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Stogie News: Florida Bill Would Open Door to Outdoor Bans

8 Mar 2011

Florida is the cultural, historical, and economic center for the U.S. cigar industry. That makes the Sunshine State’s legal climate for cigar smokers worth watching.

Unfortunately, smokers’ rights are once again under attack in Florida. Kathleen C. Passidomo, a state representative from Naples, has introduced House Bill 211, which would amend the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act. A companion bill has also been introduced in the State Senate by Alan Hays. Part of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act is a preemption by the state in the area of smoking regulation. What this means is that unlike California, where municipalities can pass anti-smoking regulations that are stricter than the state statute, local governments in Florida cannot pass their own local anti-smoking regulations.

The proposed bills would change the language in the preemption section from “this part expressly preempts regulation of smoking to the state and supersedes any municipal or county ordinance on the subject” to “this part expressly preempts regulation of indoor smoking to the state and supersedes any municipal or county ordinance on the subject.” Adding “indoor” makes a huge difference because it would allow local municipalities the unfettered right to create legislation that bans smoking in outdoor areas such as sidewalks, beaches, and public parks.

Jeff Borysiewicz, owner of the Orlando-based Corona Cigar Co. and board member of IPCPR and CRA, summed up the importance of this legislation. “In 2002, when the Florida Clean Air Act was passed with a 71% majority, it was clearly understood that the law would ban indoor smoking in restaurants and workplaces. Back then, no one even imagined that smoking could be banned outdoors.”

“It was clearly the intent of the voters that outdoor bans were not part of the deal and that the government’s powers to further expand smoking bans would be limited by the preemption clause,” Borysiewicz continued. “Even today, public polls show that 65% of the public do not support outdoor smoking bans even though less than 20% of the adult population smoke.  Why?  Because most people believe that Americans should still have the freedom to make adult choices without ‘Big Brother’ telling them how to live their lives.”

Florida smokers should take note and work toward stopping passage of this bill, or they may find the number of places they are allowed to smoke significantly reduced. Unlike many places, Florida has struck somewhat of a balance between the “rights” of non-smokers to be free of secondhand smoke and the rights of smokers to be able to go out and enjoy a cigar in public.

If either of these bills are allowed to pass, that balance will suddenly end. Florida smokers should to visit the Cigar Rights petition page and take the steps listed to help prevent the bill’s passage and protect their right to smoke in outdoor places around the state.

“If you can’t smoke a cigar inside, and the government wants to ban smoking outside, where the heck are you supposed to be able to smoke? Enjoying a cigar should not be a crime,” Borysiewicz told us. “Let’s speak up and let our elected officials hear from us that enough is enough. Cigars are still a legal product and America is supposed to be ‘the Land of the Free.’ It’s our patriotic duty to fight to keep it that way.”

Patrick S & Patrick M

photo credit: public domain

5 Responses to “Stogie News: Florida Bill Would Open Door to Outdoor Bans”

  1. Gregg Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    This is absolutely illogical…They won’t stop until cigars become contraband. I agree, we have to start standing up for our rights or soon we’ll have none! Thanks for keeping us informed!!!

  2. dmjones1009 Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    Looks like Rocky Patel has some more work to do…this time on a legislator from his own backyard there in Naples.

  3. George E Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 5:44 am #

    If you live in Florida and want to let your state rep and senator know your feelings about this bill, you can find them here:

  4. Patrick S Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    Two things worth adding:

    1- Both Hays and Passidomo are Republican, demonstrating that anti-tobacco zealotry is not a partisan position.

    2- The pro-nanny state groups are already pushing this bill. For an example, see here:

  5. Carol Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    The anti-smokers commit flagrant scientific fraud by ignoring more than 50 studies which show that human papillomaviruses cause at least 1/4 of non-small cell lung cancers. Smokers and passive smokers are more likely to have been exposed to this virus for socioeconomic reasons. And the anti-smokers' studies are all based on lifestyle questionnaires, so they're cynically DESIGNED to blame tobacco for all those extra lung cancers that are really caused by HPV. And they commit the same type of fraud with every disease they blame on tobacco.

    And, all their so-called "independent" reports were ring-led by the same guy, Jonathan M. Samet, including the Surgeon General Reports, the EPA report, the IARC report, and the ASHRAE report, and he's now the chairman of the FDA Committee on Tobacco. He and his politically privileged clique exclude all the REAL scientists from their echo chamber. That's how they make their reports "unanimous!"

    For the government to commit fraud to deprive us of our liberties is automatically a violation of our Constitutional rights to the equal protection of the laws, just as much as if it purposely threw innocent people in prison. And for the government to spread lies about phony smoking dangers is terrorism, no different from calling in phony bomb threats.