Premium cigar group challenges proposed Orlando smoking policy

IPCPR LogoThe City of Orlando is considering a resolution to urge the city’s citizens to refrain from smoking outdoors on public properties but the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) says it is simply a “feel good” political move. The resolution is scheduled for discussion at the council’s Monday meeting (Sept. 12).

“The IPCPR opposes any resolution or legislation that attempts to limit freedom of choice” said Bill Spann, chief executive officer of the IPCPR. “Also, in the midst of the worst economy in decades, our elected officials – many of whom no doubt ran for election on a ‘create jobs’ platform — should be concentrated on jobs, jobs, jobs,” Spann added. “You might as well pass a resolution urging Olandoans to eat their vegetables and take a daily multi-vitamin,” he added.

Spann had served as chief of staff of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and, before that, as president and chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of Greater Florida. He also served as communications director and then chief of staff at the Florida Department of Children & Families. He honorably retired from the United States Navy as a Commander after a 20-year career.

Instead of a resolution that makes what he called “unsubstantiated claims” about the effects of smoking, generally, and secondhand smoke, specifically, Spann said “that common sense should prevail and that smokers should exercise courtesy when smoking in outdoor environments, especially around children.”

“Every item in the resolution that cites the alleged effects of smoking is unsubstantiated and should be challenged. Look to the facts. For example, smoke dissipates rapidly, especially outdoors, making its effect on others a non-factor. Even the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set safe standards for secondhand smoke.

OSHA’s safe standards for secondhand smoke are 25,000 times higher than are found in the average bar or restaurant that allows smoking. If that’s the margin of safety indoors, imagine what it’s like outdoors,” he said.

The owner of Orlando’s Corona Cigar Company, Jeff Borysiewicz, agreed.

“Passing a resolution against one’s rights to enjoy a premium cigar on an evening’s walk is not the way to go. There are jobs and businesses at stake and more important matters for the City Council to consider,” said Borysiewicz, a former member of the IPCPR Board of Directors and current Chairman of the Board of Cigar Rights of America.

“The Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, as amended, already legislates against our rights to enjoy tobacco products indoors and against the rights of property owners to determine the smoking policies of their own establishments. Orlando citizens and visitors shouldn’t have to be concerned about whether or not to light up outdoors because of some city resolution,” Borysiewicz added.

Borysiewicz plans to attend Monday’s Council meeting to speak against the resolution.

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