Who’s this guy and why is he speaking to the House Public Health Committee?

This gentleman didn’t just stumble into the House Public Health Committee yesterday (Tuesday, February 21, 2012).  He spoke on behalf of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association against HB2267/Restore Local Rights.  But he isn’t JUST representing ORA.  He didn’t mention to all of the members of the House Public Health Committee that he is also a registered Tobacco Lobbyist.  Because – why would a Tobacco Lobbyist speak at a House Pubic Health Committee?

This gentleman is Benny Vanatta – he is both a registered lobbyist for the ORA and Swisher.  But when he speaks against Restoring Local Rights  – is he speaking on behalf of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association OR Swisher?

It is common practice for tobacco companies to use  both the National Restaurant Association and State Restaurant Associations [like here in Oklahoma] ( in some states – not all.  Click here and see map) as a front to work against smoke-free policies.

“Since the 1970’s, tobacco companies have worked persistently to influence the policy positions of key hospitality trade associations for the purpose of using these third parties as front groups to undermine smokefree policies. Even though all legitimate economic studies show that smokefree air has no negative impact on business, tobacco industry strategists were successful in both buying off the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and convincing it that smokefree ordinances are bad for business.” - American for Nonsmoker’s Rights

When they say it is bad for business.  It isn’t!

When they say communities are not capable of making wise decisions.  It isn’t true!

When WE go to the Capitol and when WE speak to our legislators – we go as ourselves.
We use credible facts from ANR and the American Cancer Society.
We have nothing to hide – or another organization to hide behind.
We come as ourselves and will continue to do so until local rights are restored.

Oklahoma’s race to the bottom of bad health is NOT the race I want to win.

Find out how YOU can help.  Follow us on facebook and twitter.  Call and/or email your legislators and tell them that “You don’t want to get a job someplace else!   You want your city to be able to become smoke-free!”  Ask them to support HB2267/Restore Local Rights!

And don’t take NO for an answer!

-Paula

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