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February 19, 1998 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-19

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 19, 1998

NATION/WORLD

Restaurant, bar owners still allow smoking

* With industry support,
California taverns ignore state
anti-smoking law
The Washington Post
LOS ANGELES - Egged on by a smokers'
rights group heavily funded by the tobacco
industry, a growing number of California tav-
ern owners are thumbing their noses at the
nation's only statewide ban on barroom smok-
ing, allowing patrons to light up and blow
smoke in the face of authority.
Although the six-week-old smoking ban
provides for escalating fines for bar owners
who allow smoking, reports from around the
state indicate that enforcement by local juris-
dictions depends mostly on response to com-
plaints. Even at that, it has been spotty at best,
with compliance in many areas but open defi-
ance in others.
Some jurisdictions have sent health inspec-
tors or fire marshals to check on complaints.
But many local governments, lacking adequate
resources, have merely mailed warning notices
to alleged offenders upon receiving a com-
plaint. Moreover, while bar owners are
required to ask offending patrons to stop
smoking, they are not required under the law
to eject them or take other steps to enforce the
ban. As a result, many bar operators acknowl-
edge that they signal their intentions by smil-
ing when they ask a patron to refrain from
smoking and then turn their back on violators.
"The law requires us to post the signs and
inform the customers that they are not sup-
posed to smoke. We're not required to eject

them," said Beverly Swanson, owner of the
One Double Oh Seven Club in Santa Cruz.
"People in bars are smoking. You can call it
civil disobedience, but you can also call it
being backed into a corner and trying to keep
your business alive."
In the first court test of the ban, the owner of
a bar in Roseville, northeast of Sacramento,
pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge of allow-
ing patrons to smoke and was scheduled for a
nonjury trial on March 13. More than 100 bar
owners recently gathered in Sacramento to
form an association and discuss rebellion
strategies, including raising a legal defense
fund for members cited under the ban and
pulling the plugs on state lottery ticket-dis-
pensing machines.
The group's contention that at least stand-
alone bars without restaurant facilities should
be exempted from the no-smoking law
received a boost from Gov. Pete Wilson (R),
who indicated last month that smokers should
have "some sort of sanctuary" and that bar
owners should have the option to allow smok-
ing.
Similar coalitions to repeal the ban are being
formed elsewhere in the state, some of them
with the help'of the National Smokers Alliance
and the Sacramento branch of the New York-
based Burson-Marsteller public relations firm,
which long has had close ties with the tobacco
industry.
"Rebel, revolt, resist. Bad laws should not
be obeyed," headlined one missive published
by the National Smokers Alliance, a tax-
exempt, nonprofit group headquartered in

Alexandria, Va. Since its founding in 1993, the
alliance has received more than =42 million
from three of the biggest U.S. cigarette manu-
facturers.
Sidestepping the potentially dicey legal
problem of promoting lawbreaking, the
alliance put quotation marks around the call
for defiance and attributed it to a newspaper
columnist's commentary on a similar smoking
ban in bars that was overturned last year in
Toronto.
But the message was not lost on California
smokers, who view barrooms as their last
refuge in a state with some of the strictest anti-
smoking laws in the
United States.
At J.P's Bar and Grill "Rebel, rei
in Santa Monica, for
instance, drinkers were Bd li s S
urged to go outside to
smoke for about a week be obeyed
after the ban started Jan. National SmokE
1. Then a "Repeal the
Ban" placard went up
next to the state-issued
"No Smoking" sign near the door. Now, patrons
find a pall of smoke hanging in the air and ash-
trays on every table.
"You know that's illegal," said a bartender
one night this week as she handed a smoking
patron an ashtray.
The defiance campaign and an intensive leg-
islative lobbying effort guided by one of the
world's largest public relations firms prompted
the state Assembly last month to vote for a sus-
pension of the measure for at least two years.

VIA'
WIm

Although the repeal effort faces much stiffer
opposition in the state Senate, the initial leg-
islative victory appears to have encouraged bar
owners to step up their public demonstrations
and organizing activities with the help of
Smokers Alliance and tobacco industry money.
According to financial statements filed with the
California Attorney General's Office, the alliance
received $42 million between its founding in 1993
and 1996, during which it paid Burson-Marsteller
more than $4.4 million.
The alliance's senior vice president, Gary
Auxier, said his "grass-roots" group's three
largest sources of funds are the Philip Morris,
Brown & Williamson
and Lorillard ciga-
,it, resist. rette companies. He
said the alliance also
ould not receives funds from
tobacco industry-
related firms, such as
Alliance publication cigarette lighter man-
ufacturers, hospitality
industry contributors
and dues-paying
members.
Auxier and the alliance's president, Thomas
Huniber, both came from Burson- Marsteller,
where they handled tobacco company accounts.
The National Smokers Alliance has supplied
more than 3,000 California bars with posters
urging an overturn of the ban and coasters that
patrons can sign and mail to their legislators.
The alliance also is distributing a biweekly
"Prohibition News Update" and a monthly
newsletter called "The Resistance."

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ger

Tobacco
researcher
takes stand
at trial
ST. PAUL., Minn. (AP) - Juro
in Minnesota's tobacco trial again
heard the former top researcher for
Philip Morris plead the Fifth
Amendment dozens of times
Tuesday in videotaped testimony.
Thomas Osdene, repeatedly
refused to answer questions in the
hour-long tape about his work for
the nation's largest cigarette maker.
On Friday, jurors saw 15 minutes of
testimony in which his responses
were the same.
"On advice of counsel, I respect-
fully refuse to answer based on my
Fifth Amendment privilege against
self-incrimination because there is
an ongoing parallel criminal investi-
gation" he said.
His attorney, John Nields, said the
Justice Department has subpoenaed
Osdene for documents and asked to
interrogate him.
In one of the few question
Osdene did answer, he said he
understood the investigation
involved his activities at Philip
Morris.
Osdene, obviously in ill health
on the tape, retired as research
director for Philip Morris Inc. in
1993 after holding the job for 28
years.
He refused to testify in person,
despite his former employer's ur4
ing.
He gave his videotaped deposi-
tion in June. He lives in Richmond,
Va., where Philip Morris' cigarette
plant is located.
The state and Blue Cross and
Blue Shield of Minnesota are suing
the tobacco industry to recover
$1.77 billion spent treating smok-
ing-related illnesses plus punitiv
damages.
Outside of court, Attorney
General Hubert Humphrey seized
on Osdene's refusal to answer ques-
tions as partial proof of the indus-
try's guilt.
"Here's a gentleman who has been
the director of research for Philip
Morris, and lie refuses to answer the
question,' Humphrey said.
"Obviously something is miss-
ing," he added.
Osdene was asked about the com-
pany's research into nicotine's role
in increasing the effects of cancer-
causing substances in cigarette
smoke.
He also was asked about several
company memos and documents,
including one from a senior
researcher that referred to a
German facility as a place whe
the company could do studies it w
reluctant to perform in the United
States.
Philip Morris bought the facility
in Cologne, Germany, nearly 30
years ago.
The 1977 memo indicates the
company hid its connection by send-
ing samples to a facility in
Switzerland, to be forwarded to
Cologne.
The 1 defendants include Phil
Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.,
Brown & Williamson Tobacco

Corp., British-American Tobacco
Co. Ltd. and Lorillard Tobacco Co.
Liggett Group Inc. has settled with
the state and is a defendant of Blue
Cross only.
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