More on the Smoking Ban for Cambridge bars and restaurants

Cambridge approves smoking ban

June 10, 2003 - The Cambridge City Council last night approved by a 7-2 vote the smoking ban for all workplaces in Cambridge, including all bars and restaurants. Voting in favor of the ban were Councillors Davis, Decker, Galluccio, Maher, Murphy, Reeves, and Simmons. Only Councillor Toomey and Mayor Sullivan voted against the ban.
     The gallery was evenly divided between supporters and opponents of the ban. The air was scented with the unmistakable, and thoroughly nauseating, smell of tobacco and breath mints. The "No Ban" signs notwithstanding, just about everyone knew that the votes were there. The only surprise was that the measure passed on a 7-2 vote rather than a narrow 5-4 vote.
     Councillor Simmons offered three amendments to the proposal before its final approval.

     The testimony of the councillors included some classic political ass-covering rhetoric, in particular from Councillors Reeves and Galluccio, who voted for the ban even though essentially all of their prior testimony indicated otherwise. Reeves opined that he would rather follow the model of Paris "where people just live." He characterized himself as "radical in my soul - a policy-maker, not a parent." He then said he would "be more fascistic than this" as he suggested that maybe tobacco products should be prohibited nationally. "The smoking ban is a little like rent control," he said. "You could argue either side forcefully."
     Reeves went on to say that in places where the ban had been implemented, the 5-9pm business had all dried up and that people were laying off staff. He suggested that a national foundation was behind this conspiracy to enact smoking bans and that they were now targeting obesity. He asserted that this was not a grass-roots effort. Reeves then agreed with a recent tobacco-funded study that suggested that second-hand smoke does not kill anyone. [I suppose one could argue that driving drunk doesn't kill anyone either, just the impact. Perhaps a course in basic statistics should be mandatory.] Reeves noted some graffiti in the Green Street Garage saying "meat is murder" as he warned those assembled of the next conspiracy.
     Reeves did, however, come around to vote in favor of the ban. He made his never-ending assertion that people, the press in particular, had concluded how he would vote even though he had never stated how he would vote. Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.
     Councillor Galluccio attributed his enlightenment to the federal government's failure to regulate smoking in workplaces due to pressure from the tobacco industry. He noted that he was the first to submit a Council order calling for a statewide ban on smoking in workplaces. He did express his beliefs in civil liberties but said that in the end he could not put aside his concern for public health. It must be noted that although Councillor Galluccio never committed either way this past year on the smoking ban, essentially all of his testimony in the Ordinance Committee meetings suggested opposition to the ban.
     Councillor Decker said, "My stand has been clear from the beginning... This is a health issue and cannot be compromised for business issues." She noted that she suffered from asthma but had to work as a waitress in order to cover her rent while in college. One aspect of Councillor Decker's support for the smoking ban has to be highlighted. One of her most steady political supporters has been the owner of TT the Bear's in Central Square, one of the Central Square bar owners who has lobbied against the ban. Whenever an elected official takes a stand on principle even though it may anger a loyal supporter, this must be acknowledged.
     Councillor Murphy said that the move toward smoke-free workplaces was not part of a national conspiracy, but one more step in a long history of workers trying to help themselves. In noting the vast amount of money spent by the tobacco industry on lobbying, Murphy said, "The butt stops here."
     Vice Mayor Davis, the City Council's most enduring supporter of smoking restrictions in public places, said, "Thank goodness we're finally doing this. We have to keep tobacco from breaking the bank of the health care system." She encouraged all Cambridge residents to patronize Cambridge bars and restaurants after the ban is implemented.
     Councillor Maher, formerly the head of the local branch of the American Cancer Society, reminded everyone of the need to rally around the Cambridge business community at this time. He stated that with each added community, the pressure builds on the state legislature to enact the statewide ban. "It's just a matter of time," he said. He urged advocates to now turn their attention to the state legislature.
     Councillor Toomey was a study in contradiction as he reasserted his support for a statewide ban, described his extreme distaste for smoking, and then voted against the local ban. He said that he looks forward to outlawing tobacco worldwide, and then said, "For now, let the market decide."
     Mayor Sullivan reiterated his opposition to the ban. He argued that the License Commission has been issuing more 2am licenses and that the ban would "exasperate quality of life in those neighborhoods" as patrons congregated on the streets outside bars to smoke.
     Before the vote on the main proposal, Councillor Galluccio asked for separate votes on each of the three amendments. During the discussion of the amendment to eliminate the exemption for private clubs, Councillor Simmons noted that while Somerville has 4 private clubs that would be affected by a smoking ban, Cambridge has 25 such clubs and that they could draw customers from other establishments. Councillor Maher noted that there was no private club exemption in Boston's smoking ban. He also noted that one of Cambridge's private clubs is actually a tenant of the City of Cambridge (in the First Street Garage). The vote on this amendment passed 5-4 with Davis, Decker, Maher, Murphy, and Simmons voting in favor, and Galluccio, Reeves, Toomey, and Sullivan voting against. The other two amendments passed on a voice vote.
     The vote on the main proposal then passed by a 7-2 margin with Councillors Davis, Decker, Galluccio, Maher, Murphy, Reeves, and Simmons voting for the ban, and Councillor Toomey and Mayor Sullivan voted against the ban.
     Somerville takes up the ban later this week, on June 12, and is expected to follow suit.
Note - Perhaps the high point of the evening for me personally was the testimony of Dr. John Rich, Medical Director of the Boston Health Commission and a national figure in Men of Color health initiatives. John and I attended the same elementary school, and my best friend in those days was his older brother Freddie Rich. I spent many, many days over at the Rich's house in Bayside, Queens in those days. Fred and John's mother was an especially big influence on me in more ways than she'll ever know. She was also the one who took us to work in Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968. Kennedy was murdered the following day. Such was my entry into politics.
     I only reconnected with Freddie last summer after over 30 years. That's when I learned that his brother John was in Boston. It was, ironically, when Councillor Reeves mentioned his name last fall at a City Council meeting that I realized that this might be the same person. At that point I figured it would only be a matter of time before I ran into John at one of the hearings on the smoking ban. This week it happened, after 35 years. John Rich is just as influential as his mom.

Robert Winters

June 24 - Maine Governor Baldacci signed the bill to make the bars of Maine smoke-free

June 4 - The Maine House of Representatives voted 95-47 Tuesday to expand the state's smoking ban, paving the way for final action in the Senate, possibly as soon as today. The Senate backed the ban by a lopsided 32-2 vote in preliminary voting Monday, so final passage there is virtually guaranteed.

and an extra-big thank-you to the Mass. Senate for their May 29 vote for a statewide smoking ban!

Current smoking ban area

If Cambridge enacts the ban,
Somerville is expected to follow.

May 29 - The Massachusetts Senate tonight passed a bill banning smoking in all workplaces in Massachusetts (including all bars and restaurants). Prospects for passage in the House are good. Should the House follow suit and the governor sign this legislation, let it be remembered that the Massachusetts Legislature was able to do expeditiously that which the Cambridge City Council could only endlessly delay.

May 14 - There will be yet another Ordinance Committee meeting on Wed, May 14 at 4:30pm on the proposed smoking ban for Cambridge bars and restaurants. The supposed purpose of this meeting is to discuss the possible economic impacts of the proposed ban. It is interesting to see how the rhetoric has changed as similar bans have been enacted in New York City, New York State, the City of Boston, numerous other Massachusetts cities and towns, and even the Republic of Ireland. As it now stands, Cambridge bars and restaurants that currently permit smoking may hope to draw business away from Boston. 
    Witness the ad from the club Campus/ManRay on Brookline St. in Central Square (right). These greedy, cancerous “entrepreneurs” hope to cash in on the Boston ban by attracting tobacco addicts to Cambridge. 
    Meanwhile, a proposal for a state-wide smoking ban in all workplaces, including all bars and restaurants, is advancing through the state legislature and may actually have a chance of passage. 

May 14 Addendum - I just returned from the May 14 Ordinance Committee meeting. Though this meeting was advertised as a working meeting of the Ordinance Committee with no public testimony, John Albert of the Courtside Restaurant was permitted to launch into a cascade of hearsay and quotes from select newspaper articles that supported his position. No representative of the patrons of Cambridge bars and restaurants was permitted to speak, as was the advertised rule for this meeting. The Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee have been very fair up to this point, so it is somewhat bewildering that one of the most outspoken advocates for one side of this issue was permitted to spread his misinformation without challenge.
    On the bright side, State Representative Tim Toomey gave a very optimistic report on the prospects for the bill now before the state legislature that would ban smoking in all workplaces in Massachusetts, including all bars and restaurants. - RW



John Alberts of the Courtside Restaurant. Misinformation Minister of the Cambridge pro-tobacco lobby

By Ms. Fargo, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No.521) of Susan C. Fargo, Cynthia S. Creem, Elizabeth A. Malia and Rachel Kaprielian for legislation to ban smoking in the workplace.
In the Year Two Thousand and Three. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 270 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 22, as appearing in the 2000 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

§ 22. Smoking in public places and workplaces
No person shall smoke in any public elevator, supermarket or retail food outlet, in or upon any public mass transit conveyances or indoor platform or enclosed outdoor platform, at any open meeting of a governmental body as defined in section eleven A of chapter thirty A, section twenty-three A of chapter thirty-nine and section nine F of chapter thirty-four or in any courtroom.

No person shall smoke in any courthouse, school, college, university, museum, library, train, airplane, waiting area of an airport, waiting area of a health care facility as defined in section nine C of chapter one hundred and twelve, group child care center, school-aged day care center, or family day care center or on any premises where activities are licensed under section thirty-eight of chapter ten or in any public building. No person shall smoke in the state house or in any building owned by the commonwealth or in any space occupied by a state agency or department of the commonwealth or in any space occupied by a state agency or department of the commonwealth which is located in another building, including any private office in any such building or space mentioned in this sentence. The provisions of the foregoing sentence shall not apply to residents of the Soldiers' Home in Massachusetts and the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke.

No person shall smoke in any vehicle owned, leased, operated or occupied by the commonwealth or any political subdivisions thereof.

No person shall smoke in any workplace. For the purposes of this section, workplace shall mean any enclosed indoor area, structure or facility or any portion thereof at which one or more employees perform services for their employer, including the personal residence of the employer during those hours when used as a child care or health care office. For the purpose of this section enclosed shall mean a space bounded by walls, with or without windows, continuous from floor to ceiling and enclosed by doors, including but not limited to offices, rooms and halls. Workplaces shall include, but not be limited to, restaurants, bars, hotels, motels, inns, shopping malls and retail stores.

The owner, manager or other person in charge of a facility, building, vehicle or place described above shall post conspicuously such notices or signs at each entrance indicating that smoking is prohibited. The owner, manager or other person in charge of a facility, building, vehicle or place described above that violates any of the above sections shall be fined one hundred dollars for the first violation. A second violation within two years, calculated from the date of the first offense, shall result in a fine of two hundred dollars. A third or subsequent violation within two years of the second or current violation shall result in a fine of three hundred dollars. Each calendar day on which a violation exists shall be deemed to be a separate offense. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts or its agents, including but not limited to the Department of Public Health, the Attorney General or the state police; any municipal government or its agent; any Board of Health or its agent; or any local police shall enforce the provisions of this Act. In the city of Boston, the commissioner of health and his authorized agents shall enforce this section. Any violation of this section shall be considered a civil violation. If the enforcing authority is a board of health or its authorized agent, any violation of this section may be disposed of by the non-criminal method of disposition procedures contained in section twenty-one D of chapter forty without an enabling ordinance or by-law. If the enforcing authority is any city or town or its agent, any Board of Health or its agent, or any city or town police department, fines that are assessed pursuant to this Act may be payable to the city or town in which the violation of this section occurs. Any person aggrieved by the failure or refusal to comply with any provisions of these sections in any public building may complain in writing to the head of such department or agency occupying the area wherein such violation occurs. Such agency or department head shall respond, in writing, within fifteen days, to the complainant that he has inspected the area described in the complaint and has enforced the provisions of these sections. Said agency or department head shall file a copy of the original complaint and his response thereto with the department of public health. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to permit smoking in any area in which smoking is or may hereafter be prohibited by law including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, any other provision of the law or ordinance or by-law or any fire, health or safety regulation.

March 27 - The New York State Legislature has voted to approve a state-wide ban on smoking in all workplaces, including all bars and restaurants. Governor Pataki immediately signed this legislation which will go into effect in 120 days. The state-wide ban will not preempt any stronger bans adopted anywhere in the state.

March 25 - The Watertown Board of Health has voted to go smoke-free in all bars and restaurants. Implementation in Watertown will be May 5, which means that Watertown is going when Boston goes! 
     That will mean 4 of the 5 towns bordering Cambridge will have smokeless bars and restaurants as of May 5 and it is widely believed that Somerville will go smoke-free as soon as Cambridge does.

So, Councillor Simmons and Councillor Galluccio, are you now ready to vote for smoke-free bars and restaurants in Cambridge? What are you waiting for?

Contact your councillors and tell them you want them to vote to prohibit smoking in all workplaces in Cambridge, including all bars and restaurants.

Clean Air Works!

Former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich spoke in favor of the ban

By almost all accounts, the deciding vote on this issue rests with City Councillor Denise Simmons

Three cheers for the City of Boston Public Health Commission for approving new regulations that will prohibit smoking in all bars and restaurants throughout the City of Boston starting May 5, 2003. Meet me at Doyle's in Jamaica Plain that night and I'll buy you a beer. - RW

Now if only Cambridge* could see the light.

Text of Proposed Amendments to Cambridge's Tobacco Ordinance

*Cambridge - a city on the Charles River once known as a progressive leader.

Joe Sater of the Middle East
Mr. Sater testified last year at an Ordinance Committee hearing on the smoking ban that he would be agreeable to such a ban as long as all of the surrounding communities agreed to such a ban. Since that time, all of Cambridge's neighbors have either approved the ban or approval is pending (Somerville).
Where are you now, Joseph?

If Cambridge fails to pass the smoking ban as all of its neighbors pass it, the Middle East and other clubs in Cambridge could become magnets for smokers in the metropolitan area. Is this really something anyone wants?

Facts about Secondhand Smoke:

· Secondhand smoke, which is scientifically known as environmental tobacco smoke, has been classified as a Class-A carcinogen—just like asbestos. Secondhand smoke contains over 50 compounds that are known to cause cancer. This means that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

· According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (1/98), an estimated 53,000 nonsmokers die each year in the U.S. as a result of secondhand smoke. More than 1,000 deaths in Massachusetts are attributable to secondhand smoke exposure each year.

· Exposure to secondhand smoke causes some of the same serious illnesses as active smoking does: cancer, emphysema, heart attacks and stroke in adult nonsmokers.

· According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (1/93), bar and restaurant workers are 1½ to 2 times more likely to die of lung cancer than they would be if bars and restaurants were 100% smoke-free.

· According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, "there are no filtration systems that eliminate all of the toxins in ETS [environmental tobacco smoke]". In other words, no ventilation system can remove the harmful elements in secondhand smoke from the air—even if the room doesn’t smell smoky.

The Benefits of Smoke-Free Worksites:

· Additional health-care cost per smoker in this country is slightly over $300 per year in 1983 dollars, and this estimate is conservative. Some insurers, recognizing the disparity in mortality rates between smokers and nonsmokers, are offering up to 45 percent discounts on premiums for term-life coverage for nonsmokers with medical examinations. These considerations do not even include the incremental health insurance costs incurred on behalf of nonsmokers who must breathe the smoke in the workplace involuntarily. These costs represent another area of potential savings when smoking is either banned or restricted in the workplace.

· The Surgeon General's Report of 1986, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking, noted that "Policies regulating smoking at the workplace for the protection of employees’ health are a trend of the 1980s. As of 1986, smoking is restricted or banned in 35% to 40% of private sector businesses and in an increasing number of Federal, State and local government offices....Actions to restrict or ban smoking at the workplace are supported by a large majority of both smokers and nonsmokers."

· There is evidence that smoke-free workplaces provide an incentive for smokers to smoke fewer cigarettes and even to quit smoking altogether. This effect is truly an unintended consequence of workplace smoking bans, but one that should not be ignored. On average, most studies show that 80% of smokers want to quit.

· Smokers employed in locations with strong anti-smoking workplace ordinances were 38% more likely to quit over a 6-month period than those in regions with no such laws (American Journal of Public Health, 2000). Additionally, studies have found that clean indoor air regulations have their strongest impact on teenagers, who are sensitive to how others view their behavior (Journal of Health and Economics, 1991).

March 28 - Here's a good example of “Unclear on the Concept” from Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves.
He has a City Council order on the agenda for the March 31 meeting that goes like this:

O-7. March 31, 2003
WHEREAS: It has come to the attention of the City Council that a recent Boston Magazine ranks at least 200 cities and towns as healthier places to live than Cambridge; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report to the City Council on the methodology and reasons for this low rating of Cambridge as a healthy place to live.

An article in the March 26 Cambridge Chronicle explains this rather clearly:

     Among Cambridge's health-risk factors, according to the (Boston Magazine) article, are its eighth-in-the-state suicide rate, its lack of a city-wide smoking ban and its number of licensed alcohol vendors (254).
     Cambridge also has, the article shows, 170 sources of air pollution and an equal number of fast-food outlets and health clubs. By contrast, super-healthy Dover has one source of air pollution, zero fast-food outlets, two liquor licenses and a smoking ban.

One has to wonder why the good councillor would put in this order when he's on record opposing a smoking ban for Cambridge bars and restaurants. Councillor Reeves claims to never read the local papers but, as former Mayor Sheila Russell once noted, "he always seems to know everything they've written."

Four councillors are on record supporting the smoking ban: Henrietta Davis, Brian Murphy, David Maher, and Marjorie Decker. Three councillors have said they will oppose the smoking ban: Michael Sullivan, Ken Reeves, and Tim Toomey. Whether Cambridge joins all of its neighboring cities in support of a smoking ban lies in the hands of Anthony Galluccio or Denise Simmons, neither of whom have yet taken a public stand.

Here are two interesting items from the Feb 10 City Council meeting agenda:
Policy Order # 4:  Requesting the Massachusetts federal delegations file federal legislation that would allow OSHA regulations to be enacted which would regulate second-hand smoke and tobacco in workplace safety regulations. Councillor Galluccio 
Policy Order #6: Supporting a state-wide ban on smoking in the workplace and places of public accommodations and convey the support of the Cambridge City Council to the Massachusetts State delegation in this regard. Councillor Galluccio [See above]

What does this mean? Is Councillor Galluccio officially declaring his support for a ban on smoking in all workplaces (including all bars and restaurants) or is this simply a way of deferring responsibility to the state and federal government? Councillor Reeves said at the Feb 5 Ordinance Committee meeting that he would support a nationwide ban on smoking. Yet all indications are that he will not vote for the smoking ban for bars and restaurants in Cambridge. Is this also just a diversionary tactic?
Stay tuned.......

January 15 Ordinance Committee meeting on the proposed ordinance to ban smoking in bars and restaurants
    The "No Ban" troops arrived at City Hall like an illness with the stench of smoke gathered about them. On the other side, a roughly equal number of "Clean Air Works" troops gathered inside and outside the Sullivan Chamber as the meeting time approached.
    The testimony on both sides was much like it has been at past hearings. Bar owners spoke of their fears of financial ruin if they are mandated to allow their employees and patrons to breathe freely. Clean Air advocates demonstrated how this alleged catastrophe never materialized in California, Brookline, and every other place where smoking restrictions have been put into effect. Soon, New York City and Boston will join the ranks of cities that have seen the light and refused to cave into the fear-mongering of Big Tobacco.
    There were presentations by a group of Harvard Business School students demonstrating the minimal impact of smoking bans elsewhere in the country. Their study is neither exhaustive nor entirely valid since it did not adequately factor in the ups and downs of the economy. However, it did indicate that smoking bans do not significantly cause patrons to abandon bars in non-smoking locations in favor of others. They also did a survey that showed that relatively few patrons in bars where smoking is allowed were smoking at any given moment. This is significant in that it addresses fears that bars would empty out onto sidewalks as nicotine addicts got their fix. Indications are that this would be a manageable problem.
    One very significant piece of news revealed at this hearing was that the tobacco industry will not contest a recent court ruling on the EPA's classification of second-hand smoke as a Class A carcinogen. The central rationale for the proposed smoking ban by Clean Air Works has been worker safety, and exposure to carcinogens in central to this argument.
    Public comment on the proposed ban has evolved somewhat from the original points about dislike of smoking, economic ruin, and death of friends and relatives. Most notable is the contention that a smoking ban would restrict freedom of choice, an interesting point of view in light of the fact that most Cambridge restaurants are already smoke-free. The counterpoint to this argument is basically the civil rights rationale that it is not acceptable to have an all-white bar or restaurant or one that prohibits Jewish patrons just because most bars and restaurants are unrestricted.
    Another oft-heard rationale is that "things are working OK now, so why change?" This is generally accompanied by the "do no harm" philosophy that it is not right to change things if there's a possibility that one party might experience some negative effect. This is reminiscent of arguments during the rent control era in Cambridge. When rent control was enacted, there were some who benefited and some who suffered. The same was true when rent control was abolished. The defensible arguments for and against rent control were those that addressed the overall policy objectives of the law, not the fact that some people might gain and some might lose. The same goes for the proposed smoking ban. Some will benefit and some will experience some harm, but the focus must remain on the overall policy objectives.
    Perhaps the most ludicrous argument heard by the "No Ban" crowd was that this ban is analogous to Prohibition. In every imaginable sense, the ban is a marginal change. Smoking will still be legal but there will be a small change in where you can do it. Restaurants and bars will be added to a growing list that includes airlines, hospitals, and most workplaces. During Prohibition, alcoholic beverages were prohibited everywhere - period.
    The positions of the Cambridge City Councillors are starting to take shape. As it stands, there are four councillors who have not wavered in their support for the proposal - Henrietta Davis, Brian Murphy, David Maher, and Marjorie Decker. Vice-Mayor Davis has been a staunch advocate for smoking restrictions for a long as she has served on the Council. First-term Councillor Brian Murphy has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, Frank Duehay, in his unwavering support for clean air.
     David Maher, who has worked for the American Cancer Society, has been philosophically consistent throughout. Councillor Marjorie Decker has been lobbied relentlessly by political supporters and bar owners in Central Square and, to her credit, Councillor Decker has only grown more steady in support of the ban.
    On the other side, Councillor Ken Reeves has never supported smoking restrictions in bars and restaurants. In fact, the existing Smoking Ordinance is a watered-down version of an earlier proposal that was done in order to secure Reeves' vote at that time. Then, as now, Councillor Reeves has been heavily influenced by some of his political supporters who are Central Square bar owners, most notably John Clifford of the Green Street Grill.

Former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich spoke in favor of the ban

Harvard Business School students make their case

Joe Sater of the Middle East

Stephen Helfer speaks on behalf of smokers

Former Mayor Barbara Ackermann spoke in favor of the smoking ban

    Councillor Galluccio is publicly undecided on the issue, but he did say during his recent State Senate campaign that he would support the ban for restaurants. He did not support the ban for bars and nightclubs at that time. This is a tricky issue in that most places that we consider nightclubs in Cambridge are actually licensed as restaurants. An indication of what is to come was exhibited by Councillor Galluccio at the January 13 City Council meeting when he deflected a brief discussion on the proposed smoking ban by talking about homelessness in Cambridge. He seemed to be inventing a rationale for opposing the ban based on the theory that enforcement of the ban would divert resources from more pressing social issues. This was double-speak of the sort that ATT Broadband has elevated to an art. Look for Councillor Galluccio to speak of poverty, illness, the elderly, and little children as he negotiates his way around the vote when it will likely come up in February.
    Councillor Toomey has spoken at previous hearings about how much he personally despises smoking, yet it is expected that he will vote against the ban. There is pressure from at least one East Cambridge bar owner who fears that exempt private clubs (like the VFW) will take away some of his business. It is believed that Councillor Toomey might be agreeable to a ban if it was enacted by regulation from the Cambridge Health Commissioner Harold Cox rather than by an ordinance passed by the City Council. Other councillors have also raised this as a possible alternative. In fact, this is precisely the way in which the ban has been enacted in some surrounding communities, including Boston.
    Mayor Sullivan is also expected to vote against the ban. There are indications that such interests as Paddy's Lunch and the Cantab Lounge may be influencing his decision, but Mayor Sullivan has consistently voted in favor of perceived business interests. There is a chance that his vote may be influenced by evidence from around the country of little or no economic impact of similar bans, but it's unlikely that he'll vote for the ban unless it has a clear majority.
    Finally, there's Denise Simmons. By most accounts, she's the one who would normally be expected to bring the fifth vote to enact the smoking ban. She is publicly undecided, yet all indications are that she is acting on behalf of political supporters like Joe Sater of the Middle East restaurant/nightclub. She has expressed concern about "small businesses," but with Boston enacting the ban, much of this argument has become vacuous. Joe Sater himself said at a previous hearing that he would be OK with a ban as long as the surrounding communities all enacted similar bans. One would think that the matter would be settled, especially since Somerville has said that they're just waiting for Cambridge to act. (They may pass the ban even if Cambridge continues to waver.)
    Councillor Simmons was elected as a "progressive" candidate, though it's anyone's guess what that actually means these days. One thing is sure - a significant part of her "progressive" base of voters will seek elsewhere if she chooses to vote against the proposed smoking ban. This is a calculation that Councillor Simmons will have to consider as February approaches.

January 8 update from Chief Public Health Officer Harold Cox on Clean Air Works, the regional initiative to ban smoking in all work places. Currently there are 19 communities in the CAW partnership. Additionally, two other regional partnerships have developed.
Boston - Boston passed smoke-free workplace regulations including bars and restaurants on December 11, 2002. Regulations will be implemented on May 5, 2003.
Braintree - Braintree currently has 100% smoke-free workplaces.
Brookline - Brookline already has 100% smoke-free restaurant and bars and requires very minor changes related to other workplaces to be on par with Clean Air Works.
Cambridge - An initial public hearing was held in Cambridge on July 31st. A follow-up working meeting of the Ordinance Committee was held on September 25th at 4:30 at Cambridge City Hall. The Ordinance Committee has scheduled the next hearing for January 15th at 4:30.
Chelsea - Chelsea has set a public hearing for January 21, 2003 and is likely to vote on February 4th.
Everett - Everett Board of Health has set a hearing date for March 12, 2003.
Framingham - 100% smoke-free regulations have already been passed by the Board of Health. These improved regulations will be implemented in the Spring.
Holliston - 100% smoke-free regulations have been passed by the Board of Health.
Malden - A proposed ordinance currently sits in the Malden City Council Ordinance Committee.
Medfield - 100% smoke-free regulations have been passed by the Board of Health.
Medford - Medford already has 100% smoke-free bars and restaurants. The changes necessary to include all workplaces are in the planning phase and are likely to be brought to the Board in the near future.
Needham - 100% smoke-free regulations were recently passed by the Board of Health.
Newton - The Newton Health Department is in the process of working with Aldermen to have an ordinance placed for consideration.
Norfolk - 100% smoke-free regulations were recently passed by the Board of Health.
Revere - Revere recently passed improved regulations relating to secondhand smoke. The Revere Board of Health has agreed to review Clean Air Works regulations in the near future.
Saugus - The Saugus Board of Health held a public hearing on September 9th regarding 100% smoke-free workplaces and the Board has recently passed 100% workplace regulations. The regulations will be implemented not before March 2003 and not after August 2003.
Somerville - The Somerville Board of Health has been briefed regarding CAW on numerous occasions. The Board met with the business community in December and will be discussing smoke-free workplaces at the January 15th Board Meeting.
Watertown - Board is currently considering the issue and is likely to set a hearing in February.
Wellesley - 100% smoke-free regulations were recently passed by the Board of Health.
Clean Air Works North Community Updates
Beverly - The Beverly Board of Health voted at their September 10th meeting to adopt 100% smoke-free workplace regulations with the enactment date of August 1, 2003.
Salem - Salem currently has 100% smoke-free bars and restaurants.
Saugus - The Town of Saugus held their Public Hearing on September 9th and the Board voted on October 7, 2002 to adopt 100% smoke-free workplace regulations. The Board chose an enactment date that would coincide with Boston.
Peabody - The Peabody Board of Health voted at their August 19th meeting to adopt 100% smoke-free workplaces regulations. The enactment date is August 19, 2003.
Danvers - The Danvers Board of Health held a public hearing on December 12, 2002. The Board is scheduled to vote on 100% smoke-free workplaces on January 16, 2003.
Melrose - Currently allows smoking in only one restaurant.

Three cheers for the City of Boston Public Health Commission for approving new regulations that will prohibit smoking in all bars and restaurants throughout the City of Boston starting May 5, 2003. Meet me at Doyle's in Jamaica Plain that night and I'll buy you a beer. - RW

Now if only Cambridge* could see the light.

Text of Proposed Amendments to Cambridge's Tobacco Ordinance

*Cambridge - a city on the Charles River once known as a progressive leader.


Contact your councillors and tell them you want them to vote to prohibit smoking in all workplaces in Cambridge, including all bars and restaurants.

Clean Air Works!

Return to Cambridge Civic Journal