Over 2.8 Million Residents Reject Smoke Free Illinois Act - SB 500

LAKE BLUFF, IL (MAY 17, 2007) -- Illinois Smokers Rights, on behalf of over two million, eight hundred thousand smoking residents in Illinois, and The Smoker's Club, Inc., does not accept the validity of The Smoke Free Illinois Act (SB 500) recently passed by the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. This pending law states that it is justified based upon 'proven' health findings which are, in fact, unsupported and unresolved scientific claims taken from inconclusive studies.

We challenge the validity and authority of this new pending law because it was written and based upon highly questionable material supplied by the American Cancer Society.

Specifically, we wish to challenge two widely publicized health claims. We would like to see documentation from those experts who claim eight Illinois resident deaths are caused daily by second hand smoke and that breathing environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace is like inhaling the smoke from sixteen cigarettes (or even expanded to include the equivalent of smoking a pack of twenty cigarettes) in a single eight hour shift. We would like a detailed explanation to validate, in detail, how these calculations and statistics were created.

In actuality, provable ETS exposure for the most heavily exposed bartenders would be about one-fifth of a cigarette or one cigarette per week. We would also like to receive conclusive documentation to support the other ETS health claims made in The Smoke Free Illinois Act.

Smoking, itself, is not a right any more than non-smoking or smoke free air is a right. Our rights issues are based upon are our 'right to choice'. The error being made by our legislators is in their attempt to turn a legal personal life style choice into a crime on private property. The Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act of 1989 eliminated smoking in public places, and smoking residents cooperated.

The Smoke Free Illinois Act, based upon unconfirmed health statement sound bites, proceeds to violate our US Constitution and Bill of Rights. When our Illinois General Assembly representatives took office, they each took an oath and swore to uphold our Constitution. The constitutional purpose of our government is to promote commerce, build roads, protect us from foreign invasion and protect individual rights. This includes property rights. Any act to the contrary is an outright violation of our Constitution. A smoking ban is a violation of property rights.

The Constitution was written in such a manner to specifically limit the power and scope of government to preserve our individual rights. We are a constitutional republic, not a mob rule democracy and minorities still deserve consideration under our laws.

We have over eleven hundred municipalities in Illinois and more than one thousand of them have not chosen to impose local smoking bans. Among the communities that have passed new bans, based upon the Illinois Clean Air Act - Home Rule Amendment enacted a little over one year ago in January of 2006, several have enacted exemptions, including bars.

Also, of the one hundred and two counties located in Illinois, only Cook and Sangamon counties have enacted severe smoking bans, and McLean county has instituted one in unincorporated areas (while still exempting bars).

Perhaps the foremost question in the minds of those Illinois legislators, health agencies and tobacco control experts who support banning the use of a legal product on private property, should be to wonder how the Smoke Free Illinois Act will affect the health quality and living standards of those who are forced to close their businesses and those who will loose their jobs under a state-wide smoking ban.


Garnet Dawn
Midwest Regional Director
The Smoker's Club, Inc.
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