's hopeful of a ruling in favor of ESRTA's argument.

"If we don't see a favorable ruling or at least some kind of compromise, I'm afraid that bar owners haven't even seen the full impact this law will have on their businesses yet," said Acee, aluding to the impending, inclement weather.

Madison County Restaurant and Tavern Owners Chairman Brad Dixon says he's taking a wait-and-see approach to the lawsuit. He says he feels tavern owners have a valid argument.

"I hope we can get some kind of satisfaction here," he said. "Even if the judge reduces the harshness of the law."

Dixon, who owns the Solsville Hotel, said his Saturday night business, normally his busiest night, has been cut in half. He said he hates having to slam the door on his customers.

"Especially in the winter months ... how can I be the smoking cop when I'm in the kitchen flipping burgers for a bunch of snowmobilers ... it's ridiculous and the state never clearly thought out the law before passing it."

Acee agrees.

"Anyone who says they haven't been hurt by the law is lying," he said. "I took photos of the front of my building, Saturday, and it was filthy out there with cigarette butts all over the place ... I've even had to take the garbage pails out of the bathroom because someone might throw a cigarette in there and start a fire."

According to Acee, a local convenience store near his bar has seen a rise in beer sales since the smoking ban.

"All these beer drinkers and smokers are buying it and taking it home ... and they're probably smoking in front of their kids, so the law hurts the kids more than the bartenders."

Oneida Police Department Lt. Dave Johnson said the department hasn't had to respond to any complaints since the law went into effect.

"The general idea is that the bartenders and owners will enforce the law and the only time we would get involved is if a patron refused to put out a cigarette or refused to leave."

Karen Reid, owner of the Westshore Hotel in Vernon, says she's seen a drastic drop in business. Clearly angered by the law, Reid says her business could go under if the downward spiral continues.

"Would the do-gooders, politicians and lawmakers like to start sharing my mortgages, taxes, license fees and bills, since they feel they should decide what goes on inside my premises?

"I haven't smoked in over 20 years, but this bar is my livelihood and I don't know what I will do if this tavern goes under."

Reid added that her sidewalks, and bathrooms, are also littered with cigarette butts.

"Am I supposed to follow the men to the bathroom to make sure they don't light up?"

Associated Press - August 15, 2003
        People Find Ways to Cope With Blackout
        By Deborah Hastings

Candles came out, bars stayed open and, in flagrant violation of New York's stringent anti-smoking laws, people lit up in bars across the state.

Associated Press - August 14, 2003
        Frustated New Yorkers Shout Down Mayor
        By Michael Weissenstein

Shortly after the lights went out, Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood before the television cameras inside City Hall and amply praised New Yorkers' spirit of good-will and cooperation.

Then he headed for the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge to sample a bit of that spirit in person.

It took less than half an hour for the mayor to beat a retreat, as a crowd of sweaty, frustrated New Yorkers piled up behind a cluster of reporters, bodyguards and mayoral aides clogging the narrow wooden walkway. Some pedestrians jeered and cursed the mayor as they made their way onto the bridge.

"Why don't you go back in your office!" one man shouted as he squeezed his way past the mayor's entourage.

"You're not helping! Let people smoke in bars!" said another woman, referring to Bloomberg's recent ban on smoking in city taverns and restaurants.

The Bradford Era - August 14, 2003
        Cigarettes via Internet
        By Merrill Gonzalez

SALAMANCA, N.Y. -- While lawmakers in New York state work on preventing the sales and shipping of Internet, mail order and on-line cigarette purchases, members of the Seneca Nation of Indians continue to sell cigarettes via the Internet.

"That law does not apply to Senecas," said Michael Tome, who has been conducting Internet sales since 1998.

"We are not part of New York state," added Tome. "Our sovereignty is in question. This (prevention of cigarette sales) affects not only the sellers of those cigarettes, but everyone in (and around) the tribe."

Tome is referring to the New York Public Health Law passed in 2000 that has only recently started to be enforced because it was held back by court decisions and lawsuits.

He explains that the prevention of the Internet cigarette sales hurts more than just the people who are selling them. He adds that most people support more than one family and are not in it to "get rich quick."

"These sales can put food on the tables. It gives them a glimmer of light in an otherwise dark world," said Tome. "Selling cigarettes can bring a lot to the community. Some people have moved from shacks to better homes, and in some cases, it can mean the purchase of a car, a television set, or even an antenna for their TV sets."

He also said that Senecas don't always spend money on the reservation. He said they travel to other areas and spend money.

"We pay taxes off the reservation," he said. "The lawmakers have to see we bring in money all around."

As far as the tax responsibility goes in cigarette sales, Tome said it is up to the customers or receivers to pay their own taxes. He adds that he does not give out information about his customers to anyone.

Tome is also quick to add that he does not promote cigarette smoking and "hates" it himself.

"But people are going to smoke anyway," said Tome. "My customers are adults who can make their own decisions. I don't get people started on them. Customers come to our Web sites to get a price reduction."

Taxes on cigarettes in New York state went from .56 cents to $1.11 in 1999 in a statewide effort to decrease tobacco use.

Since then, people who live close to the state line and Indian Reservations have been flocking to those areas. This has resulted in retail sellers complaining to Gov. George Pataki.

That was when New York officials created the Public Health Law that would prevent the sales of cigarettes through the Internet, mail order and on-line. The basis of the law includes promoting public health, preventing access of tobacco to minors, funding healthcare, and "the economy of the state."

Tome also pointed out that his Web site sends those 18 and under to other areas within the Web site that tell them the dangers of smoking, and also reminds them if they are already smoking to quit. In addition, the site allows smokers the opportunity to go to areas where they can find information and help to quit smoking.

He adds that he has a safeguard in that he requires a photo identification and signature from the receiver on the first shipment. Tome said federal law permits online sales by use of a credit card as an age verification.

There are many companies currently trying to find a better way to verify ages through credit card use, he added. To this, Tome suggested that parents should be responsible enough to prevent their children from using their credentials.

Tom Bergin, spokesman for the Department of Taxation and Finance, the agency that is currently trying to get shippers and sellers to comply with the law, said that the "genesis of the law was the prevention of cigarette sales to minors."

"We started enforcing the law in June (of this year)," said Bergin. "It basically says that anyone engaged in the business of selling cigarettes is prohibited to ship to anyone unless they are a licensed cigarette agent."

Tome explains that many Internet cigarette sales people have stopped using privately owned carriers, but manage to continue to mail the cigarettes through the U.S. Postal Service.

David Ing, postal inspector with the U.S. Postal Service in New York State told The Era there is no regulation that prohibits the shipping of cigarettes.

"But there is a federal statute that says the mailer should notify the state and pay appropriate taxes," added Ing. When questioned how they are seemingly immune to the new law, Ing said only that if they were asked for assistance, they would "help them out."

Bergin also did not know why the U.S. Postal Service is not affected by the new law, but said he was having people check into it.

Bergin also alluded to the fact that there may be legislation coming down that could rectify that situation.

Bergin did say, however, that more than 40 separate carriers were complying with the law.

Tome said the prevention of sales of cigarettes through the Internet in New York state would hurt about 75 percent of his and others' businesses.

Despite all the recent problems with the federal government, Tome's philosophy boils down to one thing.

"I know of one thing that ought to be done," he said. "Leave the Indians alone. This is our land."

The Journal News - August 14, 2003
        By Khurram Saeed

NORTHVALE, N.J. - Because she enjoys an occasional cigarette with her drink, Joyce Thompson traded in her old Rockland bar for a more inviting, smoky selection south of the border in New Jersey.

Put off by New York state's new law that bans smoking in all public places, the Haverstraw woman takes her business to The Fox & Hounds, an Irish pub-restaurant a half-mile from Tappan.

For the past three weeks, or since the smoking ban took effect, Thompson has bypassed bars in Blauvelt, Piermont and Orangeburg in favor of frequenting The Fox & Hounds four times a week.

"That extra 10-minute ride is worth having a cigarette and a drink," Thompson said yesterday afternoon before she took a puff from her Marlboro. "I have the freedom of having it if I want it."

Other bars across the state border also say they've received more business from county residents since the ban began, but they note their increases have been modest.

Still, that's bad news for Rockland bar owners, who feared the ban would drive patrons who smoked into nearby New Jersey. Unlike most counties in New York, Rockland is among only a handful that share a border with a state that permits smoking.

"There's a bunch of customers I haven't seen in a while," said Kenny Pierce, a bartender at Suffern's Old Towne Inn, which is a mile from bars in Mahwah, N.J.

New Jersey leaves it up to the bar and restaurant owners to decide whether, and where, smoking is allowed. At The Fox & Hounds, for example, a sign in the entryway clearly says the dining area is smoke-free. Smoking, however, is permitted in the bar.

Karen Scanlon, the bartender at The Fox & Hounds, said one Rockland couple recently told her a barmaid from a Congers bar they used to visit called to find out where they had been. They replied they were at a bar in Jersey where they could "smoke, drink and eat."

Deborah Dowdell, executive vice president of New Jersey Restaurant Association, said its members in northern New Jersey and those near New York City have benefited from the ban.

"Our members in the neighboring towns to Rockland reported an upsurge in business," Dowdell said, citing Montvale, N.J.

Restaurant owners in New York City have told her organization that their sales have dropped between 20 percent to 50 percent since the city implemented anindoor smoking ban in March, she said.

Chris Kunisch, owner of Mahwah Bar and Grill in Mahwah, N.J., said he's added five to 10 new customers per day. They told his bartender they were "smokers from Rockland."

Pearl River resident Tom Dempsey said he felt terrible about leaving the barsin his hamlet for ones in New Jersey, but having a smoke while drinking helped him and his wife relax.

"If I can't smoke, I won't go," Dempsey said, seconds after he exhaled from his Parliament.

Kunisch, the Mahwah proprietor, said he knew several Rockland bar owners, and felt for what they were having to endure.

"My heart goes out to those guys because they're in a tough position," Kunisch said. "You hate to see people suffer for your gain."

Times Ledger - August 7, 2003
        Bloomberg visits Bayside, talks smoking ban, taxes
        By Ayala Ben-Yehuda

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the workplace smoking ban but hedged on the question of a property tax rollback in a meeting with Queens reporters at the Blue Bay Diner in Bayside last week. The sit-down wrapped up the mayor’s daylong visit to Queens,...

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the workplace smoking ban but hedged on the question of a property tax rollback in a meeting with Queens reporters at the Blue Bay Diner in Bayside last week.

The sit-down wrapped up the mayor’s daylong visit to Queens, which had begun with a tour of a new learning support center in Long Island City and wound down with a visit to the 109th Police Precinct in Flushing.

Asked whether there was a way to mitigate the city’s smoking ban, which was superseded by a state ban July 24, to help financially strapped bar and restaurant owners, Bloomberg could only think of one way.

“We can kill people,” he said. “To the best of my knowledge, no oncologist would tell you that a small amount of smoke is healthy.”

Bloomberg denied that bars and restaurants were suffering because of the ban, saying that employment in the food and beverage industries had increased since the city ban took effect.

“I’m sure there are some people that are getting hurt,” he said. “If you don’t serve good food, people aren’t going to come.”

“I think if you wanted to change the rules you’d have a revolution at this point in time ... and they’re not going to be changed.”

Queens Chronicle - August 7, 2003
        Fans, Not Bans: Bars—Owners Seek Technology To Cure Smoking Ban Blues
        By Keach Hagey

 The smoking ban was designed to save lives, but it’s killing business, local bar and restaurant owners say.

Now, a counter-movement is forming in Queens, led by Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and a handful of bar owners whose profits, and staff, have been curtailed by the city regulation, echoed in slightly stricter form last month by the state.

Last Thursday, Avella met with affected owners to discuss the ban’s disadvantages and to brainstorm on a compromise.

At a table in the back of the cavernous and empty Byzantio Cafe and Bar, located at the intersection of Northern and Bell Boulevards in Bayside, owners rattled off disturbing statistics of profits lost and employees let go.

Nicos Gregoriou, owner of the Athens Cafe in Astoria, said his business is down 55 percent, and he has had to lay off 10 employees since May.

His restaurant, which made headlines soon after the ban went into effect for being the most ticketed establishment in the city, has also been hard hit by fines.

“I think we’re a target because we’re so busy that our competitors call,|” Gregoriou said. They have gotten seven tickets so far.

Tom Skianbas, owner of Bayside’s Slade and Millennium Restaurants, said his business is down 40 percent and he has had to lay off three employees.

“Right now, in the summertime, you can say, ‘Go outside,’ but what’s going to happen in the wintertime? Business is bad enough as it is.”

Skianbas believes the ban is annoying his customers and disrupting the establishment’s ability to provide a relaxing atmosphere.

“As a bar owner, you try to keep them for two to three hours, drinking and eating comfortably, but if they have to move every 10 minutes, that’s hard to do. It’s an unfair practice,” he added.

“It’s a lot of lost jobs,” said Lee Gournardes, owner of the Byzantio Cafe and Bar. “We’re all going to go out of business.”

Although Avella agrees that smoking indoors is a public health risk, he believes the city should revisit the smoking ban legislation, this time taking into account the ban’s economic repercussions.

“Your problems are the city’s problems,” he told the restaurant owners. “This is slowing the city’s economic recovery.”

Avella thinks air filtration technology is the answer, and has launched an effort to find a company that can effectively clean smoky restaurant air.

“We’ve gone to the moon. I can’t believe that we can’t come up with some technology to clear the air and keep people in business. There was never any discussion of that during the hearing,” Avella said, referring to the discussions held before the City Council voted to approve the ban.

Avella voted in favor of the ban, but with reservations for what it would mean to businesses. He had wanted air filtration technology to be part of the hearings, but said the mayor wasn’t entertaining any compromises at the time.

In the last month, he has been meeting with representatives from the American Cancer Society, an organization that lobbied hard for the ban, to try to find a compromise for failing bars.

“It is their opinion that air filtration doesn’t work, but I think we’ve got to look at the science,” Avella said.

Meanwhile, he urged the business owners to band together and talk to their elected officials about seeking a compromise with anti-smoking advocates.

But for restaurant owners already battling the city’s feeble economic climate, every day of negotiation is another step closer to closing. Many have done so already.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Peter Pantazis, owner of Lefkos Pirgos Bakery in Astoria. “I don’t see how it improves business. It just leads to bankruptcy.”

The experience of the bar and restaurant owners contradicts findings released two weeks ago by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which claimed that the Smoke Free Air Act had no negative impact on employment in bars and restaurants in the city.

This conclusion was based on data showing that the city’s bar and restaurant industry grew by 10,000 jobs, nearly 1,500 seasonally-adjusted jobs, in the first three months of implementation of the ban. The increase in employment in the industry between March and June of 2003 is slightly larger than the increase during the same period last year.

The bar owners who spoke in favor of the ban at the press conference announcing the findings were all from Manhattan.

Backstage.com - August 7, 2003
        NY Smoking Ban Affecting Stages?
        By Leonard Jacobs

New York State's new Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking in virtually every public workplace, will apparently also apply to smoking by actors on stage as well.

Passed by the state legislature in March and effective Thurs., July 24, the measure bans the "burning of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other matter or substances which contains tobacco" in a long list of situations, including theatres, auditoriums, and museums. The measure closely mirrors New York City's own tough no-smoking ordinance, and in some ways is even tougher than the local law.

However, contrary to press reports, the anti-smoking law does not mean that actors will be forced, under the threat of a civil penalty or worse, to use herbal cigarettes in scenes in which they must smoke on stage.

According to Claire Pospisil, a spokesperson for the New York State Health Department, the New York City Health Department is "responsible for the enforcement of the state's anti-smoking law in the city. And as it has been with the city's anti-smoking ordinance, theatres and producers can request a waiver that can be issued as the city sees fit."

Pospisil's statement corrects a published report in Playbill Online that quotes Eileen Franko, the New York State assistant bureau director for community environmental health and food protection, as saying that while New York City had previously been able to issue "a waiver for Broadway plays," the Clean Indoor Air Act would "supercede" that long-established prerogative, meaning that "Broadway plays will also have to go to a non-tobacco product." Indeed, the ability of a producer or theatre company to apply for a waiver for a show will remain unchanged.

One of the potential issues raised by forcing actors to smoke a non-tobacco product onstage is one of free expression, Pospisil conceded. If a performance artist, for example, wished to create a work in which he or she smokes a cigarette onstage, would the Clean Indoor Air Act, in effect, be violating that artist's First Amendment rights? This aside, applicants for the waiver must demonstrate that compliance with the ban "would cause undue financial hardship" or that "other factors exist which would render compliance unreasonable."

Meanwhile, the fact that the state's Clean Indoor Air Act specifically mentions theatres -- along with auditoriums and museums -- apparently caught Actors' Equity Association off-guard. According to Carol Waaser, eastern regional director for the union, AEA, "in general, supports laws that provide for a healthier workplace." That said, "sometimes there is a conflict when you have a situation where a character is required to smoke on stage and other actors are also required to be on stage with that character." In those situations, she says, the union has "suggested herbal cigarettes," but unless there are complaints from other actors about the situation, "it's generally a matter between the director and the actors."

Press Republican - August 6, 2003
        Last call for Stumble Inn
        Owner blames Champlain bar’s closure on smoking ban
        By Daniel P. Bader

CHAMPLAIN — On Tuesday, Greg McEuen stapled a notice outside his bar, The Stumble Inn, on Cedar Street here.

Because of the financial impact of the statewide smoking ban, the notice said, he can’t keep his business open.

Though McEuen admits the summer is a slow time of year anyway, he says business has gone up in smoke since the ban started July 24.

Between July 8 and Aug. 4, 2002, the Stumble Inn brought in $11,000 in sales. During the same time this year, McEuen made only $5,000.

In the last two weeks, he says, he has made between $1,000 and $2,000. Last year during the same time, he was closer to $4,000.

He estimates close to 80 percent of his customers are smokers, and they haven’t been around lately.

"They have a couple of beers and leave," McEuen said, standing in his empty bar.

He thinks many of his customers have gone to Canada, just a stone’s throw from the bar, to drink and smoke.

The law, which is designed to protect employees from the negative health effects of tobacco, is frustrating to him because all of his workers smoke — there’s no one to protect, the way he sees it.

McEuen said the lack of revenue has hit hard because he has live entertainment every week, increasing his overhead costs.

The first week of the ban, he spent about $1,500 on entertainment.

After paying his employees and deducting his costs, he was $200 in the hole.

The second week, during which he had a festival of sorts with nine bands, he ended up $600 in the red.

"If I had a lot of money, I could float this a little longer," McEuen said.

But the bar and entertainment are a side venture. He has a full-time job at Imperial Optical, a contact-lens distributor.

He also has a family, with one kid in college.

McEuen said he won’t cut costs and just run the bar; he wants to keep the bands coming.

But after last call this Saturday, he won’t be doing anything with the bar for a while. He has decided to close it and hope the situation gets better.

If, by October, things haven’t improved, he’ll try to sell the place or turn it into something else.

"Nobody wants to buy a bar right now," McEuen said.

Champlain Channel - August 6, 2003
        New York Bars Struggle With Smoking Ban
        Bar Owner Going Out Of Business Blames Ban

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. -- It's been less than two weeks since a new law took effect in New York that bans smokers from lighting up in bars and restaurants, and some say the law already is taking its taking a toll.

The signs are coming down outside the Stumble Inn. Greg McEuen is going out of business on Saturday.

McEuen said he has lost more than half his business since the Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect.

McEuen said he has sold about $5,000 worth of drinks in the past month compared to $11,000 last month.

"I can't take the risk of putting myself deeper and deeper into the hole when I'm fairly confident now that we're not going to have the clientele to support the club," McEuen said.

Bar business has dropped about 25 percent at Hitchcocks, even though the number of people visiting the restaurant is up.

"Even if your food is up 25 percent and your bar is down 25 percent, it can be the same on both sides, but you still lose money because you make more money off alcohol than you do off food," manager John Beeman said.

Owners at the Naked Turtle said it's too early to determine whether the smoking ban has affected them financially, but it has been difficult to enforce.

"It's tough to be a police officer on everybody. Some customers are taking it well and some not so well," said manager Matt Spiegel.

State health department officials said that no complaints or fines have been filed against Essex County and Franklin County business owners for violating the new law. No information was available for Clinton County.

A handful of businesses in other parts of the state have been fined, officials said.

WNBF, Binghamton - August 6, 2003
        The Chinese drip has begun. Soon the trickle will become a flood:
        Owners say smoking ban a factor in restaurant closings
        By Bob Joseph

(Binghamton-AP) August 6 -- New York state's smoking ban is being cited as a factor in several upstate restaurant closings.

Two Binghamton businesses -- Mama Lena's and Edigan's -- closed their doors Sunday, a week-and-a-half after the smoking regulations took effect.

Mama Lena's had been in business for more than 40 years and Edigan's had operated for about two decades.

Observers say business at both restaurants had declined in recent years.

But the owners said the newly-implemented smoking ban and high taxes made it impossible for them to keep operating.

In the town of Champlain, on the Canadian border in northeastern New York, the owner of The Stumble Inn says his business has gone up in smoke since the smoking ban started July 24th.

Owner Greg McEuen says close to 80 percent of his customers are smokers. He plans on closing his bar this weekend.

WOKR13 TV - August 5, 2003
        Smoking Ban Defied Second Time In Batavia Bar

Genesee County, NY - Even though they were fined for encouraging patrons to smoke and  handing out free cigarettes last Thursday, owners of the Center Street Smokehouse in Batavia promised they will light up again Tuesday evening.

Owners said they are doing it again to prove a point and make people aware of their constitutional rights.

They said they expected to be fined again.

The Genesee County Health Department already fined them $5,000 for breaking the law last week.

New York State’s smoking ban took effect two weeks ago.

Daily Freeman - August 3, 2003
        Smoking ban a real drag, some bars say

Just a generation ago, smoking was widely accepted in places like grocery stores, airplanes and movie theaters. Today, it's almost unthinkable that someone would light up in the produce section of a supermarket - a mind shift that proponents of the new statewide smoking ban are hoping will take place among New York bar and restaurant patrons.

But some say it will take some time before smokers get used to the idea of having to step outside to light up.

"I THINK a lot of people are still in a state of shock, and a lot of people still don't know about it," said Brian Keenan, owner of McGillicuddy's Restaurant and Tap Room in New Paltz. "We've had people come in and sit at the bar, and light a cigarette, and they're mad when we tell them the law is in effect."

Keenan said his happy hour trade has diminished since the ban began, but some new customers have turned up since smoking was eliminated.

"We have seen people coming into the restaurant saying they were not coming in before because of the smoking," he said. "I think that where I'm gaining on one end, I'm losing on the other."

One problem with ban, Keenan said, is that on an average weekend night, there are as many as 30 patrons smoke outside his Main Street bar and restaurant, extending the space over which he has to exercise some level of control. "There's increased noise on the street, and I have to put one of my security guys outside just to keep order," he said.

SOME OF the affected businesses have taken a proactive approach by setting up outdoor smoking areas that are comfortable and attractive so that customers don't feel they're being shunned because they smoke.

At New World Home Cooking on state Route 212 in Saugerties, staffers set up "Café Fumer" - fumer is French for 'to smoke' - on the front porch outside the restaurant.

"People have responded very well to it. They've been very happy," said Ralph Cutler, the restaurant's administrative assistant.

The owners of New World, which previously allowed smoking only in the bar area, didn't anticipate any problems when the new law was enacted.

"We were pretty confident that people would understand. If anybody's going to be pissed, they're going to be pissed at New York state," Cutler said.

FOR DUTCHESS County restaurateur Joey LoBianco, state's new Clean Indoor Air Act, which took effect July 24, has finally put him on an even keel with bars in the area.

The owner of the Hyde Park Brewing Co. was forced to ban smoking in his establishment on Jan. 1, under Dutchess County's site-specific smoking prohibition.

That, he said, put him at a disadvantage, because bars that didn't serve food weren't required to ban smoking.

"I lost some business from the bar under the county's law," LoBianco said. "Those people who have to sit down with their cigarette and have a drink - if they have an option, they'll go down the street."

SOME OF that trade went across the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge to restaurants in Ulster County prior to the statewide ban, according to Bruce Paley, owner of the Bowery Dugout restaurant in the town of Ulster, a few miles from the Hudson River crossing.

"Everybody was running across the river to find a place where they could smoke," Paley said. "That was a good shot. They came right over the bridge, and they were all asking for the smoking section."

"Personally, I'm all for no smoking," said LoBianco, noting that he uses "I Love Smoke-Free New York" coasters on his bar. "I'm very happy and on the whole. Most - nine out of 10 people - are happy about it."

But SOME people don't share LoBianco's opinion.

Cynthia Wayne, owner of KayCey's on state Route 9G in Hyde Park, said business has dropped off since the statewide ban took effect and that those who still patronize her business are grumbling.

"They don't like it, but they know it's not our doing," Wayne said. "No one's giving us a hard time. Sometimes, someone will forget, and as soon as you mention it to them, they go right outside" to smoke.

Wayne said she has "absolutely" seen a drop in the number of bar patrons, and that worries her. "If people don't come out, we're sunk," she said.

"We sunk everything we had into this place 4{ years ago," she said. "I don't think it's right for the state to have the power over our livelihood like that."

CHRIS Fells, the daytime bartender at Georgie O's, a bar on state Route 9G in Hyde Park, said she, too, has noticed a drop in business.

"People are not happy," Fells said. "We were not asked in a vote for this. They're making up our minds for us, they took our rights away."

THE FIREHOUSE bar and restaurant in Catskill displays an "I Love Smoke-Free New York" sign, but owner Kathy Passaro isn't happy with the ban.

She said that, as a taxpayer and business owner, she should be the one to determine what's allowed in her establishment.

"I pay the taxes. I pay the mortgage. I should be able to decide what goes on in my place - not a dictatorship," Passaro said.

Passaro said her business has suffered under the ban.

"It's reduced our numbers," she said. "On Thursday and Friday, it's probably cut about half an hour of the happy hour at the bar."

But "the restaurant hasn't been affected," she said.

TO ACCOMMODATE her smoking customers, Passaro set up tables and chairs on the sidewalk outside her business. But this puts Passaro and her customers in a classic catch-22, as the smoking ban has run headlong into open container laws. Put simply, Passaro's customers can smoke - but not drink - outdoors; or they can drink - but not smoke - indoors.

Passaro concedes, though, that the negative impact of the smoking ban could be temporary.

"I think there will be a few people that are stand-offish about it, but if you're social, you're probably going to come back," she said.

RANDY Hinckley, an East Berne resident who patronizes Passaro's business, opposes the new law.

"It's not relaxing at all anymore, being out in a bar," he said. "I come in here to have lunch, a few beers. It ain't comfortable like it was. I think if someone wants smoke-free businesses, then let someone in the business community open them. We should have a free choice of what we want to do in this country

"I never heard anyone complain (about smoke) in a bar before," Hinckley added.

AT THE BLUE Stores Hotel and Restaurant in the Columbia County town of Livingston, owner Michael Golgoski, a heavy smoker, said he's probably having a tougher time with the new law than his patrons.

"I don't like it because I'm a chain smoker," Golgoski said, but he added that his business doesn't seem to be suffering.

Golgoski was away when the ban took effect, but he said a review of his books when he returned showed the restaurant didn't fare too badly. And, from what he understands, there were no real problems with patrons.

"We haven't had any flak from any of our customers because we have to abide by it and they understand that," Golgoski said.

MARY Tobin, daytime bartender at the Inn at Leeds in Greene County, said she has taken a direct hit in the pocket from the ban.

"I would say business has dropped off between 30 and 60 percent right now. I'm a day bartender. My tips - my God! It's scary. I would say I've lost 50 percent of my tips over this past weekend," she said.

Tobin believes the ban has had the greatest effect on the over-30 crowd.

"Younger people don't mind standing around outside" to smoke, she said.

Tobin is an ex-smoker who grew up in the bar business, and she said she can understand banning smoking in areas where food is served. But banning tobacco products at bars makes no sense to her.

"A drink and cigarette have always gone hand in hand," she said.

TOBIN SAID the affected business in New York should have been allowed to have input before the ban was enacted.

"They should have asked the staff," she said. "Supposedly, this is all about bartenders and wait staff suffering the effects of second-hand smoke. I grew up in this business. My father reared seven children on other people's smoking."

Regarding the prediction made by some that the dropoff in business will be temporary, Tobin scoffed.

"They say business will return to normal in six months. What about the people who can't hold out for six months?" she said. "The businesses might still be here, but what about the people? They have to pay their rent. I have a miserably empty tip jar today."

Associated Press - August 2, 2003
        New York Smoking Ban Aids Nearby States
        By Judy Lin

Like other New York residents who enjoy a smoke with their drink or meal but can't because of that state's new law, Lang, 46, and her husband have decided to trade their Jamestown, N.Y., bar for one in northern Pennsylvania.

Since the ban went into effect, bars and restaurants along the New York state line say they have seen more New Yorkers looking to light up, creating a boon for establishments in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

New York's statewide smoking ban became law July 24, following a New York City ban. In addition to bars, restaurants and nightclubs, the state ended smoking in off-track betting parlors, bowling alleys and company cars. The ban is among the toughest in the nation.

Some New York smokers, like the Langs, have simply left the state for more hospitable locations.

"We're going to make a habit of it because we won't go to any bar where you can't smoke," said Rick Lang, 52.

Immediately after New York City's ban went into effect, New Jersey restaurants near the Big Apple experienced a spike in business, said Deborah Dowdell, executive vice president of the New Jersey Restaurant Association.

That trend is expected to expand with the statewide ban, Dowdell said.

"Our members have reported a surge in business," Dowdell said. "We're in close dialogue with leading restaurateurs in New York City and they continue to report their sales have suffered as much as 20 to 50 percent."

Liz Stirling, owner of Oddfellows in Hoboken, N.J., said more commuters who used to stay in New York City's financial district for happy hour are now heading straight across the Hudson River.

New Jersey law allows smoking in restaurants if they post signs saying they have a smoking section. However, Stirling said she fears her lawmakers will follow their New York counterparts by toughening New Jersey anti-smoking laws.

"I'm not opposed to having a smoking and nonsmoking section to accompany everybody, but I'm definitely not for a total ban," Stirling said.

In Pennsylvania, business owners are welcoming the exodus. For example, smokers who frequented bars in Windsor, N.Y., are now sampling establishments in Susquehanna, Pa., about seven miles away.

Christine Foote, owner of Rebel's Bar in Susquehanna, said a New York couple stopped in Thursday for the first time and were pleased to find out they could smoke.

"The minute they came in they said, 'Oh, look we can smoke,'" Foote said. "They were telling me about the laws. It was the first time I saw them."

With smokers making up 90 percent of her customers, Foote said many local residents are choosing not to dine or drink in Binghamton, N.Y. Instead, they're staying in Pennsylvania.

WGRZ TV Channel 2 Buffalo - August 2, 2003

Some local restaurants owners and smokers are fired up. They’re mad about the state’s new anti-smoking law, and they want something done about it.

Petitions for lawmakers, voter registration drives,even the shutdown of state lottery quick draw machines, all techniques for battling back against the state's new law preventing smoking in businesses and public places.

A group of tavern owners and tavern employees gathering tonight to plan a lobbying effort to overturn the law, some bars are purposely violating it and have been fined with the aim of taking the issue to court. They say revenue may be down by as much as 50 percent with smokers refusing to turn out and that threatens business and jobs. Bingo players are also upset with new no - smoking rules in place,saying it's a violation of rights.

The tavern owners are also trying to enlist American Legion and VFW posts along with bowling alleys and other business, they feel they can overturn it.

Observer - August 2, 2003
        Up in smoke
        Some feeling pinch of state ban
        By Julie Spears

Some restaurant and tavern owners have put their businesses up for sale or closed their doors as a result of the smoking ban implemented by the state on July 24. In the meantime, others are hoping that an injunction will be issued soon.

Brenda Perks, owner of Mel's Place in Falconer, stated she has seen a 50 percent decrease in business since the ban went into effect.

"We have not heard anything yet. We are hanging in there. This is terrible. Business is down at least 50 percent average. The judge has to make the decision," said Perks of New York Operation Freedom.

Another concern that has been raised is police response to large groups of smokers outside non-smoking establishments.

"Some places have had police tell people they had to go inside or leave because they say more than three is considered a crowd," said Perks.

According to Perks, the Kiantone Bingo Hall was issued a warning recently, several businesses have closed and many more have put their businesses on the market.

According to Ron Ringer, owner operator of the St. Stephen's in Brocton "business has dropped off considerably."

The private clubs are noticing the impact as well. The Dunkirk American Legion Post 62 and the Exempts Firemen have enforced the ban and suffered a notable decrease of patrons.

"All are smoking outside and business is definitely down. Even non-smokers are not coming in anymore. Those that do come in don't stay very long probably because they have to walk outside whenever they want to smoke," said Roger Adamczak, Legion bartender and Exempts member.

Tom Stanton, owner of Tommy's Place in Bemus, has also seen a significant drop in business.

"Those who used to come in and stay don't anymore. They have a drink or two and leave very quickly. I did not expect it to be this big of a hit. If this keeps up who knows," said Stanton.

Stanton does not think there is much of a chance that an injunction will come down halting the ban.

"I don't think there is a chance. They rammed it through in four days and then all went on vacation. It went through too quickly," said Stanton.

Rick's Place in Jamestown has kept "a few ashtrays around" as a hopeful measure in anticipating an injunction will be issued sometime next week.

According to Smoking Ban information businesses can file for a variance especially with a significant impact to their businesses and financial losses but according to bar owners contact with the Health Department (responsible to oversee the enforcement and applications) has left them with a loose end because "We request an application from the Health Department and they don't know what we are talking about. They have no clue."

Health Department officials were unavailable for comment on Friday.

Others are planning to add smoking rooms to their establishments or have added on outside accommodations.

The impact on Bingo halls is still unknown.

"It is hard to tell right now because it is summer and it is normally low during the summer months. The real test will come sometime in August when people are getting ready for their children to return to school and getting back from vacations," said Father David Bellittiere of Holy Trinity.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton has not had Bingo for several years as a result of state regulations that no smoking was allowed inside a school facility. The parish stopped holding Bingo because there was a significant drop in attendance even though they offered an intermission where people could go outside to smoke. The school lost money in it's attempt to carry on as usual.

The Seneca Bingo Hall remains unaffected by the smoking ban "because we are sovereign."

According to Terry Nephew, smoking is allowed at the reservation bingo halls.

"There might be a slight increase but I think it is too early to tell. Perhaps in a couple weeks we will have a better idea. Maybe it just hasn't hit us yet," said Nephew, a shift supervisor.

Buffalo News - August 1, 2003
        New tactic to fight smoking ban
        By Gene Warner

They've held public rallies, blitzed state legislators with letters and phone calls, and filed a lawsuit against the state. Some even have closed down their lucrative Quick Draw lottery machines temporarily.
But now bar and restaurant owners have come up with a new strategy to try to reverse or amend the state's week-old smoking ban.

They're planning a massive voter registration drive - among employees and clients - with a goal of bringing 15,000 people into the political process in Erie and Niagara counties.

"Our clientele is an untapped political power in our community," said Patrick H. Hoak, longtime president of the Innkeepers Association of Western New York. "One-on-one barroom conversations are a great bully pulpit to speak from."

Organizing that voter registration push will be one of the key agenda items of tonight's 6 o'clock meeting at the Pier, open to bar and restaurant owners and any customers interested in fighting the smoking ban.

The strict new state law took effect eight days ago, effectively banning smoking almost everywhere but in homes, private cars and most places outdoors. Local bar owners have said the ban, at least so far, has cut their business anywhere from a few percent to close to 50 percent.

The idea for the voter registration push is that customers and employees who haven't been politically involved will get regular updates on issues affecting their favorite watering holes, thus forming a political presence that could become a powerful voting bloc on Election Day.

Judi Justiana, owner of Judi's Lounge on Military Road in Niagara Falls, envisions each of the roughly 1,500 licensed establishments in Erie and Niagara counties registering 10 new voters. That would mean 15,000 new voters, all with a special interest in such issues.

That might seem overly optimistic, but Justiana found that four of the first five people she asked in her bar weren't registered to vote. She has already registered more than 20 voters.

"It would send a message to our legislators in Albany that "You work for us, we're unhappy with this law, and we're going to vote you out in the next election,' " she said.

Tavern owners say the law was pushed quickly through the State Legislature in March, without public debate and following assurances from Albany that no such law would be passed this year.

That's one reason Hoak believes this issue could mobilize so many new voters.

"It's an emotional issue, and it's a violation of their rights," he said. "They are outraged at this being done."

The smoking ban's results so far, tavern owners claim, have been disastrous.

Michelle Pozantides, whose husband owns the two St. James Sports Bars in the Town of Tonawanda, says business there has been down 40 to 50 percent since the law took effect.

"By the time the weekend was over, we were out several thousand dollars," said Pozantides, the leading organizer of tonight's meeting. "Our paychecks were gone. We had to dive into our personal savings to make payroll."

Many observers have urged bar owners to be patient, claiming that some unhappy patrons will return, and some new nonsmokers will emerge as customers.

Pozantides realizes that the situation may turn around. But when?

St. James already has had to lay off two employees at its Sheridan Drive location.

"How long can a corner bar sustain a 50 percent loss in sales and survive?" she asked. "We're not a major corporation."

Justiana said her business has been down about 30 percent.

"For the first time in my 23 years in business, I'm worried about surviving," she said. "I've never seen any state law that I've been more frightened of."

At tonight's meeting, opponents of the smoking ban will discuss the voter registration push, a petition drive and the possibility of a more extended boycott of the lucrative Quick Draw game, which generates substantial revenue for the state.

"That's where the state is going to feel the loss," Pozantides said. "We want them to feel the loss of revenue the same way we've felt the loss."

Hoak, the innkeepers association president, said the group's board on Wednesday will consider a one-week boycott of Quick Draw.

"It would get their attention, to work with us and listen to our needs," he said.

Hoak called the smoking ban the latest in a long list of issues that have cut the number of licensed operations in Erie County from 2,500 in 1965 to about 1,200 today. Others include raising the drinking age (twice), the quadrupling of dram-shop liability insurance costs and ongoing efforts to close bars earlier.

"If it's a health issue, go after the tobacco industry, not the restaurant industry," Hoak said.

Post Standard - August 1, 2003
        Smoking complaints bring warnings
        In Onondaga County, no one is cited for breaking law, but 30 complaints are received.
        By Mike McAndrew

In the first week since the statewide ban on smoking at indoor work sites took effect, Onondaga County health officials have received about 30 complaints that businesses are allowing smoking.

For now, however, the county has not cited anyone for breaking the law, said Gary Sauda, director of the Health Department's Environmental Health Division.

"Some of the complaints are found to be unfounded. Some are substantiated. Primarily they involve food service establishments," Sauda said.

He said Health Department inspectors investigating the complaints have been informing business owners of the law's requirements.

"That's a warning step. Obviously if the business is not brought into compliance, it can lead to a more formal warning, a notice of violation and a hearing," he said. "We have not had to issue any notices of violation to date."

Violations can result in fines of $1,000.

In Batavia in Western New York, the Center Street Smoke House was cited for five violations July 24, the first day the law was effective, after workers there handed out packs of cigarettes to patrons, according to The Associated Press.

The bar's owners were charged with allowing smoking in a food establishment, allowing smoking in a bar, allowing smoking in a place of employment, posting improper signs on the smoking ban and failing to notify the Health Department about a promotion involving tobacco.

Sauda said his inspectors have not come across any incidents like that.

"Nobody's been openly defiant," Sauda said.

The state Health Department is unable to provide statistics on how many businesses were cited in the past week for violating the new law, a spokeswoman in Albany said.

Seven Onondaga County tavern owners have asked the county Health Department for waivers from the smoking ban, claiming the ban would cause their businesses an undue financial hardship. Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Lloyd Novick has denied all seven requests. Novick explained he cannot award waivers because the state Legislature failed to establish specific criteria for proving undue financial hardship.

Denied waivers were: The Barge Inn II, 324 Burnet Ave.; Cerio's, 1711 Grant Blvd.; Home Base, Kmart Plaza, Mattydale; Knoxie's Pub, 7088 Cherry Valley Turnpike, Pompey; Mac's Bad Art Bar, 1799 Brewerton Road, Mattydale; Pro's Grill, 137 N. Warren St.; and Trappers, 1140 Morgan Road, Memphis.

Smoking is permitted inside only one Onondaga County tavern, Awful Al's Whiskey and Cigar Bar, 321 S. Clinton St., because cigar bars are exempt from the law, according to Sauda.

The Health Department ruled that two other bars seeking that exemption - Diamond Dolls, 6720 Townline Road, DeWitt, and Mac's Bad Art Bar - do not qualify under the law as cigar bars.

The Villager - August 1, 2003
        Hundreds rally Downtown to ‘can the smoking ban’
        By Elizabeth O’Brien

Bar owners and employees rallied outside City Hall last Thursday on the first day of the state’s smoking ban, protesting a law that they said was squeezing their profits and suffocating the city’s nightlife.

The state’s smoke-free workplace law closes several loopholes in the city smoking ban that took effect on March 30, including provisions allowing smoking in specially constructed smoking rooms and in bars or restaurants with no employees.
Since the city snuffed out most smoking in clubs and bars, revenue at nightspots has dropped 25 to 30 percent, according to David Rabin, co-owner of Lotus nightclub in the Meat Market and president of the New York Nightlife Association

“The ban is destroying hundreds of small businesses like mine,” said Sandee Wright, owner of the Whiskey Ward bar on Essex St. on the Lower East Side. “You think secondhand smoke is unhealthy, what about poverty?”

Protestors disputed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s claim that nonsmokers would flock to bars after the ban went into effect.

“Where are these mythical people he’s talking about?” asked Mark Toner, 35, a bartender at Blooms in Queens who was puffing on a cigar at the rally.

Toner estimated that his tips plunged about 40 percent since the city law took effect.

Protestors also challenged the city’s assertion that restaurants and bars have not laid off workers since the ban began. Last week, the city’s Health Department released a report saying that between March 11 and June 11, the city experienced an increase of 9,700 bar and restaurant jobs. This jump represented a sharper rise than that of the same period last year, the study said.

“They’re either lying or living in another state” when they say the smoking ban has had no effect on business, said Wright of the Whiskey Ward.

While the city and state laws were designed to protect workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke, many said that bar employees do not want such intervention.

Ria Kramer, 42, a part owner of Raven on Avenue A and E. 12th St., said that all of her employees smoked.

“They’re already getting firsthand smoke; they don’t need to be protected from secondhand smoke,” Kramer said.

Several dozens of ban supporters disagreed. They staged a counter-rally outside City Hall as hundreds of anti-ban protestors gathered along Broadway.

“Today is a great day because New York City blazed the trail,” Dan Klotz of the American Cancer Society was quoted as saying.

But Rabin and others asserted that the city legislation only set the stage for more economic devastation throughout the state. In addition to financial concerns, Rabin addressed the quality of life issues heightened by the ban, including noise complaints from residents living near bars, and congested and dirty sidewalks.

Martha Danziger, district manager for Community Board 3, which includes the East Village and the Lower East Side, said that noise complaints have surged since the city’s smoking ban took effect. Susan Stetzer, chairperson of the board’s public safety and sanitation committee, called for a balance between the needs of the nightlife industry and the needs of the community. She said she hoped and expected that business would rebound at bars and clubs as people got used to the law.

“It’s painful for some businesses and it’s painful for some people,” Stetzer said. “It doesn’t mean the law is a bad law.”

Daily Freeman - July 31, 2003
        Smoking ban draws fire
        By Fred Johnsen

CATSKILL - Some smokers in Catskill have had enough of being told where they can light up, and they are telling state lawmakers to butt out of their personal business.

Up in arms over the recently enacted smoking ban, 75 smokers and non-smoking supporters demonstrated Wednesday in the parking lot of the Catskill Elks Lodge.

Demonstrator Anne Rose of Catskill said the protest is about more than smoking. It's about individual rights, she said.

"It's taking away your rights. We need to wake up and we are not. The next thing you know, the government will be telling us what kind of car we can drive. They'll be telling us we can't eat steak. Even if I were a non-smoker I would still support this," she said.

The other demonstrators interviewed shared Rose's opinion.

VFW Senior Vice Commander Dan Medici wonders why he served in the military, considering the loss of rights the country is experiencing.

"I think that the government has overstepped its bounds. Businesses ought to have smoking section and a non-smoking section. Leave it up the business owners to choose. The government is really infringing on our right - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he said.

Many of the demonstrators are service club members and officers who said the law has seriously cut into their bar business. Cairo-Durham Elks Club Bar Chairman Jerry Squires is a non-smoker. He said his lodge has lost two bartenders and the Catskill Elks Club has lost one since the ban took effect July 24.

"They said if they can't smoke they aren't going to volunteer. It's hard enough for us to get volunteers," he said.

Under the new law, smoking is allowed in private clubs where workers are not compensated. While the Elks clubs don't pay volunteers, they do receive tips, which is counted as compensation.

The loss of bar revenues directly affects the clubs' charitable work, Cairo-Durham Elks Trustee George Carroll said.

"At least a third of every dime we make goes to charity. If that reduces, our charitable contributions reduce. I'm not just talking about the Elks. I'm talking about the Moose and every charitable organization in New York. This law is not just hurting us, it's hurting the community," he said.

Mike Lanuto, owner of Captain Kidds Inn in Catskill, said it's ironic how the federal government liberates foreign countries while rights are stolen away at home.

"We're over there freeing people in different countries and meanwhile New York state is taking away our rights," he said.

Demonstration organizer Rita Spirittelli said the protest would not be the last.

"This will be done again. We're going to get together with other organizations - the VFW, the Elks, the Moose. They can join us. We're going to try to put this on again in Albany or at the courthouse in Catskill. This is just the tip of the iceberg," she said.

28 News WBRE - July 30, 2003
        New York Laws Force Diners to Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is seeing a "population and business" explosion at restaurants along the New York State Boarder...

New York City's strict new smoking laws at eateries...are forcing many people- to cross the border into Pennsylvania- to dine out.

Places like Jimmy's meeting place in North East...which is near erie, say they have seen a steady increase in customers.  New York State law- makes it illegal to smoke in bars and certain restaurants--violators can faces fines up to one thousand dollars.

Times Union - July 27, 2003
        Gripes greet smoking law
        Albany -- Health officials deal with complaints, inquiries regarding ban
        By Erin Duggan

County health departments were flooded with calls in the first two days of the new statewide smoking ban -- fielding complaints about smoke-filled businesses and questions from proprietors.

Courtesy calls were made to business owners who didn't permanently stow the ashtrays after midnight Wednesday as required by the Clean Indoor Air Act, but no fines were levied, health department officials said Friday. For now, enforcement of the law is complaint-driven, and business owners will be given at least a warning as they adapt to the new law.

Two lawsuits to block the ban, filed last week, are still making their way through the legal system, and no last-minute amendments, delays or stays halted the controversial law from going into action Thursday.

The implementation of the sweeping smoking ban was praised by groups like the American Cancer Society and the New York Public Interest Research Group, which put out statements of support when it went into effect. Throughout the push to get the smoking ban passed, those groups and others argued that more than 70 percent of New Yorkers don't smoke, but are exposed to secondhand smoke, which kills more than 40,000 Americans each year.

Across New York, smokers may no longer puff inside any business with employees -- bars, restaurants, fraternal organizations and bingo halls, to name a few. Most businesses immediately complied, but some had questions about the law such as how far from buildings smokers must stand and whether they can smoke on outside patios.

Adding to the confusion, the state took until Thursday to distribute literature to county health departments that could be given to restaurant and bar owners about the law's specifics.

"I have lots of customers from Kentucky who drink bourbon and smoke Camels," said Neill Smith, head bartender at Sperry's in Saratoga Springs.

Smith left the bar for a few minutes to step outside to smoke a Merit. For a place like Saratoga, which draws tourists from around the country, it would have been better to wait until after Labor Day, he said, instead of having to explain a dozen times a night why customers can't smoke.

Dealing with longtime smokers who wouldn't comply with the ban was another problem facing New York business owners.

Friday afternoon, Dick Benaquisto did something he's never done in his 22 years of owning a bar.

He threw a paying customer out for smoking.

The smoker inside Brother Dominick's Pub in Schenectady grew agitated and refused to leave, so Benaquisto was forced to do something else he doesn't usually do -- he called the police, to have them throw the man out.

"It puts me in a very bad position," Benaquisto said Friday, the second day of the smoking ban. "In a business sense, I'm telling the guy to get out. And it puts me in a dangerous position, too."

Across the state, business owners and smokers are starting to adapt to a different way of socializing. Sharing smokes over cold beers will become sharing smokes in the cold as the weather changes. Restaurant and bar owners aren't cleaning ashtrays, they're sweeping their stoops as cigarette butts litter the entranceways.

To date, county officials say they've been in frequent contact with each other, to make sure the ban is being enforced uniformly.

"We're trying to be as consistent as possible," Rensselaer County Director of Environmental Health Roy Champagne said.

The first complaints elicited calls to business owners from the health departments to explain the law and the complaint.

"We've gotten calls, anonymous complaints, and that's what we're following up on," said G. Jack Parisi, director of environmental health for Schenectady County. "We've called the owners of about 10 bars and restaurants and fraternal organizations."

Although no penalties were handed out, counties are keeping lists of where the complaints are coming from.

"Ultimately, the master list is what we'll be using when we start going out on these complaints," said Champagne. "We're not fining people at this point."

The complaints are on file, and if health officials get more complaints about bars already on the list, they plan to crack down.

"We have a record of everyone we deal with," Parisi said. "Once it gets beyond this point, there's no courtesy."

Smokers haven't given up their fight.

The New York Nightlife Association held a rally near City Hall in New York City on Thursday that drew about 1,000 bar and restaurant owners and employees.

Audrey Silk, who founded NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (NYC CLASH), said the ban was causing them to lose money, and hurting the workers it was created to help.

NYC CLASH filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York on Wednesday against New York City and New York state, contending both the statewide and New York City smoking bans enacted this year are arbitrary, discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Silk said businesses are hurt because the ones that comply with the ban lose customers to places that don't.

In the Capital Region, bingo halls are expected to be "the big battleground," Champagne said. "The big concern is that one bingo hall will get away with smoking and siphon off customers from bingo halls that are complying with the law."

Benaquisto said he hopes Silk's group and the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association are successful with their lawsuits to stop the ban.

"I would be happy to put a sign in the window," he said. " 'This is a smoking establishment. Enter at your own risk.' "

Unknown - July 27, 2003
        New Yorkers Don't Buy Butts Out Policy
        By Carl Leimer

New York smokers suffered through their first weekend of withdrawals since the empire state banned smoking in all public buildings last week.

Restaurants and bars that used to welcome patrons who light up, are now forced to turn them away.

Steve Parker owns Fat Freddies in downtown Plattsburgh.

He says in the past a typical evening at his bar included customers who drink and smoke.

Now that combination has been severed.

The new law has forced local smokers to deal with their own personal withdrawal symptoms.

"Its put a damper on my weekend plans" said Mackenzie Woodruff.

Smoker advocates aren't taking the news sitting down.

On Thursday, Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment or CLASH, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan seeking to overturn the new law.

The group contends that the sweeping bans in New York are arbitrary, discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Associated Press - July 26, 2003
        Smoking Law Takes Center Stage
        By Michael Gormley

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Under the new state's smoking ban, a New York Knick couldn't fire up an NBA championship cigar in the locker room, hired truckers won't be able to smoke away the miles and a performance of "Twelve Angry Men" might become a lot angrier.

All are among the less obvious effects of the statewide smoking ban.

It's been clear from organized rallies and protests by tavern owners and smokers that the ban, which took effect Thursday, changes the way bars, restaurants and nightclubs operate. But it also affects other walks of life, such as eliminating the remaining smoking lounges in schools for teachers and recasting stage and film performances long shrouded in cigarette smoke.

Stage performances where cigarettes were props, from the gritty play like "Twelve Angry Men" about a tense jury room to the standup comedy of Denis Leary, would have to be smoke-free under the law, said state Health Department spokesman William Van Slyke. Cities and counties could, however, seek waivers for specific shows and theaters, he said.

It may be a tough sell for celebrating athletes and tough-talking artists like Leary, who smokes throughout his "No Cure for Cancer" routines riffing on efforts to ban smoking.

"When a law infringes one of the arts, its almost like denying people their free speech," said Audrey Silk of New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment. "It's like censorship."

But curbing such public displays of smoking could go a long way to the kind of societal change advocates of the smoking ban say is needed to get more smokers to stop and more nonsmokers not to start.

"Now, the image we have of a smoker is the person standing in the rain having a cigarette and that is hardly the glamorous image we had in the '40s and '50s," said Russell Sciandra, head of the Center for a Tobacco-Free New York. "That's going to have a tremendous impact on children's perception of smoking."

A tobacco company's internal memo from 1992, made public in the national settlement with tobacco companies, also found that a ban on smoking in the workplace would reduce average consumption of cigarettes by as much as 10 percent and the quitting rate would increase 74 percent.

Other areas long associated with smoky rooms, however, were already adapting to a smokeless world when the law became effective this week.

San Francisco Examiner - July 25, 2003
        Smoking Armageddon
        Puffers descend on City Hall crime scene.
        By Warren Hinckle

The smokers said they would smell the cordite in City Hall. The anti-smokers, who were rallying around the corner, said smokers can't smell.

New York's City Hall was the setting for a double murder Thursday and competing pro- and anti-smoking rallies at the site yesterday were populated with the curiosity seekers as much as the crusaders.

A frustrated politician shot his would-be rival, and a cop plugged the shooter.

The city's two tabloids assigned, oh, maybe 100 reporters and photographers to cover the carnage in today's papers, which included the requisite file photo of former Supervisor Dan White being booked after he shot Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in San Francisco City Hall in 1978.

A pro-smoking waitress dressed for the heat in a bib for a top was shocked that someone could get a gun into City Hall and kill a city councilman. I told her that when they sneak a gun into City Hall in San Francisco, they shoot the mayor first. "That's what should happen to Bloomberg," she said.

Her name was Lynn and she worked at a joint downtown on First Avenue where she said business had been blown away by the no-smoking ban instituted by the billionaire mayor Bloomberg, who is not seen as a man of the people.

She sported a handmade sign that read: "Let's keep our streets clean of butts and ashholes." She said that business was off in the bar by as much as 30 percent. "We're down to one bartender. There's only one of the old regulars at the bar in the afternoon, when there used to be fifteen, twenty. I don't know where they go. I guess they go home and smoke."

Bloomberg's elitist image as a patrician with a capital P was not helped when cops raided a fundraising party for 9/11 victims at Far Rockaway Beach on the Fourth of July. The party was attended by cops and firemen, Rudy Giuliani people. Police patrolled the beach in Land Rovers and ticketed other cops for drinking beer on the beach, a law no one had heard of. The same weekend, cops let the swell set sip white wine in Central Park with abandon. Bloomberg defended the dual system of law enforcement, saying that it was more dangerous to drink at the beach because people could get drunk and drown in the ocean. He said that he had never heard of anyone drowning in a tuba at a concert in the park. That attempt at wry humor went over the head of most New Yorkers. The class difference in the way Bloomberg enforces the law has not gone unnoticed.

Bloomberg's anti-smoking edict has brought New Yorkers into the streets. They are in the streets at night, in little mobs of smokers standing outside bars to smoke, thereby angering neighbors. They were in large numbers in the park in front of City Hall fulminating against the smoking ban.

The walking wounded of bar owners and waitresses hurting for tips said they were bleeding from their pocketbooks. They said business was off by as much as 40 percent because of Bloomberg's law.

A sparsely populated, pro-smoking rally was favored by the anti-smoking City Hall with a more prominent position near the City Hall steps, where the bodies were taken out yesterday. The anti-smokers had to settle for a lesser location in the park fronting City Hall, a pastoral oasis in a forest of skyscrapers. Incongruously, the gas lights were burning in the heat of the afternoon in 19th-century lamps around the park fountain. But Bloomberg couldn't find $75,000 in the budget to keep the ceremonial lights going at night on the Manhattan bridges.

Thursday was doomsday for New York smokers because a state no-smoking law even stricter than Bloomberg's law went into effect, eliminating some exceptions to the draconian ban that New York City allowed.

In California, it was green-leaning Democrats who mandated there would be no smoking. In New York, it is the Republican Gov. George Pataki and the Republican mayor of New York, who are perceived by the average guy and gal who want to smoke as infringing on individual liberties.

The political fallout could be incalculable, especially for the aloof Bloomberg, who must stand for re-election in two years.

New York Daily News columnist Sidney Zion told the smoking class assembled, "Bloomberg says the no-smoking law works in California so we should do it here. If we had the California recall laws, he'd be out of office by the weekend."

NY Newsday - July 25, 2003
        No More Smoke in Their Eyes
        Mixed reviews for restaurant ban
        By Tomoeh Murakami, Jeremy Boren and Chris Jones

For 63-year-old Augie Iovelli, going to the local pub means exercising his inalienable rights: less life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, more smoke, drink and be merry.

Now that a part of his reason for being has been taken away by a statewide smoking ban that went into effect yesterday, Iovelli feels, well, a little peeved.

"I think the bar is a social place where you ought to be able to sit down and have a smoke and a drink," said Iovelli of Massapequa Park, as he sat with four golfing friends yesterday at a U-shaped bar at the Boulder Creek Steakhouse and Saloon in Syosset.

Like others across Long Island and New York State, Iovelli probably will have to settle for smoking outdoors, at home, or out of state.

Reaction yesterday to the new law was mixed, with businesses uncertain about their future, health advocates ringing in victory and avid smokers seeing the law as infringing on their basic rights.

The law aims to protect the health of workers from secondhand smoke and makes smoking illegal in restaurants, bars and most businesses and public buildings.

A court injunction had blocked similar legislation in Nassau County but the state law supersedes it along with a ban in Suffolk that would have gone into effect in 2006.

Particularly in recent years, smokers have felt under siege as advocacy groups mounted vocal campaigns for anti-smoking laws, in many cases successfully.

As pressures mounted, more have come to see the act of smoking as critical to their individuality and individual rights, and for them, the smoking ban evokes memories of the Boston Tea Party.

"We're looking to preserve liberty and the anti-smoking crowd is trying to take liberty away," said Audrey Silk, founder of New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, which Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in White Plains. The group argues that the ban is unconstitutional.

Others didn't think it was quite so dramatic, seeing smoking as a fundamental exercise rather than a fundamental right.

Cheryl Wood of West Islip, appreciates a skinny cigarette after a meal at T.G.I. Friday's restaurant in Huntington, one of her favorite lunch spots.

Yesterday, however, she "came in looking for the ashtrays, but they were gone. Then I saw the signs: 'No smoking.'"

She added, "At home, I stand outside to smoke. At work, I stand outside to smoke. And now the restaurants. I guess the only place I can sit, relax and smoke is my car."

At the Saloon bar on Beech Street in Long Beach, manager Gay O'Connor lamented that business was lighter than usual yesterday. She has reasons to worry.

"Most people come in to have a smoke and drink after work," she said.

Associated Press - July 25, 2003
        Restaurant owners remain defiant on smoking ban

BATAVIA, N.Y. -- Before county health officials wrote up violation notices against him Friday, restaurant owner Cregg Paul said he would continue to ignore the state's new smoking ban and allow patrons to light up.

But his stance softened hours later, after he received five violations, fining up to $1,000 each. By Friday evening, the co-owner of Center Street Smoke House said he's "not sure" how to handle the ban.

"We're still holding the position we think it's unreasonable," Paul said. "Now we'll fight it in court. We have no intentions of paying the fines."

On Thursday, the first day New York banned smoking in public places and worksites, Paul and his brother and co-owner Scott Paul not only permitted smoking in their restaurant but had women giving away Marlboros.

"Our employees would be in more danger from confronting people to put out their cigarettes than from second-hand smoke," Cregg Paul said.

He said he awaits action on his request for a waiver, and a court date for a hearing on the violations.

The Genesee County Health Department cited the restaurant for allowing smoking in a bar, allowing smoking in a food establishment, allowing smoking in a place of employment, lacking proper "no smoking" signs, and holding a promotion not approved by the state, Paul said.

"They are in violation of the Clean Indoor Air Act in allowing smoking in a place of business," said department Director Chris Szwagiel, who added the restaurant had been warned in advance against defying the ban after officials got wind of its plans.

Szwagiel said his department received numerous complaints from the Smoke House's competitors, who worried complying with the law would put them at a disadvantage.

"We are in the position where we have to do our job and enforce the law so we're going to do that as vigorously as we are allowed to do," Szwagiel said.

Despite the violations, Cregg Paul said he does not regret Thursday's publicized protest. He said he received at least 50 phone calls of support Friday. One man even came to the restaurant to contribute $20 toward the fines, he said.

Post-Standard - July 25, 2003
        Bars look for loopholes to law
        So far, no complaints about smoking inside businesses. Owners of taverns and diners wait and see
        By Mike McAndrew and John Mariani

Can a DeWitt bar that features topless dancers and sells no cigars qualify as a cigar bar exempt from New York's new smoking law?

Diamond Dolls owner Ken Rubin says it can.

Onondaga County officials say it can't.

Thursday afternoon, as the strip-tease dancers strutted on Diamond Dolls' stage, customers smoked with impunity inside the club, which Rubin said he registered with Onondaga County as a cigar bar exempt from the smoking law.

Rubin said he qualified under the law as a cigar bar because cigarette sales accounted for more than 10 percent of his gross sales in 2002.

"I fall through the cracks," Rubin said. "I found a loophole."

But after a Post-Standard reporter called the county Health Department to inquire about Diamond Dolls' status, the bar received a letter from the department informing it that it is not exempt from the smoking law.

"To be considered for an exemption, your establishment must have been primarily a cigar bar prior to 2003," wrote Jean Smiley, Onondaga County's deputy commissioner of health. "While you provided some evidence that you had greater than 10 percent of your sales from tobacco, this in and of itself is not sufficient evidence that your establishment is a cigar bar."

As soon as the ashtrays were removed from Diamond Dolls' bar Thursday evening, many of the customers disappeared, too, according to an employee there.

Rubin said he was willing to sue the county over the issue.

But as New York celebrated its first day as a state where smoking is illegal at virtually every indoor work site, that was one of the few controversies brewing in Central New York.

Health department officials in Onondaga, Cayuga and Madison counties said they received no complaints about smoking inside businesses. Oswego County officials were not available.

"The only calls we've received today are from the media," said Gary Sauda, director of the Onondaga County Health Department's environmental health division.

Are Central New Yorkers obeying the law?

"We certainly hope so," said Don Bowen, a Cayuga County Health Department official.

To protect workers from second-hand smoke, the law prohibits smoking inside every place of employment.

But the law allows smoking in cigar bars that register with their county and can prove in 2002 more than 10 percent of their gross sales were for tobacco products not sold from vending machines.

Awful Al's Whiskey and Cigar Bar — an upscale tavern where customers can buy 90 different cigars — is the only cigar bar registered with Onondaga County, Sauda said.

Under the law, customers and employees can smoke at Awful Al's, Sauda said.

Awful Al's owner, Jerry Wilson, said Thursday his Armory Square business may boom if it's the only place around where it's legal to smoke.

But he said he still thinks the law is bad.

"I don't want to gloat," he said. "The law is a terrible thing. It's going to put a lot of people out of work."

At Doc's Little Gem Diner in Syracuse, where the second-hand smoke occasionally seemed as thick as the pancake batter, the air was clear and the ashtrays were gone Thursday as seven American Cancer Society employees ate lunch there.

"It's really kind of surreal that it's happened. This is something that so many people have waited so long for," said Sherry Tomasky, an American Cancer Society regional advocate, after finishing a Reuben sandwich.

Francis "Doc" Good, owner of the Little Gem, met the cancer society's new patronage with good humor, even though he opposed the law.

"I said, now that you've tasted the fruits of life, I hope it's an everyday occurrence," Good said.

He may need the extra business. If the law slows up trade between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., Good said, he'll have to consider closing at night — an unthinkable notion for an eatery that's run 24 hours a day for so long that previous owners didn't even have door keys to pass on to the current ones.

The law doesn't just apply to restaurants and taverns.

About 17 The Hartford insurance company employees who smoke gathered outside their One Park Place office building at noon Thursday for a puff.

The Pioneer Management Co., which owns One Park Place, shut down the smoking room there Wednesday.

Hartford employee Kathy Wilkinson said smokers are getting a raw deal.

"Now we have to be outside, which isn't bad in the summer," said Pauline Early, a Hartford customer service representative. But she said she dreads going outside to smoke in the winter. "Even in a blizzard, you've got to smoke," Early said.

Non-smokers Frank Brown, of Syracuse, and Tom Satterlee, of Baldwinsville, said they relished the change of atmosphere from cloudy to clear Thursday at P.J. Dorsey's Pub & Grill on Walton Street.

Daily Freeman - July 25, 2003
        Smokers stay away from bars as statewide ban begins
        By Hallie Arnold

But others are taking a wait-and-see attitude about the ban - which took effect Thursday - reserving judgment until patrons get accustomed to the new law.

Steve Slutzky, co-owner of Hickory BBQ Smokehouse on state Route 28 in the town of Ulster, gestured to a row of empty seats at his restaurant's bar during the lunch hour on Thursday - seats that ordinarily would be filled with patrons, he said.

"Normally, there would be a couple of people picking up take-out orders. They'll have a drink and smoke while they wait," he said.

Slutzky said that with the state's shaky economy and the increasing cost of running a restaurant and bar, state lawmakers should have delayed approving the ban, which he believes will cost him business, at least in the near term.

"I expect there will be a hit for a while, but I'm hoping over time it will correct itself," he said. "I just think it's a very poorly planned time, given that the state economy is what it is right now.

"If it was only in this county, I'd probably be more worried, but since it's statewide, people are eventually going to come back," Slutzky surmised.

The state's new Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in most indoor workplaces, including bars, restaurants, public transportation, schools and colleges, company vehicles and indoor arenas. Smoking is allowed in membership organizations run by unpaid volunteers, cigar bars, retail tobacco businesses, some hotel and motel rooms and 25 percent of outdoor restaurant seating areas with no roof.

Like many bars and restaurants, Hickory BBQ has an outdoor deck area, which the owners plan to make more accommodating for smokers.

Waitress Melissa Bakter, a smoker, said that while the ban won't impede her patronage of local nightspots, she thinks others may stay away.

"I think it's a stupid idea," she said. "People don't go to bars to stay healthy. If they're going to bars, they're drinking and killing their liver. If they want to smoke, they can kill their lungs, too."

At Villa Carmella, a diner in Midtown Kingston, a regular customer walked in Thursday morning, as he does most mornings, with a lit cigarette in his mouth.

"We told him, 'Listen, it's a New York state law now, there's no smoking,'" said owner Louis Savva. "He didn't take it too well. He turned around and walked out."

Savva said some of his regulars - who usually sit for a while after they eat, drinking coffee and smoking - left immediately after finishing their meals on Thursday. But he doesn't expect his business to suffer much.

"In a couple of weeks, it'll settle out," he said. "The law is fair to everybody. It doesn't allow someone to allow smoking and someone else not to."

"There's been no problems," said Roula Savva, Louis's wife. "It's going to be fine."

At Tony's Pizzeria on Broadway in Kingston, several people sat at the bar on Thursday, enjoying lunch and frosty pints of beer. A couple of patrons held unlit cigarettes absentmindedly. And when one patron picked up a lighter and appeared as though he was about to light up, his buddies chastised him, then they stepped out together to the deck area behind the restaurant to smoke.

Bartender Stacey Zinger said Tony's usually is packed on Thursday afternoons, but only a few patrons showed up on the first day of the smoking ban.

The smoking customers who did show up were "very good about it," Zinger said of the ban. "They keep going in and out (to smoke), and I have to keep track of their drinks because I'm not sure if they've left or not."

Zinger believes a lot of smokers who are angry about the new law will come back eventually to the establishments they patronized before the edict went took effect.

"I personally like it," Zinger said of the ban, "because by 4 p.m., I can't breathe (from all the smoke. But I think it will hurt business."

As for the notion that smokers can go outdoors to light up, one Tony's customer wondered: "What am I going to do when it's 10 degrees below zero, or in a snowstorm? I'm not going to stand out there to smoke. I'll just go home."

Associated Press - July 24, 2003
        Smoking ban likely to result in many bars closing doors
        By Michael Gormley

ALBANY -- Here's a bar bet: Will taverns follow the state smoking ban effective today? For bars and restaurants who say 85 percent of their customers smoke, the stakes have never been higher.

The expansion of the state's 1989 indoor smoking law applies to the remaining dens where the sight of nicotine-stained fingers wrapped around drink glasses has long been accepted. Proprietors failing to or unable to enforce the ban, which started at 12:01 a.m. today, face fines up to $2,000.

Despite outraged protests over the loss of personal freedoms, threats of boycotts, lawsuits and rallies, quiet compliance has been the result in places where public smoking has already been banned.

"One side of me says civil disobedience might be in order," said Skip Boise, owner of The Tavern in Cortland and past president of a tavern owners group fighting the law. "But at the same time, the law is the law and I've been operating my business since 1969. I don't want one incident to taint my reputation."

Boise, who said the law will cost him customers, is counting on lawsuits filed this week against the state by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association and a smokers' rights group that challenges the law's constitutionality.

"It's not about smoking," said Boise, a nonsmoker. "It's about choice."

The choice for many smokers, based on experience under a similar ban that went into effect in New York City on March 30, is to stay home.

"They are spontaneously boycotting," said Audrey Silk of the New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (CLASH). "They are entertaining at home, or just buying another six pack and staying home where it's more comfortable. It's as though we've lost all our rights as American citizens just because we've made the legal choice to smoke."

That threat has some bar owners feeling like victims as well as enforcers.

"There's a lot of bar owners out there who are going to wait until they get the complaint, wait until the health department comes in and says something," said Darren Cummings, 32, co-owner of the Otter Lodge bar in the Rochester suburb of Brighton. "For me, I've put a lot of work into this place, I'm not going to get fined or shut down for 10 days for a violation."

Cummings said the law will mostly change spending habits.

"Will this law close bars? I guarantee it."

"The people we are hearing from, the many bar owners, they are complying with the law and they are being devastated financially," said Basil Anastassiou of New York Nightlife, a New York City based coalition planning a protest rally Thursday near City Hall.

The law requires no-smoking signs, the removal of ashtrays and reminders to smoking patrons. But the state Health Department urges no confrontations or calls to police. Local and state health departments will enforce the law.

NY Newsday - July 24, 2003
        Smokers Light Up Protest
        By Xiomara Lorenzo

About 1,000 people gathered outside City Hall Park Thursday to protest the statewide smoking ban that took effect at 12:01 a.m.

The rally followed a news conference in which 100 people, many of them aged 15 to 20, argued in favor of the ban, which eliminates smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places.

"You're legislating our lives away," shouted Stefan Levine, 39, during the news conference supporting the smoking ban.

Levine, a non-smoker, was waiting for the start of the protest seeking a repeal of the smoking ban.

"There are no voters here," he said after the news conference, which was organized by the American Cancer Society. "They're all under 18. They don't have people who are passionate about it."

Dan Klotz of the American Cancer Society said the importance of the underage protesters, many of whom can't legally buy cigarettes or drink in bars, at the news conference signaled a desire to lead a healthier lifestyle.

"Tobacco industries put a lot of effort into being attractive to kids," Klotz said.

About an hour later, bar owners, employees and patrons gathered along Broadway and Park Row, many dangling cigars and cigarettes between their fingers and holding up signs that read "Can the Ban."

"This issue isn't about smokers versus nonsmokers," said David Rubin of the New York Nightlife Association, which helped organize the protest against the smoking ban. "We're asking our leaders for a reasonable law that cleans the air and saves jobs and businesess."

According to the association, bars across the city have lost 20 percent to 30 percent of their business since the ban went into affect on March 30.

City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), a critic of the smoking ban, said the law needs to be revisited in an effort to reach a compromise.

"Let's have a real discussion on the issue," he said.

The protest and competing news conference came less than 24 hours after the fatal shooting of Councilman James Davis and Othniel Askew at City Hall, leaving many to wonder if either would be held.

Avella, citing the slaying and praising Davis as a man who worked for all New Yorkers, asked for a moment of silence in memory of his slain colleague.

Donna Shelley, chairwoman of the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City, said her group had considered cancelling the news conference because of Wednesday's shooting, but decided to proceed.

"We want people to realize that there is a larger force," she said. "We felt it was important that there be a response to the other rally and that our voice is heard."

Reuters - July 24, 2003
        New York Bar Owners Protest Smoking Ban
        By Larry Fine

Bar owners, bartenders, pool hall proprietors and people who like to take a puff rallied at New York's City Hall on Thursday to protest a new law that bans smoking in bars and restaurants.

"Can the Ban" was brandished on signs and baseball caps and chanted by hundreds of protesters on the day New York state followed the lead of the city, which barred smoking in indoor workplaces last spring over public health concerns.

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association filed a suit on Tuesday seeking a temporary injunction, but the case is not expected to be heard until later this summer.

Rob Bookman, lawyer for New York Nightlife Association, said his group plans to challenge the city law, enacted amid widespread American disapproval of smoking.

Speakers said the city's law had hurt businesses and employees, and many in the audience shouted approval.

"I own a pool hall and we lost more than 50 percent of our business," said George Nikolakakos, who owns Steinway Billiards in Queens. "How can you pay your bills?"

Sandee Wright, co-owner of Lower East Side bar The Whiskey Ward, told the crowd business was down 35 percent and said, "I'm petrified we will lose everything on account of the ban."

Stephen Helfer said he came from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to do some networking in advance of a similar law being considered back home. "This is public health run amok," he said."

Nightlife president David Rabin said quality of life issues are raised since neighbors are bothered by smokers forced to stand outside clubs and bars to have their cigarettes.

A counter-rally featured youth workers from social services organization Alianza Dominicana carrying signs saying "Freedom to Breathe At Last," in the plaza in front of City Hall.

Post-Standard - July 24, 2003
        Last call for smokey bars
        By Mike McAndrew and John Mariani

The clock behind the bar at Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub & Restaurant hit midnight and owner David Hoyne gave the order.

"Chris," he called to barkeep Chris Tuite, "pile’em all up."

Tuite began scooping up ashtrays around the Armory Square bar. With that, smoking at Kitty Hoynes — and at taverns, restaurants and most other New York workplaces — became history.

New York’s tough new smoking ban went into effect at 12:01 this morning, greeted with celebration from some people, trepidation by others.

"I think it’s great," said Lesley Dolan, of Camillus, as she puffed a Marlboro Light at Kitty Hoynes at 11:20 p.m. "I’ve wanted to quit."

Around the corner at The Limerick Pub, ex-smoker Rick Slowik said he opposes the ban.

"I feel if the bar or restaurant has invested in a good ventilation system so the smoke isn’t hanging around you, then I don’t have a problem," Slowik said.

The law is unconstitutional, bad for business, hard for bar owners to enforce and will pit smoking and non-smoking customers against each other, said Limerick owner John Miles.

A suit by the Empire State Restaurant Association claims the state law is unconstitutional because the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates allowable workplace levels of toxic and hazardous airborne contaminants, including that it cigarette smoke. A state can’t override what OSHA allows, the suit says.

Supporters of the ban say that since OSHA does not regulate secondhand smoke at work sites, the state can.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn is not expected to hold a hearing on the trade group’s request for an injunction against the law before mid-August.

Observer-Dispatch - July 24, 2003
        Starting today, no ifs, ands or butts for smokers
        By Krista Seymour

While cigarette smokers took advantage of their last night of smoking in area bars and restaurants, another group of tobacco aficionados went out in high style at Hotel Utica's "Last Legal Smoke-Out."

"I think cigarette smokers and cigar smokers are two separate entities," said Bill Wheatley, one of the hotel's nearly 40 guests who gathered to sample a variety of leaf-wrapped tobacco delicacies.

The Hotel Utica hosted a three-course cigar dinner on the last night before the state's expanded Clean Indoor Air Act, with few exceptions, swept tobacco products away from bars, restaurants and workplaces.

New York, the third state in the nation to pass this type of act (after California in 1998 and Delaware in 2002), now obliges patrons to file complaints with local health departments against establishments where they see people smoking.

"I expect a lot of calls initially, but we're not taking anonymous complaints," said Susan Batson, of the Oneida County Health Department's environmental office. "We're asking people to validate the complaint, potentially sign an affidavit or even attend a hearing."

Under the law, fines begin at $250 and go up to $1,000 in Oneida County, a county run autonomously. In counties run by the state, fines could reach $2,000.

"This is all about snitching," said Audrey Silk, founder of New York City's Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment. "What other law in New York is based on your neighbor snitching on you?"

But advocates believe the law will encourage people to kick the habit.

"We ... have been looking forward to this day for many years," said John Storey of the American Lung Association's northeastern New York region in a statement released Wednesday. "We will continue to fight efforts to roll back this important public health measure and work to help localities implement this law statewide."

The Hotel Utica isn't taking an official stand on the smoking ban, and Jodie English -- director of marking for the hotel -- said event planners viewed the soiree as an ode to what has been.

The hotel, which reopened in April 2001 after years of disrepair, once was host to many a cigar lover, said Bill Moore, director of food and beverage for the hotel. Earlier in the century, he said, there was a cigar shop in the lobby of the hotel, and some guests continue to associate the hotel with cigars.

"We've had some patrons of the hotel who loved to smoke cigars," English said. "We decided to do this for them."

And as those patrons trickled into the Saranac Room Wednesday evening, their appreciation was apparent.

"Cigars are slower, a little more sophisticated," said Mark McElroy of Clinton. "You're not sucking it down to feed an addiction."

Many others agreed, as they discussed the imminent ban while nursing cocktails and beer and waving the exotically-named slow burners.

"I smoke cigars probably every other week," said Scott Millbower of Rome. "You don't smoke a cigar like a cigarette. It's a 45-minute proposition."

Under the new law, some establishments are able to host events such a cigar dinner up to two time per year, and Moore said the hotel is considering making the cigar dinner a bi-annual event.

"We may have wine dinners in the spring and fall, and cigar dinners in the summer and winter," Moore said.

And no one would be happier with that arrangement than those that gathered there Wednesday.

"You don't have to smoke cigars to enjoy this event," said Angela Mannato-Kistner, who owns Angela's Cigar Shop (formerly Factory 370) in New Hartford. "It's a great social event, and the food is always excellent."

While the guests agreed that they attended the dinner to partake in a favorite pastime and socialize with friends, the smoking ban, mere hours away from reality, was a major topic of conversation.

Mannato-Kistner, the lone woman among the dozens of men gathered around embossed cigar boxes, said that the smoking ban infringes on the rights of business owners and consumers.

At Red Lobster on Commercial Drive in New Hartford, the smoking ban was given a test run this past week when remodeling construction eliminated the smoking section. Chris Digiuseppe, who is training to be a bar manager, said when the remodeling is complete, up to 25 tables that would have been designated for smokers would be open for all guests.

"We haven't had a problem yet," he said, gesturing to the people lined up for a table. "We have a family-style atmosphere. Most people comment that they're glad we're non-smoking."

Down the road at Applebee's Bar and Grill, Scott Donlyuk sat on a curb behind the restaurant for a cigarette break from his job as a line cook. Donlyuk, who smokes up to a half a pack a day, said he hadn't even heard about the smoking ban.

"What do you mean, you won't be able to smoke?" he asked incredulously as he finished his cigarette. "Well, I guess I'm not too worried about it. I don't really smoke when I go out."

But it was another story at Hippo's, a pool hall in New Hartford. Victor Conte, Jr., who has worked for his father at the hall for years, just shook his head when a potential patron asked if smoking would be allowed there.

"I can't afford the fine," he said, shrugging as the man walked away.

"He won't be back," Conte said.

He said the county banned smoking at the hall five years ago, and the effect was detrimental to business. Conte said they fought the ban then and were able to allow smoking in a limited capacity, only to face it again now.

"It's not that I lose customers, but I lose time," Conte said. "Now, if they go out three times an hour for a cigarette, at seven minutes each time . . . I figure I lose a third of my business on half of my customers. This will definitely affect business. It's already happening."

Associated Press - July 24, 2003
        Restaurant Owner Defies Smoking Ban, Gives Cigarettes Away

BATAVIA, N.Y. -- Restaurant owners opposed to the state's new smoking ban not only allowed their customers to light up Thursday -- they provided the cigarettes free of charge.

In keeping with the 1940s decor of Center Street Smoke House, cigarette girls handed out smokes to customers Thursday evening to coincide with enactment of the Clean Indoor Air Act.

About 300 people crowded into the 150-seat restaurant during the 7 p.m. giveaway. A couple hours later, many of the remaining 100 customers -- most of them at the bar area -- continued to puff away, said co-owner Scott Paul.

Violators of the Clean Indoor Air Act face fines of up to $2,000.

But no one from the Genesee County Health Department, charged with enforcing the smoking ban in the county, showed up Thursday night, despite the much-publicized protest.

"We made it through tonight anyway," said Paul, a nonsmoker. "Smoke free? We're free smokes."

His brother, co-owner Cregg Paul, also nonsmoker, said he doesn't believe the law is fair to bar owners or that the state Health Department has proven the dangers of second-hand smoke.

"They don't set any standards for second-hand smoke. They haven't given us any evidence," he said.

The brothers are unsure how their protest will continue, but they haven't planned another cigarette giveaway.

"We haven't decided what we're going to do about this law," Scott Paul said. "We don't encourage or discourage smoking. We just find it hard to believe that second-hand smoke is the only thing on the planet that the only safe level of is zero."

The Smoke House is a member of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association. The organization on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the new law. The group argues that a state act cannot supersede federal laws that govern workplace health and safety.

The Genesee County Health Department did not return a call for comment Thursday.

Erie (PA) Times News - July 24, 2003
        Ban really burns some New Yorkers
        By Kimra McPherson

It's not just blowing smoke anymore.

New York's smoking ban takes effect today, snuffing out cigarettes, cigars and pipes in bars, restaurants and other workplaces across the state.

And that has at least some smokers running for the border — or, at least, the state line. Pennsylvania's looser indoor-smoking laws are making the state's bars and restaurants more attractive to patrons in Ripley, Findley Lake and other New York border towns.

"I'll have a beer (here), and when I want to have a cigarette, I'll leave," Jo Anne Raeder said while sipping her drink at the Kelly Hotel in Ripley. "I'll go to Pennsylvania. A cigarette with a beer is relaxing to me."

Enforcement of New York's law will be driven by complaints to local and state health departments, said Mark Stow, assistant director of environmental health services with the Chautauqua County Health Department. Establishments are required to put up a no-smoking sign, and employees are encouraged not to serve customers who refuse to put out their cigarettes, he said.

At first, establishments caught violating the law will be sent warning letters, Stow said. Repeat offenders could face fines up to $2,000.

The goal is to make the air cleaner for people in all workplaces, but Kelly Hotel patron Brenda Lindholme said she doesn't want her state's government interfering with her ability to enjoy a drink and a cigarette.

"I just feel like it's one more way they're trying to control me," she said.

Roger Thies, a North East resident who often rides his motorcycle up to the Kelly Hotel and other bars in New York, said he'll stay in Pennsylvania or go to Ohio rather than put out his cigarettes.

"I can't smoke at these places I stop at," he said. "I'm less inclined to come here."

At the French Creek Tavern just south of Findley Lake, Carl Phelps said he had mixed feelings about the law. A former three-pack-a-day smoker who had his last cigarette 30 years ago, Phelps has trouble breathing in smoky rooms. But ventilation systems and separate nonsmoking rooms were sufficient, he said. Keeping others from smoking goes a step too far, he added.

"The people who smoke should have rights, too," he said.

CNS News - July 24, 2003
        Smokers, Business Owners Unite Against NY Smoking Ban
        By Jeff McKay

Smokers are fighting back against New York's new and stringent smoking ban, which takes effect Thursday, by launching two lawsuits in an attempt to reduce to ashes the ban critics call unconstitutional and discriminatory against smokers.

In March, Republican Gov. George Pataki signed into law a smoking ban that mirrored New York City's prohibition on smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars. The new law would place New York alongside California and Delaware as states with the nation's toughest anti-smoking laws.

Pataki signed the bill into law after the measure was approved by the GOP-led Senate 57-4 and the Democrat-dominated Assembly 96-44.

Now, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, which claims that 85 percent of its restaurant and bar patrons smoke, has filed suit seeking a temporary injunction against a law.

Among their arguments is the claim that the Occupational Safety and Health Act currently regulates a worker's exposure to components in secondhand smoke, meaning the New York law would supersede federal law.

The New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (NYC CLASH) has also filed suit, claiming the law is discriminatory in nature.

"This law obviously discriminates against smokers," said Audrey Silk, founder of NYC CLASH. "The people who smoke seem to have been forgotten, and this lawsuit is a chance for the people to be heard."

Under the new statewide law, smoking is prohibited in all places of employment and commerce, including restaurants, bars, public transportation centers, taxis, state-owned vehicles, schools and school grounds, indoor arenas and bingo facilities other than those located on Indian reservations.

Employers would also not be allowed to provide workers smoking break rooms since that would violate the indoor ban.

Penalties for violations by bar and restaurant owners along with commerce establishments would begin at $1,000 per violation, per day.

Smoking will continue to be allowed in privately owned cars, private homes, outdoor stadiums in designated areas only and designated hotel and motel rooms.

Outdoor areas of restaurants where there is no roof can set aside 25 percent of their outdoor space for smokers, and cigar bars established before Jan. 1 where tobacco products account for at least 10 percent of sales may have a smoking area.

Proponents of the ban believe it will protect patrons and employees of establishments from secondhand smoke.

Since Pataki first signed the bill, business owners have shown displeasure with a law they claim with drive customers from their establishments. Recently, storeowners who have lottery machines turned their machines off in a coordinated show of unity against the smoking ban.

Lottery officials report that the "Quick Draw" protests, named after the lottery game, cost the state over $1 million in lottery ticket sales.

In upstate New York, where bingo is popular, critics expect bingo halls will lose 20 to 30 percent of their business when the ban goes into effect.

Anti-smoking activists dismissed the arguments of smokers and their lawsuit. "Their (Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association) suit is groundless. The law will stand. If anything, this is simply a public relations exercise," said Russell Sciandra of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York.

Manhattan Assemblyman Alexander Grannis, who sponsored the law, was unavailable for comment.

In Manhattan, where the ban is already in place, reaction is mixed to a statewide ban.

"It really doesn't bother me. I have no problem with smoking outside here or anywhere else," said Christine Lassiter of Manhattan. "I can understand that nonsmokers don't like the smoke. I smoke because I like to."

"I don't go out as much as I used to. If I can't smoke where I spend my money, then why should I go there," asked Alex Maldonado. "I think the ban is wrong. Telling us where we can and cannot smoke is wrong. This is not what our country's about. What's next...no smoking in your own bedroom?"

MSNBC - July 24, 2003
        Smoking ban goes into effect
        Lawsuits say new law is unconstitutional
        By Lindsay Cohen

ALBANY, N.Y., July 24 - For bar and restaurant owners who say 85 percent of their customers smoke, the stakes are high with the state's new smoking ban. The ban went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. Proprietors failing to enforce the ban face fines up to $2,000.

EXCEPTIONS TO the rule include private homes not used for day care, designated hotel rooms, tobacco retailers and certain cigar bars.

"Very simply, you will not be able to smoke anywhere in a place in New York State, period. If you are able to, you are most likely not in compliance with the law, period," explained Dr. Michael Caldwell of the New York Association of County Health Officials.

Two groups have filed lawsuits, contesting the constitutionality of the ban.  The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association says it would support a ban that isn't as vague as this one and doesn't attempt to supersede laws established on a federal level.

"We support a state law to protect the public health but also support business -- one that would ban smoking in dining rooms but would continue to permit smoking in bars," Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association Director Scott Wexler said.

The "NYC CLASH" -- Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment -- says it will sue on constitutional grounds.  Audrey Silk is the founder of CLASH. She says the ban discriminates against smokers as a class of people.

Those who filed the lawsuits point to case studies where similar smoking bans have been enacted.  They say bars and restaurants there have lost thousands in revenue each month.

Those who support the ban say those studies are biased.

Midhudson News - July 23, 2003
        Smokers’ rights group sues State, New York City over smoke ban

NYC CLASH, a smokers’ rights group, yesterday filed suit in federal Southern District Court in New York against both New York City and the state, contending that the bans against smoking recently adopted in Albany and Manhattan are arbitrary, discriminatory and unconstitutional. The state’s new smoking ban takes effect tomorrow.

The group said there are two million smokers in New York City and four million smokers in New York State.

"There is no rational basis for any of these laws," said NYC CLASH founder, Audrey Silk, "and they obviously discriminate against smokers, as a class. The people who smoke seem to have been forgotten and this lawsuit is a chance for the people to be heard."

The lawsuit, filed by the group's attorney, Kevin Mulhearn of Rockland County, asserts that the laws, which prohibit smoking in virtually all privately owned establishments in the state ("with the exception--so far," Silk said, "of private homes") violate the fundamental rights of all smokers as described in the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Among the rights, granted to all citizens, are the unabridgeable right to enter into contracts, the right to free assembly and free association, and the federal guarantees of both equal protection and due process, she said.

"It's as though," Silk said, "we've lost all our rights as American citizens just because we've made the legal choice to smoke. In fact, the only right these laws want to leave us is the right to pay taxes."

Mulhearn is also representing the Tavern and Restaurant Owners Associations in Dutchess and Orange Counties in lawsuits against those county no-smoking laws.

NY Newsday - July 23, 2003
        Pro-Smokers' Groups Attack Ban
        By Dionne Searcey

Two groups representing smokers and bar owners are launching court fights to try to block Thursday's statewide ban on indoor smoking in most public buildings and businesses.

Bolstered by an injunction in early June that halted a similar ban in Nassau County, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association hopes to delay — and eventually kill — the sweeping state ban on indoor smoking meant to protect the health of patrons and workers from secondhand smoke.

The law is stricter than the current New York City law, which allows for smoking rooms under certain conditions if there are no workers present. The state law supersedes less stringent local smoking bans, but municipalities are allowed to enforce their own laws if they are stricter than the state's.

The restaurant group, which represents 5,000 tavern and restaurant owners, joined six New York City bar-owner plaintiffs suing to overturn the new law Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Syracuse. The group plans to seek a temporary injunction today to block the law before it can take effect.

"Our motivation is to protect our members from the disastrous economic impact of the state smoking ban," said the group's spokesman, Scott Wexler.

Also, New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, a smokers rights organization, plans to seek a similar injunction to block the state law as well as the city smoking ban. Kevin T. Mulhearn, the group's lawyer, said he would file suit today in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to overturn both laws.

Opponents of the ban also are planning a protest rally at City Hall tomorrow at 1 p.m. to coincide with the scheduled start of the state ban.

The smokers rights group plans to argue in its suit that the city and state bans "are arbitrary, discriminatory and unconstitutional," Mulhearn said.

Gannett News Service - July 23, 2003
        Suit fights smoke ban law
        By Yancey Roy
        Journal Albany bureau

A coalition of bar owners filed suit Tuesday to block a statewide smoking ban about 34 hours before it takes effect, saying it violates due process and equal protection guarantees in the U.S. Constitution.
The ban on smoking in restaurants and bars is unconstitutionally vague and is pre-empted by federal laws, argued the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, a lobbying group. It filed suit in federal court in Syracuse to halt the law, which becomes effective at midnight tonight. It also asked the court to suspend the law until the lawsuit is settled.

But the law will probably take effect on schedule, since the group doesn't expect the court to decide this week on its request for an injunction.

Among other things, the group claimed state law cannot override federal workplace safety laws, which regulate exposure to secondhand smoke. Workers' safety was cited by lawmakers as a driving force behind the smoking ban.

Smokers' rights cited

Meanwhile, a smokers' rights group announced it will file a similar lawsuit today in a Manhattan federal court.

''Our constitution affords everyone equal rights, where the majority doesn't tyrannize the minority,'' said Audrey Silk of NYC CLASH (Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment). ''We're speaking up for equal protection.''

The tavern owners said they would lose business if smoking is outlawed in their establishments.

''We support the adoption of a reasonable law that protects the public health while providing business with the ability to accommodate all of its customers,'' Bill Leudemann, president of the tavern association, said in a statement. ''We have identified several flaws in the new state smoking ban law that we believe will lead to the court overturning the law.''

Gov. George Pataki, who approved the ban, disagreed.

''I signed the legislation because I thought it was constitutional and I still think it's constitutional,'' he said.

Anti-smoking groups likened the lawsuit to a ''Hail Mary'' play in football, or a last-gasp long shot.

''It's an act of desperation with little hope of success,'' said Donald Distasio, CEO of the eastern division of the American Cancer Society. ''We are confident this injunction won't be granted and that all New Yorkers will breathe a little easier starting this Thursday.''

Ottaway News Service - July 23, 2003
        Last-ditch effort made to can smoking ban
        By John Milgrim

Albany – A state tavern owners' association filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday hoping to overturn the statewide smoking ban that's due to begin Thursday.

Although the lawsuit is unlikely to delay the ban from taking effect, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association is looking to the courts to declare the smoking ban unconstitutional.

"It's a last act of desperation with little hope of success," said Donald Distasio, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society's eastern division. "Today's action by friends of the tobacco industry is the equivalent to a Hail Mary play in football."

Come Thursday, smoking in virtually all public places, like bars, bowling alleys and office buildings, will be illegal. The law, known as the New York Clean Air Act, was pushed as a way to protect employees from the effects of second-hand smoke.

The Restaurant and Tavern Association's lawsuit, however, said Congress passed a law in 1970 giving the federal government ultimate authority over workplace safety. They also say the law is "unconstitutionally vague" because it doesn't specifically say where smoking is permitted and where it is not.

Gov. George Pataki said he's not concerned about the challenge.

"I signed the law because I thought it was constitutional, and I still think it is constitutional," he said.

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office will represent the state in the lawsuit.

The Restaurant and Tavern Association has long argued the smoking ban will hurt bar business by driving smokers elsewhere to socialize.

"We support the adoption of a reasonable law that protects the public health while providing business with the ability to accommodate all of its customers," said Bill Leudermann, the association's president.

Scott Wexler, the association's executive director, said about $40,000 has been raised so far for the lawsuit. None of that money, he said, has come from tobacco companies.

Buffalo News - July 23, 2003
        Take it outside
        The state's new smoking ban that takes effect Thursday has advocates celebrating, smokers fuming and bar owners suing
        By Henry L. Davis

It used to be that smokers could always find refuge in one place outside their homes, and that was in a tavern.
Bartenders supplied matches and kept ashtrays clean. A cigarette vending machine sat nearby. It wasn't that long ago when tobacco companies, as part of promotions, offered free cigarettes.

Now, it's over.

With the statewide smoking ban that takes effect Thursday, devoted smokers can keep their usual corner seats but they must put out their butts.

For the anti-smoking forces, the tough new law is reason to celebrate, although the enforcement process isn't altogether clearly defined.

To smokers, many of them fuming, the ban means the end of what to them is one of life's simple pleasures.

"If you don't smoke, then just avoid me. Why penalize people who smoke?" asked Hattie Jones, as she savored a cigarette and a mixed drink on a recent weekend night amid the buzz at Le Club Rendezvous on Main Street.

On another bar stool, Larry Stephens bristled at the state outlawing what he believes should be a matter of choice.

"If I sit next to a woman with cologne I can't stand, I go find a new seat. Nonsmokers should just avoid smoky areas," he said, shaking his head in disgust.

The strict legislation, with few exceptions, leaves smokers with virtually no options but their homes and outdoors. Anti-smoking advocates have even vowed to bring hidden monitoring equipment into bars to ensure compliance with the law.

Public protests planned

Meanwhile, many unhappy bar and restaurant owners are not just taking this on the chin. They and their industry associations plan public protests, lawsuits and voter-registration drives in a last-ditch effort to strike down a ban they view as unfair, intrusive and bad for the bottom line.

"I will follow the law if I have to, but I will fight to the day I go out of business to get it repealed," said Judi Justiana, owner of Judi's Lounge, a 23-year-old pub in Niagara Falls with a cast of regulars who enjoy a smoke with their drink.

"The margins in this business are small," she said. "Even a small decrease in patrons can be very harmful."

In Erie County, the ban replaces an existing smoking ordinance that restricts smoking to certain areas of restaurants and permits smoking in bars with a much stronger set of restrictions that crack down on smoking in virtually every indoor place, including designated company smoking rooms, and even certain outdoor spots.

Smoking bans gathered momentum this year as New York joined California, Delaware and Florida in prohibiting smoking in the workplace, as well as restaurants and bars. Clean indoor air bills were introduced in 35 states this year, according to the Pew Center on the States.

The New York State law is similar to the ban in effect in New York City since April.

Under the new measure, the county could fine bar and restaurant owners $1,000 per violation.

However, officials in the Erie County Health Department, which will enforce the rules, say they do not intend to act like the smoking police. Their plan is to respond to complaints, not actively seek violators, and give the public time to get used to the stricter rules.

"We will use a stepwise approach of education, enforcement and then penalties," said Dr. Anthony Billittier IV, Erie County health commissioner. "Our goal is not to put anyone out of business, not to add insult to injury."

The county mailed advisories this week to 4,000 businesses, published information on its Web site and set up a hotline - 858-2929 - to handle an anticipated flood of complaints and questions from business owners, employees and patrons.

Billittier said bar and restaurant owners must make a good-faith effort to comply with the law.

That means the owners must remove ash trays, post "No Smoking" signs at entrances, ask customers to put out cigarettes, refuse service to people who continue to smoke, and request individuals who don't comply to leave the premises.

What about unruly smokers?

Bar owners have been told to use common sense and call the police.

"We're going to get a lot of calls at first," said Billittier. "But the fact that we already have a strict law in the county will help. People usually follow the rules as time goes on."

Threat seen to livelihoods

Critics aren't so optimistic.

To Lesley Battaglia, the smoking ban is a direct threat to her livelihood.

The third-generation owner of Betty's Grill in North Tonawanda wonders aloud whether the bar she operates with her mother can survive without the presence of smoke. She says the state is interfering in what should be a matter of choice.

"Our fear is that customers will choose to sit home if they can't have a cigarette with a drink," she said.

The tavern is named after her grandmother, who started the business 40 years ago. Today, Betty's Grill is one of those small, neighborhood establishments so common in the region where longtime customers have been visiting regularly for years to talk, sip cold beer and nibble on a roast beef sandwich.

"Our clientele are adults who can make decisions for themselves," she said.

Still, some bar owners are looking forward to the fresh air.

Stan Martin, the genial owner of Le Club Rendezvous, which shares space with the colorful Steel Drums restaurant next door, is that rare tavern owner who supports the statewide ban on smoking.

"I don't expect a totally smooth transition, but this is beneficial for my customers and employees. It's a chance to attract people who might have avoided us," he said.

Martin is so enthusiastic he will celebrate tonight with live music, poetry readings and a countdown close to midnight along the lines of a New Year's Eve ball drop.

"To have smoking and non-
smoking areas in a business is like asking for a no-chlorine section in a pool. It just doesn't work," said Martin, who also works for the state Health Department.

Anti-smoking advocates will be partying with him, at least in spirit.

"This is a huge turning point. The law clears the air for the majority of people who don't smoke and will influence the way we all look at smoking. It will reduce cigarette consumption," said K. Michael Cummings, head of the Division of Cancer Prevention at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

400,000 deaths annually

Cigarette smoking is the single most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, with more than 400,000 deaths annually linked to smoking, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationwide, about 23 percent of adults smoke.

Bar owners will have to be careful during the looming smoke-out.

Mark Travers, a doctoral candidate and research affiliate of Cummings, is visiting establishments with hidden monitoring equipment that can detect levels of dirt and contaminants from cigarette smoke. If he finds high levels, the Roswell Park staffers will publicize the results.

"It's a way of measuring whether the law is being obeyed," Cummings said.

Meanwhile, a new study out of Roswell Park contends there is little evidence that smoke-free regulations previously enacted in New York have harmed the hospitality industry. The research mirrors similar studies elsewhere that have reached the same conclusion.

Bar owners are skeptical. They worry about the reactions of customers like Stephens at Le Club Rendezvous, especially when the weather turns cold and walking outside for a cigarette isn't an attractive option.

"If I can't smoke, there's no reason to come here," he said between puffs. "And, if I don't come here, I save $50 and still smoke."

Poughkeepsie Journal - July 23, 2003
        Bar staffs wait on smokers' reaction
        Official predicts health benefits
        By Anthony Farmer

New Yorkers will be free to eat, drink and work without having to breathe cigarette smoke if a statewide ban on smoking in most public places goes into effect Thursday.

The state Legislature and Gov. George Pataki approved the law this year. It mirrors one in effect in Dutchess County since the start of the year. But in Ulster County, smokers have been free to puff away in most places, including smoking sections of restaurants and at bars.

The state law is being challenged in court by restaurant owners and a smoking rights group.

At McGillicuddy's bar and restaurant in New Paltz, manager Karen Furey fears business could be hurt.

''A bar and smoke go together,'' she said. ''That's how people look at it. People are not going to go in and out to have a cigarette.''

The law prohibits smoking in virtually all workplaces, including bars and restaurants. Smoking will still be allowed in private homes and private vehicles along with a handful of other indoor places.

The law is intended to protect people from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 substances, 43 of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals and many of which are strong irritants, according to reports from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cited by state officials.

Self-enforcing provision

The law requires individual businesses to prevent smoking in their establishments.

Dutchess County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Caldwell said county health inspectors are planning to work beyond normal business hours to make sure business owners are complying with the law.

''We will be out there more when the public is using these facilities, at least for this initial phase,'' he said.

Post Standard - July 23, 2003
        Bars sue state to allow smoking
        Statewide smoking ban goes into effect today at midnight. Two plaintiffs from Syracuse.
        By Mike McAndrew

Six New York taverns - including two in Syracuse - sued the state Tuesday and asked a federal judge to stop authorities from enforcing the new law that bans smoking in all indoor work sites, including bars and restaurants.

The lawsuit - which seeks to block the law statewide - was filed in U.S. District Court in Syracuse because five of the plaintiffs are Upstate bars. The sixth is on Long Island.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn, of Albany, is not expected to rule on the request to block the new law before the smoking ban takes effect at midnight today, said Scott Wexler, executive director of the state tavern association.

Wexler said he hopes that within a few weeks the court will issue a decision that will block the state from enforcing the law.

"We feel the state shouldn't be telling us how to run our business," said Sue Murray, co-owner of Murray's. "Our customers should be able to smoke if they want to. Tobacco is not illegal."

The Legislature passed the

law in March to protect New Yorkers from being exposed to cancer-causing second-hand smoke while working.

New York's law is constitutional and the attorney general's office will vigorously defend it, countered Marc Violette, a spokesman for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Donald Distasio, the chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society's Eastern Division, said the tavern owners' lawsuit "is the equivalent to a 'Hail Mary' play in football. It's a last act of desperation with little hope of success."

The lawsuit claims the state law is unconstitutional because it conflicts with workplace safety standards established by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Those standards were designed to protect workers from airborne contaminants, including second-hand smoke.

OSHA established permissible levels of exposure for hundreds of substances, including the chemicals found in second-hand smoke, according to the lawsuit.

"The law is pretty clear that once a federal standard is in place, a state law can't supplement, supersede or supplant that issue," said lawyer Kevin Mulhearn, of Orangeburg, who represents the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association.

The lawsuit also claims that the state law is unconstitutional because it is vague.

It notes that the law allows county health departments to grant waivers from the smoking ban to property owners who would experience undue financial hardship.

But the state Health Department has ruled that such waivers cannot be granted because the Legislature did not include in the law any criteria for waiver applicants to meet.

Included as an exhibit in the lawsuit is a letter Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Lloyd Novick wrote July 10 to the owner of Mac's Bad Art Bar in Mattydale in which he denied Mac's a waiver from the smoking law.

Dodester's co-owner, Caren Snyder, said Dodester's agreed to be a plaintiff because the law will hurt her bar and other taverns.

"People come here for the entertainment of each other, and smoking seems to be part of it. If they have to go outside to have a cigarette, I believe they won't stay as long," Snyder said.

She said Central New York bars will especially get hurt in the winter when customers will not want to go outside to smoke.

Sue Murray said it is frustrating that she and other tavern owners have to sue the state to get politicians to listen to them.

She said she's not sure why the tavern association invited her bar - out of the thousands of bars in New York - to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff.

"Probably because we're a small bar, and it's just my mother and me that own it," she said.

But she admitted to being nervous about the attention the lawsuit might bring her and her mother, Barbara Murray, who co-owns Murray's.

"We're not limelight people," Sue Murray said. "We're just a neighborhood bar. Nobody knows about us. Now they will."

The other four bars suing the state are Stash's Pub in Lowville, Lost & Found Inn in Tyrone, Tazmond's Pub in Uniondale and Keefe's Tavern in Elmira.

Ithaca Journal - July 23, 2003
        Local bar owners try to stamp out ban on smoking
        Law goes into effect at midnight; Merchants fear for fiscal future
        By Anne Ju

Local bar owners said Tuesday they're supportive of a lawsuit that will seek a court order to forestall Thursday's statewide ban on most indoor smoking in public buildings and businesses.

"I know (the smoking ban) is going to hurt our business," said Pat Massicci, owner of Pete's Cayuga Bar in Ithaca. "We've been hurt enough with other things."

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association will seek a temporary injunction to delay the implementation of the sweeping state ban on indoor smoking meant to protect the health of patrons and workers from second-hand smoke. The association will argue that the state law can't supersede federal law, which governs workplace safety issues.

Meanwhile, a smokers' rights group announced it will file a similar lawsuit today in a Manhattan federal court.

"Our constitution affords everyone equal rights, where the majority doesn't tyrannize the minority," said Audrey Silk of NYC CLASH -- Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment. "We're speaking up for equal protection."

State Health Department spokesman William Van Slyke refused to comment on the legal action reported in Tuesday's New York Post.

Ginger Mosher, who owns Bar Angus in Trumansburg, also said she stands behind the lawsuit, and recently decided to join the tavern association.

"As an owner, I feel that our rights have been taken away," Mosher said. "We encourage our customers to call and protest."

She added that the smoking ban is especially unfair to her business, because Bar Angus has no paid employees.

If successful, the lawsuit could also affect New York City's similar ban on indoor smoking.

Some bar owners plan protest rallies and others threaten to again turn off their Quick Draw lottery machines, which provide revenue to the state. Two previous Quick Draw protests cost the state more than $1 million in sales.

Anti-smoking groups likened the lawsuit to a "Hail Mary" play in football, or a last-gasp long shot.

"It's an act of desperation with little hope of success," said Donald Distasio, CEO of the eastern division of the American Cancer Society. "We are confident this injunction won't be granted and that all New Yorkers will breathe a little easier starting this Thursday."

Democrat & Chronicle - July 23, 2003
        Smokers to court: Delay ban
        By Joseph Spector

Opponents of a statewide smoking ban filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking an injunction to block the law, which goes into effect at midnight Thursday.

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association hopes to stop the state ban on smoking in most public places by arguing that the state law can’t supersede federal law, which governs most workplace safety issues.

“ We have identified several flaws in the new state smoking ban that we believe will lead to the court overturning the law,” Bill Leudemann, the association’s president, said in a news release.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Syracuse, will likely not go before a judge for several weeks, meaning it will not immediately affect the ban, said the association’s executive director Scott Wexler.

Another group, the NYC CLASH — Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment — announced that it also plans to sue on constitutional grounds.

The law bans smoking in roughly 78,000 restaurants and bars statewide, bingo facilities, zoos and indoor areas and workplaces.

The aim is to protect the health of patrons and workers from second-hand smoke, supporters say.

The lawsuit claims that state law is preempted by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which already has standards in place to protect workers from secondhand smoke.

The preliminary injunction motion says businesses will suffer from “ irreparable harm” if the ban goes into effect.

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, funded partly by the tobacco industry, has led the charge against the ban.

A rally by tavern owners is scheduled Thursday at City Hall in New York City. Rochester-area bars took part in two statewide protests by shutting off their Quick Draw lottery machines for a time in May and June, which cost the state more than $1 million.

State Health Department spokeswoman Claire Pospisil had no comment, saying only, “ We expect that people will comply with the law.”

Supporters of the smoking ban said the lawsuit has little chance of success, citing that similar attempts in other states failed. Five states — New York, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware and California — have passed similar smoking restrictions. New York City instituted an indoor smoking ban in April.

The lawsuit seems to contradict a recent decision by OSHA, which in December 2001 said it would no longer regulate indoor smoking because “ most of the activity on workplace smoking restrictions is now taking place at the state and local level.”

“ Today’s action, by friends of the tobacco industry, is the equivalent to a Hail Mary play in football,” said Eileen Wolff, director of community health initiatives at American Cancer Society in Rochester. “ It’s a last act of desperation with little hope of success.”

Associated Press - July 22, 2003
        Bar owners, smokers fight smoking ban
        By Michael Gormley

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Two groups announced lawsuits Tuesday challenging the statewide ban on most indoor smoking in public buildings and businesses scheduled to begin Thursday.

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association filed suit Tuesday and seeking a temporary injunction. The group wants to delay Thursday's beginning of the state ban on indoor smoking meant to protect the health of patrons and workers from second-hand smoke.

The association argues the state law can't supersede federal law, which governs most workplace safety issues. The group also claims the law is unconstitutional because it is "vague" in its description of a potential but unlikely waiver and even in its definition of a bar.

The NYC CLASH _ Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment _ said it would sue on constitutional grounds.

"They obviously discriminate against smokers, as a class," said Audrey Silk, the founder of CLASH that plans to file the suit Wednesday. "The people who smoke seem to have been forgotten and this lawsuit is a chance for the people to be heard."

"What's that?" said Assemblyman Alexander Grannis, who sposnored the law. "The freedom to give someone else a disease? Give me a break." He said there has never been a constitutional challenge to smoking laws in New York at any level.

Gov. George Pataki on Tuesday stood behind the law.

"I signed the law because I thought it was constitutional and I still think it's constitutional," Pataki said. "It's the law of the state ... I would expect everyone to comply with the law."

Tavern owners say they seek a balance because they will lose business.

"We support the adoption of a reasonable law that protects the public health while providing business with the ability to accommodate all of its customers," said Bill Leudemann, president of the association. "We have identified several flaws in the new state smoking ban law that we believe will lead to the court overturning the law."

In December 2001, however, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it was dropping a proposal to regulate indoor workplace smoking because "most of the activity on workplace smoking restrictions is now taking place at the state and local level," according to an OSHA press release.

"The suit is groundless and is more a public relations exercise," said Russell Sciandra, director of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York. As for the suit by NYC CLASH: "They are grasping at straws. The law will stand."

If successful, the lawsuits could affect New York City's similar ban on indoor smoking.

Some bar owners plan protest rallies and others threaten to again turn off their Quick Draw lottery machines, which provide revenue to the state. Two previous Quick Draw protests cost the state more than $1 million in sales.

Niagra Falls Reporter - July 22, 2003
        By David Staba

Ever since New York State lawmakers passed the nation's most restrictive smoking ban, they've artfully danced around one basic question -- how will already cash-strapped counties saddled by Albany with making sure no one smokes in public within their borders get the job done?

In Niagara County, at least, the answer is simple.

They can't.

Restaurant and bar owners who attended one of three meetings sponsored by Niagara County to explain the ban -- scheduled to go into effect July 24 -- got few answers to their questions. They were told that the county wouldn't send out smoking patrols, but instead rely on snitches to call in reports of smoking in bars and restaurants.

"They said they're going to be reactive, rather than proactive," said Judi Justiana, proprietor of Judi's Lounge on Military Road and a leading opponent of the ban. "They'll respond as complaints come in. They say, 'We don't have enough people to go out and check.'"

Undercover inspectors will follow up on complaints, with citations mailed to business owners who never knew they were being inspected in the first place.

If the Niagara County enforcement plan sounds like something out of the files of the KGB, with $2,000 fines replacing extended vacations at the local gulag, neighboring Erie County's approach is decidedly more Gestapo-like.

In Niagara's neighbor to the south, County Executive Joel Giambra is pulling fully half the health department staff off trivial beats like inspecting restaurant kitchens and turning them into smoking police.

While Giambra's approach may avoid the blatant flaunting of the ban that's sure to occur in Niagara County, you might want to order your chicken well-done and run a visual scan for moving, multi-legged ingredients in your salad the next time you dine out in Buffalo.

The obvious inadequacy of each approach underscores the most egregious shortcoming of a law hideously flawed, even by Albany's standards. Your representatives in state government claim they want to protect the health of restaurant and bar workers and patrons, but won't spend a penny to do so.

Meanwhile, a group of local business owners is launching a campaign to make sure voters don't forget that hypocrisy. Justiana said the informal coalition of proprietors that's been campaigning against the ban since its passage has organized under the name Service Industry Ending Government Encumbrance (SIEGE).

Besides challenging the law's constitutionality in court, SIEGE members are planning to launch a voter registration campaign in
conjunction with the Erie County-based Western New York Innkeepers Association, which has about 1,200 members and a 30-year legacy of business advocacy.

"We want to let our legislators know that we're mad about this and are getting our customers registered to vote them out in the next election," Justiana said.

The voter registration campaign kicks off with a rally at 3 p.m. on July 24 at the Erie County Board of Elections building at 134 West Eagle St. in Buffalo.

"Our goal is to activate the largest new voter registration campaign this state has ever seen," Justiana said. "When I called the State Board of Elections Office in Albany the other day, I was laughed at when I asked for a few thousand forms. The lady I was talking to said, 'Honey, if you can get 20 people to register, you can have my job.' I told her she never tried to sign up a bunch of people as MAD as these people are!"

On the legal front, a lawsuit filed by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association is expected to be heard in federal court this week. Association lawyers plan to ask for an injunction to stop the state from imposing the ban until constitutional questions can be considered, but Justiana thinks the no-smoking edict will take effect.

"The ban will definitely be going into effect," she said. "Hopefully, we'll get an injunction eventually -- the Empire Association is
hoping by about Labor Day -- but there will be a period of time that we'll have to deal with this."

In addition to the statewide group's federal case, SIEGE is raising money to fund a lawsuit in state court.

Though the law allows counties to grant waivers if "compliance with a specific provision of this article would cause undue financial hardship," Niagara County Health Department officials told owners that no waivers would be granted until the folks in Lockport can figure out precisely what level of financial hardship they find acceptable.

As one of the point people for the anti-ban movement in the Niagara Falls area, other tavernkeepers regularly seek Justiana's counsel on the issue.

"One guy called and told me he has an 84-year-old woman who comes in every afternoon and has two Seven and Sevens and a couple cigarettes," Justiana said. "He asked me, 'How do I tell an 84-year-old woman she has to go outside?'"

Advocates of the ban, particularly the Erie/Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition, continue to cite misleading surveys to bolster their
dubious claim that chasing away the core of their customer base will somehow help business owners.

But a trip across the river to Niagara Falls, Ont., where public smoking has been outlawed since June 1, reveals a quite different story.

Other factors -- including SARS, travel concerns stemming from the "War on Terror" waged by the United States and a strengthening Canadian dollar -- have made this tourist season the worst in recent memory on both sides of the Niagara. Ontario's smoking ban, though, has been brutal even on establishments that cater to locals.

Several such Niagara Falls, Ont., restaurants and taverns report drop-offs ranging from 40 to 60 percent from the same period last year.

"I know of two places in this neighborhood that have shut down since June 1, and another three that are right on the brink," said one downtown restaurant manager. "They keep telling us that people will come back once they get used to not smoking after dinner or while having a drink, but I don't know if I can last that long."

Justiana said a similar drop-off in Niagara County will wipe out a hefty chunk of the areas' 1,500 licensed establishments and hundreds of restaurants that don't serve alcohol.

"You can't stay in business with those kinds of numbers," she said. "We're all working on a very narrow margin to stay in business -- a 10 percent loss would put a lot of us on the brink. Forty to 60 percent? Those kinds of numbers are devastating."

Several local proprietors who requested anonymity, for obvious reasons, said they plan to continue business as usual and take their chances, while others will try to follow the law as long as it remains on the books. But less than a week before "Smoke-Free New York" becomes a reality, the majority weren't quite sure what they were going to do.

"I guess I'll worry about that Thursday," said one.

In a bit of a twist, the businesspeople most vocal in their opposition to the smoking prohibition are among the most likely to
abide by it, for fear they'll be targeted first.

"I'm very high-profile, and I'm not a lawbreaker," Justiana said. "I intend to cooperate with this, but I will fight until the day I go
out of business or the day this gets repealed. When other owners ask me what to do, I tell them, do whatever you have to do to survive. In the meantime, I tell them to get active and help get this thing overturned."

NY Newsday - July 21, 2003
        Smoking Ban Heat
        Opponents to protest when state law kicks in
        By Herbert Lowe

One of the nation's toughest smoking bans takes effect statewide in New York on Thursday, eliminating two exemptions from the four-month-old city restrictions.

But several groups representing hundreds of bar and tavern owners and employees say they still hope to keep the state law, which supersedes the city ban, from ruining their businesses and disturbing residents.

"There's very little advantage from the law," said David McWater, who co-owns three bars and taverns on Avenue A in Manhattan. "But there's tons of lost business."

A rally against the state ban is set for 1 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, and McWater and other organizers say they expect hundreds of protesters to attend.

Many bars and taverns in Manhattan have lost between 20 percent and 40 percent of their business since the city's ban took effect March 30, said David Rabin, president of the New York Nightlife Association, and another organizer.

"We're not just trying to make a point," Rabin said. "This is the beginning of a concerted six-month effort to demonstrate to the Legislature that the ban as conceived is poorly thought out and that there needs to be reasonable compromise between the health advocates and the economic and quality-of-life impacts that have resulted from the ban."

The state ban goes further than the city's in that it prohibits smoking in separately ventilated rooms or spaces with air-decontamination systems, and eliminates the exemptions for establishments run by the owners.

Ed Skyler, spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, disputed another contention that the city ban has not provided a better working environment for bar employees, because, the owners say, the majority of bartenders smoke anyway.

"As far as the state ban goes, it will prevent people from losing business to Nassau County or Westchester," Skyler said. "And there's absolutely no evidence that business is down because of the ban."

Lee Seinfeld, who owns three bars on the Upper East Side, disagrees.

"Any chance I had of selling one of my bars to an owner-operator is gone now," Seinfeld said.

Times Union - July 20, 2003
        As smoke ban nears, defiance builds
        Thursday deadline for enforcing statewide law in establishments brings out a range of reactions
        By Andrew Tilghman

With a generic-brand cigarette in one hand and a purple bingo marker in the other, 63-year-old Johnny Ray Place of Schenectady sounded more like a revolutionary than a retired nurse as she denounced the new law that will bar her from smoking at the Bingo Palace on Central Avenue in Schenectady.

"This is a country where we ask our young men to go fight for freedom. How can they take ours away?" Place said, seated along a row of silver-haired bingo players, where smoke unfurled from dozens of cigarettes into a cloud beneath the yellow ceiling lights.

"If I want to smoke myself to death, that's my choice," the 92-pound woman, who boasted of having smoked through seven pregnancies, said shortly before grinding a butt in a tin ashtray.

A sweeping statewide ban on smoking -- some call it a new Prohibition -- takes effect on Thursday, when ashtrays must be removed and no-smoking signs posted in bars, restaurants, banquet halls, bowling alleys, bingo parlors and any other establishment where someone works for tips or wages.

Nearly 40 years after the U.S. surgeon general issued the government's first warning about smoking in 1964, New York's new law advances a social movement that has marginalized the 23 percent of New York adults who smoke today.

The law heralds an unimaginable change for many people, like the 20-somethings at a recent happy hour at Bombers on Lark Street in Albany, who cannot conceive of booze with no cigarettes.

"They go together like peanut butter and jelly," said John Deitz, a 22-year-old unemployed restaurant worker from Albany. "Every time I take a sip of beer, I want a drag of a cigarette." Deitz said as he drank his tap beer and let a tiny string of smoke climb, fade and vanish into the stale air.

Bartenders and bouncers said they dread enforcing the ban on the most reluctant -- or inebriated -- customers.

"The sixty-four-thousand-dollar question for bar owners is, 'What happens when I tell the person to put their cigarette out and they don't do it?' " said Scott Wexler, executive director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association.

A core group of bar owners is preparing a federal lawsuit challenging the state law as unconstitutionally vague, an interference with interstate commerce and an unfair deprivation of property rights without compensation, Wexler said.

"For the business owners who think the smoking ban is going to devastate their business, they are going to do everything they can to not have their businesses devastated," Wexler said.

Exemptions to the latest smoking ban will include Indian casinos, cigar bars that can prove 10 percent of their revenue comes from tobacco, hotel rooms, uncovered patios, retail tobacco stores that do not serve alcohol, and membership clubs where no one is employed.

Proprietors may build outdoor decks to accommodate smokers, but Wexler said he was not aware of any place where that has been done.

At Jack's Oyster House, Arnold Rosenbaum, who has owned the State Street landmark for more than 50 years, said he supports the smoking ban. His restaurant, which caters to the Capitol's politicians and power brokers, only has a few smoking tables that will have to go.

While he said the law won't affect his business, he questions the need for the statewide regulation.

"If I do not take care of my customers' needs and demands, I'll go out of business. I don't need the government to come in and tell me," Rosenbaum said.

Democrat & Chronicle - July 20, 2003
        Bar owners brace for ban on smoking
        Many believe that new state law will put them out of business
        By Joseph Spector

When patrons express disgust about the state’s new smoking ban, bar owner Joe Pizzo nods and hands them a petition to sign and a list of state legislators to call.

Pizzo admits his efforts have little chance of changing the law effective Thursday, which bans smoking in most public places, including bars and restaurants.

Yet he feels the need to do something — especially because he’s convinced that the ban will keep customers home and put his Lyell Avenue watering hole out of business.

“ The economy is about as bad as it’s been in our lifetime,” said Pizzo, owner of Smokin’ Joe’s Bar and Grill. “ Why would (the state) do something to hurt businesses?”

The smoking ban is igniting a heated debate as the final days to puff away quickly approach. Bar owners and customers in Rochester and across the state are divided over the impact of the law, and a pending lawsuit threatens to put the ban on hold.

On one side, people see how New York City’s ban, which began April 1, has produced critics who say the ban is hurting the hospitality industry. They point to clumps of smokers who stand outside bars and clubs, filling neighborhoods with noise, garbage and clouds of smoke.

It will be months before the smoke settles to know who is right. But some bar-goers are already vowing to stay home to light up.

“ The nonsmokers have choices, but what about us?” said Sandy Bianchi, 39, of Gates, as she lit a cigarette recently at the corner of Pizzo’s bar. “ I’d love to wake up tomorrow and have the whole world the way I’d like it, but that’s not realistic.”

The effects elsewhere

Despite the studies, New Yorkers remain split over the effect here, where about 23 percent of the population smokes, according to the American Lung Association.

Some people point out that California’s warmer climate makes a smoking ban more manageable because restaurants are more likely to have outdoor patios, and smokers are less bothered by having to step outside for a cigarette.

In New York City, the smoking ban has created an array of problems, including the death of a bouncer who was stabbed two weeks after the law became effective when he told two patrons to put out their cigarettes.

Some bar owners in New York City estimate that sales are down 20 percent to 40 percent and report having to lay off workers. And bar owners argue that most studies that show increased profits after a smoking ban were done before the economy began to sour in late 2000 and before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“ The results are worse than what we anticipated,” said David Rabin, co-owner of the Manhattan club Lotus and president of the New York Nightlife Association. “ Everything we suspected might happen has happened.”

Smoking out smokers

The Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association, supported by the tobacco industry [LIE], fought to have the New York law altered to allow bars and restaurants to install smoking rooms. The bill was introduced late in the spring legislative session but didn’t receive enough support.

As a result, the restaurant association plans to file a lawsuit this week, opposing the ban and seeking an injunction to suspend the law. A similar effort was successful in Nassau County, where a federal judge last month issued a preliminary injunction that put enforcement of a workplace smoking ban on hold. The association this month began a campaign in bars and restaurants to help fund the lawsuit and lobbying efforts. Customers can sign “ Ballots for Freedom” for $1 and post them on walls. The group hopes to raise $500,000.

“We expect by the end of the day that the law will be thrown out and deemed null and void,” Scott Wexler, the association’s executive director, told a group of Rochester bar owners last week huddled at Christanis Bar and Grill on Elmgrove Road.

The bar owners at the meeting, sitting near signs such as “ No Smoking, No Jobs” and “ Butt out of my business,” voiced concern about implementation of the law. They fear losing their liquor license or facing steep fines if they can’t get customers to abide by the law.

Gerry Cardinale, owner of Playmates International, the only strip club in Genesee County, said he would need to hire more bouncers to monitor the club’s parking lot because patrons will be hanging around outside smoking.

According to New York’s law, state health officials can fine bar and restaurant owners up to $2,000, while counties can fine up to $1,000. Customers who violate the law can also face civil penalties, but health officials said the business owners ultimately would be held responsible.

Still, Ricci said owners who are abiding by the law yet can’t control unruly customers shouldn’t be concerned. “ Business owners who are doing the right thing don’t need to be worried about us using some heavy-handed fine structure to penalize them,” Ricci said.

The Journal News - July 19, 2003
        Westchester bars, restaurants decry smoking ban
        By Keith Eddings

Six weeks after a near-total ban on smoking in the workplace took effect in Westchester, the battle over the issue reignited yesterday when about 40 owners and employees of several local bars and restaurants met with county legislators to describe the economic damage they say the ban has done and to push for its repeal.

The legislators didn't budge, nor did County Executive Andrew Spano, who signed the bill banning smoking. Spano said through a spokesman that he did not expect a repeal would ever arrive on his desk.

"It's premature for anyone to announce an economic hardship when the new law has not even been in effect for a month," said Deputy County Executive Larry Schwartz. "The silliness of it is that even if we eliminated the law today, you'd still have the state law. So what would that accomplish?"

On March 3, the Westchester Board of Legislators voted 12-3 to ban smoking in virtually all workplaces. Three weeks later, the state Senate and Assembly voted by equally lopsided margins to enact a similar statewide ban.

"We're unhappy with both, and we intend to fight both, in the courts and in the legislative elections coming up in the fall," Dennis Gallagher, manager of the Willett House Restaurant in Port Chester and a director of the Westchester and Rockland chapter of the state Restaurant Association, said about the county and state bans. He estimated that business was off $50,000 at the Willett House in June based on the drop in the tips he said his staff received, but he would not disclose the restaurant's cash register receipts for the month.

NY Sun - July 16, 2003
        Unions To Join Smoke Ban Protest

Two New York City based locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers are joining a campaign to roll back the recently enacted ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.

The unions, which represent about 9,000 members involved in distributing wine and liquor, will join groups representing restaurant and bar owners in a rally outside New York's City Hall next Thursday, the day a statewide smoking ban goes into effect.

A local law has restricted smoking in New York City since March.

The president of UFCW Local 2D, Vincent Fyfe, said his members are suffering along with the bars and restaurants, which report losing from 10% to 40% of their business. "When they do less business, they order less, which affects my people's
pockets," Mr. Fyfe said.

Also next week, restaurant and bar owners plan to file a federal lawsuit challenging the state ban. The executive director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, Scott Wexler, said the suit will argue that the ban interferes with interstate commerce, that it unfairly deprives business owners of their property rights, and that parts of it are unconstitutionally vague.

Associated Press - July 11, 2003
        Study: Smoke-free Good For Biz; Owners Doubt It
        By William Kates

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- John Stage would like to believe the state smoking ban that goes into effect later this month won't hurt business at his popular restaurant and bar.

It's just that experience tells him otherwise.

"It's disrupting people's habits, and any time you take something away from someone, it's going to cause a storm," said Stage, co-owner of Dinosaur Barbecue, a downtown eatery that serves bikers and businessmen and has even hosted President Bill Clinton.

A new study published in the Cornell (University) Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly contends there is little evidence that smoke-free regulations previously enacted in New York have harmed the hospitality industry as a whole.

NYC C.L.A.S.H. Note:  This is not a "new" study in the sense that it presents anything new in terms of data.  It's only "new" because it was published in June 2003.  Other than that, it rehashes (with skewed data) smoking ban effects on business before the NYC and NYS bans went into effect.

Stage, though, said he is taking a wait-and-see approach before he puts any stock in such findings. Beginning July 24, a new state law takes effect prohibiting smoking in virtually all work sites and public places, including bars and restaurants.

"Every business is unique. If I don't know what to expect, I don't know how they can know," Stage said.

The study was undertaken by researchers with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. They examined changes in state taxable sales and employment records in restaurants and hotels at five areas that have introduced smoke-free dining regulations since 1995: Erie, Monroe, Suffolk and Westchester counties and New York City's five boroughs treated as a single jurisdiction.

New York City's original law took effect in 1995 but applied only to restaurants with more than 35 seats. In April, the city extended the prohibitions to almost all restaurants, bars and public places _ which was the model for the state law.

Researcher Andrew Hyland said the economic review was an outgrowth of past studies on the health risks of second-hand smoke exposure.

"It's always the primary argument you hear from those opposed to smoking restrictions _ it will be bad for business," Hyland said. "Our results, however, conclude that smoke-free regulations do not cause declines in sales and employment in the hospitality industry."

Comparing one year before the restrictions to one year afterward, the study found that per-capita hotel sales rose in all five jurisdictions by 2.9 percent to 31.6 percent. Per-capita eating and drinking sales increased in three of the five areas from 0.5 percent to 7.1 percent. Eating and drinking sales were down 9 percent in Suffolk County and 9.8 percent in Westchester County.

The study also showed that overall, the annual payrolls in dining and lodging establishments in the test counties increased following the implementation of smoke-free regulations, even after adjusting for inflation, Hyland said.

As part of their analyses, researchers considered all the counties in New York and conducted 25 county-specific statistical tests, Hyland said. Out of that number, only three were associated with decreased business, while seven were associated with increased business and 15 showed no association, he said.

"The data show that smoke-free regulations are not bad for business," the researchers wrote. "Many other factors appear to affect the hospitality industry, including the general economic environment and secular changes in travel and dining behavior."

Scott Wexler, spokesman for the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, was critical of the study, questioning the source and faulting what he called "questionable science."

By taking an industrywide overview, the researchers masked the negative impact on individual businesses, Wexler said. Additionally, the study was skewed because the collective data examined by the Roswell researchers also included businesses exempt from smoke-free regulations, he said.

"They say all we have are opinions and anecdotes but you can make numbers do whatever you want," Wexler said.

As an example, Wexler offered a different perspective on the 25 county-specific statistical tests, noting that only seven tests suggested increased business _ less than one third of those conducted.

"To me, that says 18 tests were not positive," Wexler said.

Michael Collins, 38, quit his job as a data processor three years ago to open Pfohl's Tavern in Syracuse. He fears the new smoking ban will put him out of business.

"It's fine to say the net effect of smoke-free regulations is that it won't hurt the industry," said Collins, a nonsmoker.

"My customers, though, are telling me a different story. I'm anticipating a huge dampening effect. Maybe 40 percent of my business," Collins said. "It's really going to rock me."

WOKR13.TV - July 9, 2003
        Bingo Players Decry Smoking Ban

Greece, NY - As part of the statewide ban that makes it illegal to smoke in bars and restaurants, smoking will also be banned from bingo halls starting July 24.

One hall in Batavia has already decided to shut down on July 23. Others are going to see how bad the impact is--they hope the state legislature makes changes to the ban when lawmakers return from their recess.

Bingo halls expect to lose at least 20 to 30 percent of their business once the ban takes effect.

Player said the ban doesn't make sense as smokers are already separated from non-smokers.

Lorraine Walker, a non-smoker, plays bingo in Greece.

She said, "Here, they're in a separate room, different from us. The smoke isn't interfering in anything I do, and I'm not subject to it."

Several years ago, Monroe County required all bingo halls to create separate sections for smokers and non-smokers. It cost one hall almost $ 200,000 to build a divider and put in a new ventilation system.

Volunteers now say that the new ban means that money was wasted.

Don Kruppenbacker, a bingo chairman in Greece, said, "This is money that our organizations put up front to hope to keep money to keep our schools in business. Now they're telling us we wasted it."

Donna Stahovic said she plays bingo every single night and while she plays, she smokes. Stahovic said she's smoked for 55 years and that she's tried everything--pills, patches, hypnotism--to help her quit.

Stahovic said now she may have to quit bingo and she's not alone. Workers at Bingo World in Greece say they've heard dozens of players say that they will stop coming to the hall once the ban takes effect.

The Independent - July 8, 2003
        Smoke ban brings grumbles, shrugs
        By Kristin Shaw

E.GREENBUSH--Owners and managers of local restaurants and bars are split on the question whether the new no-smoking law will hurt their businesses.

The Clean Indoor Air Act of the Public Health Law prohibits smoking in public and workplaces to protect employees and the public from secondhand smoke, beginning July 24.

At Quigley's Restaurant, 593 Columbia Turnpike, owner John Walsh said he has a non-smoking dining room. Smoking is allowed only in the bar area. He thinks the new law will keep some people away. "I've never had a problem or a complaint," he said. "I think this law is unjustified and I'm not too happy with it." Mr. Walsh said he hopes lawmakers will take a look at the law this fall and modify it. "Smoking is not illegal," he said. "The government wants the tax money from cigarettes and alcohol but are cutting off major revenues by passing this law." Mr. Walsh said even his non-smoking customers are upset the government is adding yet another layer of bureaucracy to everyday life.

"We are not a retirement home or a supermarket," Mr. Walsh told The Independent. "We are a restaurant and a bar where people come to unwind, have a drink and maybe a cigarette."

Adding Health Department employees to enforce the new law will also cost the state more money, according to Mr. Walsh. The Health Department will follow up on complaints and conduct spot checks of businesses to see if they are complying with the new law.

Craig Hilton, manager of the Ground Round on Route 4, said he thinks the new law will definitely have a negative impact on business.

A representative of Rensselaer Elks Lodge #2073, 683 Columbia Turnpike, who asked not to be identified, said smoking is currently allowed in the entire building.  "I don't know if it will cut into business," he said. "If someone wants to go out and socialize and have a couple drinks, I think they'll come and go outside to smoke. If it has an effect, I hope it's a short-term thing."

Smokers in two area bars said the new law will have an impact on their decisions to go out. "If I want to go out to dinner, I'll go, because I usually don't smoke during a meal anyway," said Schodack resident Jackie Mayli. "If I want to go out for a drink, however, I just might call some friends and get together at one of our houses. That way, we'll save money on alcohol and still be able to smoke."

Jason, who asked that only his first name be used, said he plans not to go out and has been encouraging his friends not to either.  "We have to let the government know they can't keep piling all sorts of rules on top of us that we don't want," he said. "I'm looking into other ways to fight this and hope we can at least get the law modified and have it on a volunteer basis."

New York City-based Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (CLASH) plans to legally challenge both the city and state laws.

The B'Ville Messenger - July 2003
       Smoking law may ruin B'ville business
        by Fritz Diddle

By the end of July, the air will be a lot cleaner in bars and restaurants across the state. But ironically, for companies like JD Associates, Inc. of Baldwinsville - a small distributor of Honeywell air-filtering equipment for restaurants and bars - that really stinks. "We were doing great until the great state of New York pulled the rug out from underneath us," said Michelle O'Rourke, who handles customer service and sales for JD Associates. O'Rourke and JD Associates founder Janice Dice have joined many restaurant and bar owners in speaking out against the new smoking bill signed into law by Gov. George E. Pataki in March. The law, designed to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace, bans smoking in bars and restaurants with few exemptions - effectively eliminating the market for indoor smoke-removal devices. In May, many bar and restaurant owners frustrated by the impending smoking ban shut down their Quick Draw lottery machines in protest, hoping the state would feel the financial pinch they fear will inevitably come from the law. Like many business owners, Sharon Sitar, owner of the B'ville Sports Bowl, said she was frustrated that she recently spent $3,200 on an air cleaner installed above her bar that the legislation will render useless. But JD Associates has a bigger problem. In March, not only did the sales stop coming in to the two-year-old company, customers who had purchased air cleaners the week before demanded that they be removed and their money refunded. "Then, my phone stopped ringing," O'Rourke said. "Since March, we've only had one sale for replacement filters." Although the air cleaners are also used in day-care centers and nursing homes, bars and restaurants are by far JD Associate's biggest customers. The company sells machines ranging from $1,500 to several thousand dollars, and also leases machines to businesses. Most are ceiling-mount units, which can be moved but must be installed by an electrician, O'Rourke said. JD Associate's has installed smoke cleaners in local businesses such as the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, a number of American Legions and Denny's Restaurants and the Vernon Downs' Country Suites Hotel. O'Rourke and Dice had their fingers crossed that the state Legislature would at least discuss amendments to the law before the end of the legislative session, that didn't happen. "I can't tell you how many letters I've sent to our legislators," O'Rourke said. "They're not hearing what's happening to the little people." Although O'Rourke said she did get some responses, they seemed empty. O'Rourke said she and Dice have been weighing several alternatives, but haven't come up with any good ones - and both women are worried. "Coming from a working woman, this is my source of income," O'Rourke said. "This is what we do, this is what we're good at." Amendments being considered by the state Legislature included allowing smoking in some rooms of bars and restaurants and allowing tax breaks for the construction of those rooms, which could have given companies like JD Associates a chance. "Now we are virtually out of business," O'Rourke said. "Any business in this economy is hard enough."

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