January 12, 1998 - On behalf of its more than 300,000 members and adult smokers in California, the National Smokers Alliance continues to oppose the California smoking ban and is working with California businesses and individuals to urge repeal of the ban. This "Prohibition Update" is the first in a series, designed to inform interested parties about the impact of and reaction to the law on a statewide basis. These news briefs are documented from published and private sources and more detail can be provided upon request.
Antelope Valley Restaurant and Bar Owners Schedule Rally in Opposition to Ban
LANCASTER, Calif., Jan. 8 -- Fifty restaurant and bar owners from Antelope
Valley are scheduling a rally for
Monday, January 19, 1998. The purpose of the rally is to voice their strong opposition to the statewide smoking
ban and to encourage other bar owners to participate in their efforts to have the law repealed.
According to Claudia Lawson, owner of Claudia's Bar and Grill in Palmdale,
"we are outraged that the government
is imposing upon our rights as small business owners. Many of us are not complying with this ridiculous law for
fear of losing revenues and eventually our businesses." Lawson continued, "those bar owners in the area who
are enforcing the smoking ban have already lost many of their customers." The rally will be held at the Calico
Saloon in Lancaster at 11:00 a.m.
Sutter County Publicly Admits They Will Not Enforce Smoking Ban
MARYSVILLE, Calif., Dec. 31 -- Sutter County has gone on the record
as stating they will not be issuing fines to
enforce the smoking ban. According to a December 31, 1997 article in the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, "...Sutter
County has no intention of issuing any fines." Allan Leavitt, assistant director of Sutter County Human Services
Department, was quoted: "With Sutter County we are not having any smoking police. If we get more than three
complaints (in a year's time) on a facility then we will hand it over to Cal-OSHA." Leavitt continued, "We will not
be doing any enforcement."
Jim Canada of the Town Pump said, "If they are not going to enforce
the smoking ban, I would be silly not to
allow my customers to smoke." Canada continued, "I don't want to lose my business because I don't have any
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown Says Smoking Ban is Bad for Business and Tourism
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 6 -- San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown expressed
his opposition to the smoking ban in a
statement made to KGO radio on January 6th. Mayor Brown explained that he does not want to mandate his
health inspectors as "smoking police" when they have more important issues of public health to deal with. Brown
also stated that he feared the smoking ban is bad for San Francisco businesses -- specifically bars and
restaurants-- that cater to foreign tourists and business travelers.
San Diego Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Urge Members of the Legislature to Repeal Statewide Smoking Ban
SAN DIEGO, Dec. 29 -- Members of Local 30, the San Diego Hotel Employees
and Restaurant Employees Union
(HERE), urged members of the California Legislature to repeal the statewide smoking ban to protect jobs.
Employees say customers will no longer frequent their establishments as a result of the statewide smoking ban.
"Owners of drinking establishments tell me if business drops by just five percent, they will be forced to shorten
shifts and lay off employees," said Jef Eatchel, Secretary-Treasurer of the HERE Union of San Diego, Local 30,
AFL-CIO. "I can assure you, my members feel the most important issue in this whole debate is protecting their
Bar Owner in Orange County Runs Risk of Fines
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., Jan. 7 -- John Johnson, owner of a chain of bars
in Westminster, Huntington Beach,
Stanton and Fullerton, has been the target of local enforcement agencies and anti-smoking activists because he
still allows smoking in his establishments. Instead of posting the required "No-Smoking" signs in his bars,
Johnson has put one out which reads "Smoking Permitted."
According to Johnson, "It's our contention that we meet the conditions
for an exemption." Johnson and his legal
counsel have reviewed AB 13, the smoke-free workplace law, and believe they fall under the small business
exemption for those establishments that have fewer than five employees.
However, the state Health Department's legal branch has ruled that bars
are prohibited from using the small
business exemption. The local police department is actively enforcing the smoking ban and John may be one of
the first California bar owners to be cited.
Furthermore, Johnson is now being threatened by an anonymous guerrilla
group calling itself SCABS. In a letter
to Johnson (below), the group says it will follow smokers from Johnson's bars and call in drunk driving reports to
Bustin' Smokers, Bustin' Drunks
January 6, 1998
Lucky John's Too
Dear John Johnson:
NOTICE: Special Enforcement Now In Affect At
All Lucky John's Locations
Your blatant non-compliance with the new smoking ban means our group,
Here is how our program works:
1) We find bars that allow smoking.
So, if you want to keep on smoking, go ahead!
Soon your customers will
Smoking Ban Claims Bar
SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 1 -- According to an article in the San Jose
Mercury News, because of the smoking ban,
"Stogie's Martini Co. of San Jose shut its doors for the last time," on New Year's Day.