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January 24, 2005

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Domingos R. Santos Jr.

Here is a post on my BLOG regarding Senator Shannon's pro-smoking bill:

On January 24, 2005, the Somerville News reported that Senator Shannon filed a bill “which would suspend the smoking ban for bars that generate less than 10% of their income from food.” (To view the article, click here.) Senator Shannon’s spokesperson stated that the rationale for this bill is to relieve the hardship that the smoking ban places on “small businesses that mainly serve alcohol.” In addition, Senator Shannon’s spokesperson stated that “[i]f the bill gets out of committee and onto the senate floor, Shannon will propose an amendment that would allow restaurants of any size to put up partitions and block off designated smoking sections.”

I firmly oppose this piece of legislation for the reasons stated below and urge all Somerville residents who feel the same to call Senator Shannon’s office and ask him to withdraw the bill.

Second Hand Smoke is a Significant Danger to Public Health

The so-called Smoking Ban is a significant piece of legislation that allows the citizens of the Commonwealth to be free from the adverse health effects of second hand smoke in public places. The American Lung Association (“ALA”) published an informative fact sheet regarding the severity of the adverse health effects of second hand smoke. One of the more shocking facts on the web page is that “[s]econdhand smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 35,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year.”

Senator Shannon’s bill would expose the citizens of the Commonwealth to second hand smoke in the designated establishments. How many citizens must die of lung cancer and heart disease brought on by exposure to second hand smoke so that business interest groups can maximize profits.

Why exempt bars that generate less than 10% of their income from food?

The so-called Smoking Ban was developed to protect the public health, not to make dining more pleasant for the citizens of the Commonwealth. Senator Shannon’s proposal is simply not rational. There is no nexus between protecting the public health and calculating the percentage of food sales in a bar. Senator Shannon’s bill favors the health of those who do not patronize small bars over those who do. More accurately, Senator Shannon’s bill favors the wallets of small bar owners over the health and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth. It seems to me that business interest groups have Senator Shannon’s ear, while our health is compromised.

More to come…

Senator Shannon’s Contact Information:

Mail:
State Senator Charles E. Shannon
State House
Room 511-A
Boston, MA 02133

Telephone:
(617) 722-1578

E-Mail:
Charles.Shannon@state.ma.us

On the Web:
http://www.charlieshannon.net/
Note: Click on “Contact the Senator” and then click on “feedback” at the bottom of the page.

--
"As a unified voice, we can change our government for the better."
Domingos R. Santos Jr.
80 Grant Street, Unit # 3
Somerville, MA 02145

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