SOURCE: Int'l Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers

March 18, 2008 17:20 ET

Iowa Businessman Challenges Proposed Smoking Ban

DES MOINES, IA--(Marketwire - March 18, 2008) - "The proposed statewide smoking ban is a divisive tool for discriminating against those who choose to smoke and it is an assault on the rights of all the citizens of Iowa, smokers and non-smokers alike," says John D. Eveland, owner of the National Cigar Store in Waterloo, Iowa.

Recently, the Iowa House narrowly approved a smoking ban that excluded certain casinos, bars and restaurants, but the Senate wants a tougher version.

"The official motto of the state of Iowa is 'Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain' but it is our liberties and our rights that the Iowa legislature is attempting to trample on with such a ban," says Eveland.

"Smoking is a legal, adult activity that does not impinge on the welfare of others. If it did, government regulatory agencies like OSHA would step in, but they don't," he said.

"This issue is all about freedom of choice and economics. The marketplace -- consumers and employees, smokers and non-smokers -- should be allowed to decide if they want to patronize or work for companies that allow or do not allow smoking on their premises," says Eveland.

"If smoking is banned in or around government buildings, that's their business," he says. "But private businesses should have the right to decide whether or not smoking would be allowed instead of having the government decide for them."

Eveland pointed out that cigar smoking is different from smoking cigarettes. He should know. He owns the oldest cigar store in Iowa. Founded in 1911, the store was acquired in 1948 by his father from whom he purchased it in 1966. Today, it's still on the same block of Sycamore Avenue as it was nearly a century ago. He also operates two sales-enabled websites -- www.nationalcigar.com and www.rollyourown.com.

"Cigars are more a choice than a habit and smoking in cigar stores is necessary for patrons to sample products and make informed purchase decisions. No non-smoker would accidentally wander into a cigar store. The truth is, smoking a premium cigar is more like enjoying a glass of fine wine or champagne. It helps make ordinary moments special and special moments extraordinary."

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