May 18, 2009

Misinformation against workplace smoking ban goes online

The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) is taking its misinformation and false claim that a workplace smoking ban in Michigan will cost jobs online with a new website.

They are continuing to make the false claim that “750 small businesses and 7,500 Michigan jobs are at serious risk.” They are also making the claim that that has been the case in the other states that have enacted the ban. Then they offer the usual cherry-picked studies to prove it.

One study the MLBA continues to use to prove its false is an Oct. 1, 2004 study of a smoking ban in Dallas, Texas that has been debunked. The debunked study claimed that restaurants saw a 9 to 50 percent drop in sales. But when researchers from the Texas Department of State Health Services reviewed the study, they concluded that the methodology was flawed, the data used from the state was either misunderstood or misapplied, and the conclusions were simply wrong.

The fact is there have been absolutely no credible studies that show a negative economic impact resulting from a state-wide or country-wide smoking ban, and commons sense supports that. Not only that, this is a public health issue, and there is no dispute about the deadly effects of secondhand smoke.

Opponents of the workplace smoking ban steadfastly refuse to tell us how less than 25 percent of the people who still smoke can have such a huge economic effect.

I was a smoker for 20 years, so I may be able to understand this. If bar A is smoke free and bar B allows smoking, and if I’m a smoker I will go bar B. But if they are both smoke free, I will still go to a bar.

I’m sure the folks at the MLBA are good people, and truly believe their cause, but the evidence is simply not on their side, leading them to fudge the evidence. It’s telling that if you look on their list of links on their main web site, you will find a link to Philip Morris/Altria.

It seems every time the ban gets closer to becoming a reality we get this misinformation from the MLBA. The House Regulatory Reform Committee will take up the ban at noon Wednesday in Room 326 in the House Office Building, 124. N. Capitol. The meeting is open to the public, and we simply need to get our supporters out to counter this misinformation.


VictorLove1 said...

When are politicians and their assc. going to stop pretending that they are interested in the health of
Americans, as it relates to smoking?

That argument smells to high heaven!
And I'll prove it to you! Certainly you remember the lawsuits filed against tobacco companies by various states?
Iowa was one of them, they told us that they were suing on behalf of the smokers who were lied to by those manufacturers of the health consequences of long term smoking.

Iowa received an award of $700m ,
Guess where all that money went?
I can tell you where none of it went! Not one red cent went for smoking cessation classes or programs. I can only interpret that non action as a lie to Iowa smokers, and a reason to profit on the continued "bad health" of smokers.

As for the reason of businesses not seeing a significant drop in patronage, one has to harkin back to 7th grade science, I.E."for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". Smokers stayed home, non smokers came out.

I have no idea if Michigan was enjoined in the tobacco law suit,
but if they were, and got a judgment, I bet they pulled an Iowa!

Communications guru said...

I appreciate your input, but I disagree. The cost to Medicaid and Medicare was borne by the states and the federal government. Some of that money came from the general fund, so it seems to reason some of the settlement money went to the general fund. I can’t speak for Iowa, but in Michigan, much of it went to scholarships for higher achieving students, but some did go to smoking cessation programs. Not enough, and earlier this year when they established a toll-free number for free smoking cessation material, the number was overwhelmed and the supply exhausted.

This ban is actually about the health of non-smokers.

The association is worried about its bottom line, but they are simply wrong and the facts bear that out.