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After outcry, council tosses proposed smoking ban

The people have smoked, er, spoken.

The Powell City Council was listening, and an overwhelming outcry against a proposed smoking ban in the city greeted Mayor Don Hillman and the council Monday night. More than 40 people filled the council chambers and all but one of the 12 speakers on the issue urged the council to reject enacting such a ban.

The issue has been before the council for two months, but it came to a conclusion Monday with a clear message from bar owners and some customers that they did not want one.

After hearing from the speakers, the council did not act on a planned letter seeking more information, and tabled the proposed ban indefinitely.

"In my opinion, we already have a smoking ban in Powell; it is self-imposed," Hillman said. "I think it's time we put this thing behind us. Let's let the people make their own choices. That's my opinion."

Hillman said he and his wife are former smokers, and when they go out to eat and have a few drinks, they choose to go somewhere where smoking isn't allowed. It's all a matter of choice, Hillman said, and that goes for business owners, too.

"I feel everyone has a right to run a business as they see fit and that's their business," he said, eliciting applause from the audience.

James Andrews, La Vina Package Liquors general manager, was the first anti-ban speaker. Andrews said he had spent the last two weeks reading 37 second-hand smoking studies, and "none of them, none, show definitive scientific evidence" that second-hand smoke is dangerous to people's health.

Meldon McCullough, owner of The Peaks in downtown Powell, said everybody he speaks with is against the proposed ban. Putting one in place is an "infringement on their freedoms," McCullough said. He said the people who support it don't come into bars.

Gene Olmsted, a longtime Park County resident who served as a police officer in Cody and Powell, said he was speaking as a non-smoker.

"My big question right now is, 'How do you ban a legal substance?'" Olmsted said.

He said the people behind the anti-smoking effort are part of a "back-door way to ban other things" that they are opposed to.

He drew the loudest round of applause from the audience.

While four people were on the agenda to speak about health and the negative impact of smoking, only one came forward to speak.

John Vipperman, a physician's assistant from the Big Horn Basin Regional Cancer Center, said there are many reasons people need smoke-free environments.

"I see a lot of tobacco-related cancers," Vipperman said. "One of the ways we can help curb that is through clean indoor air."

Sharon Altermatt, a Prevention Management of Park County team leader, brought the issue before the council in June. Altermatt attended the meeting but did not speak.


  • posted by Dave Kuneman

    August 25, 2013 1:22 pm

    IF you take all the secondhand smoke study results, and run a simple average and standard deviation, the results include the possibility of zero.

  • posted by clipstein

    August 24, 2013 5:22 am

    now the message has been given.... hope the people of powell will finally make their voices heard......get powell back to the days before the high school and people laughed and joked. the good old boys shoved that down the peoples throat and powell changed. then look at the mess they made since because of their delusions.......how many good people did they run of powell? sad it had to come this before the people would stand up.......they should be right along side cardwell. what is the difference?

  • posted by harleyrider1978

    August 21, 2013 12:11 pm

    This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:


    Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

    By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

    Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

    What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

    “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study...........................

    Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

    The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

    Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


    A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

    Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

  • posted by chris

    August 20, 2013 5:54 pm

    Glad to hear this, especially after the previous offensive comments by Sharon Altermatt.
    If Colleen Perkins thinks antismoking research needs to be foisted on the public, perhaps she should make it her mission to hand out copies of these studies to the citizenry. Or she might take a trip to Japan, which has one of the world's highest rates of smoking AND the world's longest life expectancy. Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Austria and Greece similarly smoke more than the US and also live longer.

  • posted by Michael J. McFadden

    August 20, 2013 4:20 pm

    Colleen, could you cite a study showing that allowing smoking inside a few bars and restaurants would put an entire community at risk?

    I'm not from Powell, so perhaps I am wrong in thinking those places are the only ones that still allow smoking there. If indeed there's still smoking going on commonly in maternity wards and grammar school classrooms and such places, then I can see why you might feel "the community" is at risk, but I doubt that such is the case. Is it?

    As for the 37 studies, while I don't know which ones Mr. Andrews read, I can point you to a comprehensive listing of the studies done between 1980 and 1998 on secondhand smoke and lung cancer:


    You'll notice that all of those studies' findings are referenced to sources where they can be checked back to the original documents in the medical journals, and you'll also notice that out of over a hundred such studies only a dozen or so even found a basic significant statistical correlation between lifetimes of secondhand smoke exposure and lung cancer. One even found a significant correlation between childhood exposure to smoke and future PROTECTION from lung cancer.

    Of course those are all just correlations. The rooster crowing correlates highly with the sun coming up. That doesn't mean the rooster wakes up the Great Sun God who pulls it into the sky behind his chariot.

    If you'd like to see a bit more about how Antismokers juggle the science to make their case in pushing these bans, see my "Lies Behind The Smoking Bans" at:


    and feel quite free to offer any substantive criticisms you might have of anything in it. I promise I won't mind, and I'll try to stop back to respond.

  • posted by clipstein

    August 20, 2013 1:08 pm

    miss sorry all those groups are against tobacco but yet say nothing a smoking a joint.. there is something wrong here...... then can they still smoke in the police garage?????? all your studies never say which is more harmfull........ legal or illegal?//

  • posted by dave copeland

    August 20, 2013 12:50 pm

    Second hand smoke 'dangers' were invented by the anti-smoking movement to force through iniquitous bans and legislation.
    The Relative Risk of second hand smoke is 1.17, , which means an increase in risk of 17%. To put this into some sort of perspective, you've more chance of getting cancer from drinking water (RR 1.25), whole milk (RR 2.14), bacon (RR 3.00), and even keeping pet birds! (RR 6.00)
    Would any sane person believe that a persons health can be seriously harmed by a glass of water? Of course not.

    Robert E Madden,
    Practicing chest surgeon, teacher and a former cancer researcher. Past president of the NY Cancer Society. USA

    "To me the most offensive element of the smoking bans is the resort to science as "proving that environmental smoke, second hand smoke, causes lung cancer". Not only is this unproven but there is abundant and substantial evidence to the contrary. It is frustrating, even insulting, for a scientist like myself to hear the bloated statistics put out by the American Cancer Society (of which I am a member) and the American Lung Association used to justify what is best described as a political agenda."

  • posted by Colleen Perkins

    August 20, 2013 10:04 am

    First, I would like to know which medical journals Mr. Andrews found those 37 studies, and titles of those studies. Secondly, I would like to know if Mr. Andrews consulted any of the studies produced by physicians, cancer researchers, epidemiologists, and other experts in the field who spent years compiling evidence about the harmful effects of second hand smoke? It seems that Mr. Andrews has overlooked the fact that the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health all agree that second hand smoke is harmful. Mr. Andrews may be unaware of the thousands of peer-reviewed academic articles that state a direct correlation between second hand smoke and disease. The links below provide a brief summary of the harmful effects of second hand smoke – just in case Mr. Andrews overlooked them. I’m sure that Mr. Andrews could contact any of these organizations to obtain the published academic research that led to these statements. The citizens of Powell deserve to understand the very real dangers of second hand smoke. Those who profit from the sales and use of cigarettes should not be able to determine public health policy. One has the freedom to smoke, however, one does not have the right to put their community at risk.




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