BETTY ANN BOWSER: Since 1995, California's state law has banned smoking in most restaurants, manufacturing plants, offices, and enclosed work spaces, but until now, saloons, nightclubs, and restaurant-bars that did not serve food were exempt. Bar owners were given two years to install sophisticated ventilation systems that would protect their employees from the dangers of secondhand smoke. The law also gave the state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration time to establish standards for the systems. OSHA was unable to do that, so at midnight tonight, the anti-smoking legislation automatically takes effect. The American Lung Association supports the measure.
DR. GUY SOO HOO, American Lung Association: The secondhand smoke exposure is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes per eight-hour shift. So if you think about that, even if you're a non-smoker, you're a smoker.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: The smoking ban will now cover 35,000 additional businesses, and many of their owners and employees complain they will lose customers.
LILLI DRUGG, Waitress: I'm very worried because this is what's paying my rent and all my bills. This is my living.
PETER WICHMAN, Bartender: A lot of the Europeans, a lot of them smoke, and they're going to go somewhere else, and that's going to reflect on my tips in the end.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Under the new law it will be up to local law enforcement agencies to police the bars and nightclubs. Violators can be fined up to $7,000.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Margaret Warner has more.
MARGARET WARNER: Yesterday, a California superior court judge rejected an 11th hour request from bar owners and others to delay the onset of the ban. He did agree; however, to hold a January 15th hearing on the merits of their argument against it. For more on the ban and its likely impact we're joined by Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco, who's been active in the fight against in-door smoking in the state; and California assemblyman Brett Granlund, the ranking Republican on the assembly's health committee. Mr. Glantz, why does California need to go this far?
STANTON GLANTZ, Anti-Smoking Activist: (San Francisco) Well, secondhand smoke is the third leading preventable cause of death. It causes heart disease; it causes lung cancer; it causes cervical cancer. And it's just time to protect the last group of workers who deserve protection from these toxins. A cigarette is like a little toxic waste dump on fire, and the one group of workers who have the highest exposure to these toxins are people in the hospitality industry. And it's now time to protect them and to protect all the other people who would like to go to a bar or a club and have a good time and not be asphyxiated.
MARGARET WARNER: Mr. Granlund, you disagree.
BRETT GRANLUND, (R) California Assemblyman: (Los Angeles) Well, I do. Certainly--No. 1, it's never been established--and the argument's going to go on and on about secondhand smoke--but that's not the issue here. The issue is, if I own a business, it's my choice to make that a smoke-free bar or to make that a smoking bar. And when legislators or the system or the bureaucracy has the gall and the audacity to believe that they're going to be able to come in and tell someone who may be a member of a private cigar club that they pay dues to belong to that they cannot go into their private cigar club and smoke because they want to protect employees, most of which smoke, most of whom smoke, a much higher rate of smokers in the hospitality industry and particularly in the bar and waitress industry than any other industry, any other job in California.
MARGARET WARNER: Mr. Glantz, was there a way to do this that didn't infringe on personal freedom say of bar owners or smokers who wanted this kind of environment, and waiters or waitresses?
STANTON GLANTZ: Well, first of all, Assemblyman Granlund said several things that are wrong. First of all, the evidence I was quoting on secondhand smoke wasn't something I made up. The California Environmental Protection Agency spent six or seven years studying this subject and reached those conclusions. Furthermore, the statement that most people who work in bars isn't true either. The California Department of Health Services commissioned a survey and found that about 2/3 of the people who go to bars are non-smokers and that about 85 percent of the people who go to bars are in favor of this law, including a lot of the smokers.
MARGARET WARNER: I guess what I'm asking--
STANTON GLANTZ: To get to the freedom question, I mean, I don't think there's any freedom to poison other people. If someone came into a bar and said, you know, it enhances my bar experience to open up a 50-gallon drum of benzine or formaldehyde or acrilene or dimethyl nitrosomine, or NNK, or nicotine, or carbon monoxide because I like putting these poison fumes in the air, you would call the environmental safety people And that's exactly what you do when you smoke a cigarette; you're poisoning other people. I think if smokers want to go in private places and smoke in ways that won't hurt other people, that's their right. Everybody has bad habits. But there's no--to me, your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. And people have a right to breathe clean air. And this is the last bastion of indoor air pollution we have in California.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Assemblyman, what's wrong with that argument about why can't somebody who's in a bar and wants to smoke just step outside and smoke and not endanger the health of anyone else?
BRETT GRANLUND: Well, because probably we live in California--we have some of the filthiest air on earth--it's not necessarily safe--if you watch the news in Los Angeles--we have many days where we have smog alerts that suggest that seniors and young people stay indoors; that they don't go outdoors because our air is too unhealthy to breathe, No. 1. No. 2, the smokers have voluntarily given up the airplanes, the movie theaters, most work places, everywhere except for the Elks Lodge, the VFW Hall, and the bars that allow smoking, and gaming clubs. And certainly the fact that smokers have voluntarily gone along with these bans in the past--restaurants and so forth--the folks that support this ban are in for a very, very big surprise in just about eight hours when their law goes into effect, and they find out it's unenforcible and that their surveys are absolutely garbage; they were not scientific surveys; or field polls. They were not done in bars; they were not done with people who go to bars. And people that would tell you that my grandmother or my preacher are sitting home, waiting to go out to a bar to get drunk tomorrow because they won't have to breathe smoke are just absolutely ludicrous.
MARGARET WARNER: Okay. So staying with you for a minute, what are you saying is going to happen when midnight strikes? Are you going to say that there's going to be passive resistance to this, smokers are going to continue?
BRETT GRANLUND: I would say that people in bars are going to go on with their life just like they will at 11 o'clock, they will at 12, and they will at 1, and they will tomorrow night as well and the next night as well.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Mr. Glantz, how is this going to be enforced?
STANTON GLANTZ: Oh, it's going to be first--again, Assembly Granlund has made several states that are simply incorrect. To say that the smoke-free workplace laws, that the airline laws went into force without any opposition is crazy. The tobacco industry pulled out all the stops trying to prevent those laws too. I mean, we're just getting a complete replay of the argument. We heard the same thing before airlines went smoke free. We heard the same thing before work places went smoke free. We heard the same thing before restaurants went smoke free, and every single time the predicted catastrophe simply didn't materialize. I think that the state of California is doing quite a good job of implementing this law. There's some antics--there's an advertising campaign using television and radio ads to educate people about what the law says. There have been mailings sent to every bar in the state. The Alcoholic Beverage Commission is involved in the enforcement. And nothing--
BRETT GRANLUND: Now, if I can tell you--
MARGARET WARNER: Assemblyman, let him finish, and I'll get right back to you.
STANTON GLANTZ: I don't think anything's going to happen at 12:01 tonight. Everybody's going to be celebrating the New Year's. I think the time that you want to come back is in a week or in a month after people have had a chance to really understand what this law says. And I think sure, the tobacco industry, who gives the assemblymen a lot of money, by the way, is going to be out there, trying to orchestrate opposition to this, trying to make trouble, but this is a law that the vast majority of Californians want, the tobacco industry pulled out all the stops trying to get it repealed last year, and thanks to Sen. Bill Lockere, the president pro-tem of the Senate, they will stop, and I think that a month from now if you come back, you're going to find an awful lot of happy people here in California.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Assemblyman, your turn.
BRETT GRANLUND: I want to respond. There's one thing about the zealot anti-smoker. They only lie when they move their lips. And I'll give you just a couple of examples. One, you just heard from Mr. Glantz that ABC's involved and ABC's going to help enforce that.
MARGARET WARNER: That's the Alcohol Beverage Control Board.
BRETT GRANLUND: Right. The facts are that Mr. Glantz knows. The Department of Health Services knows that one month ago Alcohol Beverage Control made a decision that they had no legal standing to enforce this law; that they would not enforce that law; and they contacted DHS and told them that they were going to have nothing to do with that, and they had no standing to go after the liquor license of a licensee who had a violation of some other code that had its own penalties. And in response to that, they sent out notices to 35,000 licensees in the state that their liquor license would be in jeopardy if, in fact, they didn't become the smoke police. They have sent out notices that said you must remove your ashtrays tonight at midnight. Nothing could be further from the truth. They sent out all kinds of propaganda, as they usually do, most of it untrue, none of it a quote out of the law because the one thing that they don't want to have happen is for bar owners to actually know what the law says. And I've urged every bar owner to get a copy of AB-13, the actual law, posted in their bar and let the people decide for themselves and make their own decisions not based on media hype and misinformation that's being spread by the folks that want to stop people from being able to smoke in a bar.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Well, gentlemen, thank you very much. We'll be back to see how it goes.