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Archive for Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Right to decide

April 20, 2004

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To the editor:

I am the co-owner of a small coffee shop and bar in downtown Lawrence. I am strongly opposed to the ordinance that is intended to ban smoking in bars, restaurants and public places.

We listen to the desires of our customers and long ago understood our customers wanted a smoking environment. Other bars and coffee shops are smoking and nonsmoking, according to the owners' and customers' interests. It is inconsistent to impose a smoking ban in the city of Lawrence when cities close to us do not have a ban. Topeka and Kansas City don't have bans and are not likely to pass a ban.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the federal government have studied secondhand smoke reports at length and have not seen fit to regulate working conditions. OSHA has reported that the effects of secondhand smoke on hospitality workers were so erratic and hard to quantify that they could not justify regulating those businesses and risk inflicting irreparable economic hardship many bars and restaurants.

If OSHA, the government agency concerned with safety in the workplace, can't justify smoking bans, why can cities?

This ban would harm our business economically but would, more importantly, take away our rights to decide how we want to operate our businesses.

I urge the City Commission to reconsider this ordinance.

By the way, I am a nonsmoker.

Sue Mee,

Lawrence

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