Sunday, May 17, 2009

Support a Smoke Free CNMI

I received an email from the George Cruz of Marianas Health Services this morning asking to support a Smoke Free CNMI. The email, edited for length is posted here:
Either this Tuesday, MAY 19th, or Wednesday, MAY 20th the House of Representatives will go into session to address HB 16-47 around 9:30 or 9:45 a.m..

The version of HB 16-47 which passed the Senate included the following amendments:

1. Page 9, Sub-Section 3174 – the Senate reduced the distance from a ventilated area, such as a window, door or vent, from 25 fee to 15 feet.

2. Page 11 – the Senate inserted a provision that gave establishments “Partial Exemption” of the Smoke Free Air Act by allowing 10% of their establishment to be designated as a “Smoking Area” if they pay an annual $2,000 Partial Exemption Fee.

3. Page 12 – the Senate continues with their ingenuity by allowing “Full Exemption” to the Smoke Free Air Act by giving establishments the option to be 100% Smoking Allowed by paying an Annual $10,000 Full Exemption Fee.

Please take a moment to an email in support of this important legislation, including language that the "Partial Exemption" and "Full Exemption" clauses be removed.

The letter should address the following:

1. To support the PASSING of HB 16-47 also known as the “CNMI Smoke Free Air Act of 2008”
2. To support the elimination of the Partial & Full Exemption clauses of the bill

Please email your comments to Congressman Ralph Torres at and to Senator Joseph Mendiola at You can also fax your letter using the following numbers:

Congressman Ralph Torres
House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare
Fax: (670) 664-8926

Senator Joseph Mendiola
Senate Committee on Health & Welfare
Fax: (670) 664-8876
When I was in San Francisco one of the friends I met looked at me with disgust when I told him they still allowed smoking in bars on Saipan. How barbaric!

This is something I fully support. Not supporting this bill is indefensible. There are no cultural arguments to be made, because smoking is not a part of our culture. There are no health arguments to be made, because second hand smoke is universally accepted to be harmful. There are no economic arguments to be made either, because restaurants in states that ban smoking usually end of doing better business.

A sample letter could be:
Dear Commonwealth Representative Torres,

I support HB 16-47 which would protect my children from harmful second hand smoke. I do not support the "Partial Exemption" or the "Full Exemption" of the bill as amended by the Senate. I humbly ask you to remove them.

Thank you,

Your name
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
It's that simple. Now mail out a letter!


bradinthesand said...

i think there are only a couple of places where smoking should stay and one of those places is a bar.

i think smoking with a beer in hand at a bar is fine. everyone knows that smoking is terrible for you but people do it anyway.

alcohol isn't good for you either, but people like to engage in a little social sinning one puff or sip at a time.

if you don't want to be in that environment you don't have to be. and yes, employees have the option of working there or somewhere else as well.

children have no business being in a bar in the first place so they should be left out of the discussion when bars are concerned.

i have no problem banning smoking from restaurants but i really don't like banning it in bars.

bar owners have the option of making their establishments smoke-free and they will attract customers accordingly.

those who want to smoke their lungs away can do so in a "smoking bar" and those who want to live longer can go to the smoke-free joints.

are there any of the latter on saipan?

The Saipan Blogger said...

So the question is, "what is a bar and what is a restaurant?"

In Florida it is defined by the percentage of food sales. In a few bars, they stop selling food at a certain time and people are then allowed to start smoking.

The Saipan Blogger said...

One of the new girls at Godfathers was complaining to me the other day that when she goes home, everthing, including her underwear, smells like smoke.

It wasn't Edz.

bradinthesand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bradinthesand said...

then she doesn't have to work there. if you're going to work at a bar then you know that smoking comes with the territory.

if a smoking bill passes, employers should have to tell their employees at the time of their interview (or in the job posting) that it will be a smoking environment.

by title alone, godfather's bar is a bar. let the respective owners determine what type of establishment they want to open during the licensing process.

godfather's is a bar that has food. tony roma's is a restaurant with a bar inside.

restaurant = no smoking
bar = puff away

The Saipan Blogger said...

I had a long comment, but it didn't post. Fuck.

bradinthesand said...

i guess all that smoking prevented you from being long winded (ba-dump-bump).

Rick said...

Unfortunately, some of these applicants are only told they will be working as a "waitress" and don't discover the truth until they step off the plane... they don't get to choose if it's a restaurant/bar/club/karaoke/massage etc.

In 2004 my girlfriend worked in a poker arcade, yes they allowed smoking and she would take a shower immediately when she got home. But she chose to work there since she was already on island and they gave her as many hours as she wanted.

It's odd going into bars in Chicago that used to allow smoking but don't anymore... now all you smell is stale beer, an old mop, the b.o. of the person sitting next to you, etc.; before, all those scents were covered up by the smoke.