Sunday, 15 January 2012

Ohio still fighting back: interview with Pam Parker, Josh Tolley Channel

An entertaining interview with Pam Parker of Opponents of Ohio Bans:

Pam Parker covers a range of angles on the smoking ban, including the vast resources that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation injects into smoking restrictions and the 'studies' that support them (issues also covered on the home page of the Opponents of Ohio Bans website (linked above). As a bar owner however her focus is on enforcement. Public opinion, she says, voted on a ban that would be enforced by health department officials, and their would be exemptions on bars with no employees. In practice, health department officials police only the bar owners, who are left to enforce the law themselves, and there are no exemptions. In Ohio no smokers have been prosecuted, only bar owners who have failed in their enforcement duties. There are anecdotal accounts of deliberate entrapment. To cap it all, health department investigators are sent in without personal protective equipment to counteract the effects of secondary smoke: there is no safe level of exposure!

While I believe that some clandestine bar smokers have been prosecuted in the UK, the power to enforce the smoking ban on proprietors and licensees has ensured the ban's survival. Whether or not health departments over here entrap bar owners by sending in covert operators to smoke illegally, making people legally responsible for policing others is very heavy-handed, especially when it's likely to hit unpaid enforcers in the pocket. Pam Parker's tactic is to invoice the health department for enforcement costs. She will use these invoices to back up any court decision that the health department rather than bar owners should enforce the ban.

There's a big difference between the smoking ban through the eyes of its designers and the smoking ban as experienced at the coal face by licensees. Let's hope for a follow-up interview in the very near future.

1 comment:

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