Letter to Nebraska Senators from San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce in favor of Smokefree Legislation

Letter to Nebraska Senators from San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce in favor of Smokefree Legislation

January 29, 2001

Dear Senators:

I am writing to urge you to advance Legislative Bills 227 and 423, and to briefly share with you San Luis Obispo's success as the world's smoke-free leader.

In 1990, San Luis Obispo, California became the first city in the world to ban smoking in all public buildings including bars and restaurants. Since that time, municipalities around the world have followed suit, using San Luis Obispo as a model. I'm sure you are aware that cities and counties from Amherst, MA to Shasta County, CA have adopted smoking bans in public workplaces, bars and restaurants. The trend has also taken hold outside the United States in communities from Canada to Ireland.

I must admit that, at the time the ordinance was presented, we were extremely wary of it. We feared that the ban on smoking would cost the community revenue, jobs, tax dollars, tourists and tourist-generated income. We ended up coming out in support of the ordinance, seeing it as a leap of faith that wouldn't hurt business. Suffice it to say, our initial fears were unfounded and today, I'm pleased to report that the effects have been extremely positive.  

According to reports issued by the California State Board of Equalization, the number of eating and drinking establishments in the city have grown, taxable transacations from eating and drinking establishments have eclipsed statewide levels, the number of tourists to the city has grown exponentially, and the ever-important transient occupancy tax collected by the city is at a record high. In fact, we believe that tourists seek out San Luis Obispo as a vacation destination because of our clean air and pristine environment and appreciate our concern for the health of our visitors and residents.

An interesting side note: restaurants just outside of our city limits, ended up voluntarily enforcing the ordinance (before it became state law) to compete with city-wide restaurants who were reaping the benefits of the smoking ban.

I sincerely hope that our decade of unprecedented positive growth will convince you that a move to make Nebraska restaurants smoke-free is a true "win-win." Thank you for your consideration.

Very Cordially,

David E. Garth
San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce
1039 Chorro St.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

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