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NEWPORT BEACH : Protesters Oppose Smoking Initiative

October 28, 1994|HOLLY J. WAGNER

Joe Camel had a bad day Wednesday in Newport Beach.

A handful of protesters from the American Cancer Society boarded a boat and ran an effigy of the cigarette logo up a yardarm to protest Philip Morris Companies' support of Proposition 188. The initiative would repeal all local smoking ordinances in California and block a statewide ban on smoking in most indoor workplaces, which is to take effect Jan. 1.

"I would never support anything supported by Philip Morris," said Patty Day, a substance abuse counselor from Yorba Linda, who said she was duped into signing a petition to get the initiative on the ballot. "I didn't look carefully and I admit that."

Cathy Koehli, also a school anti-substance abuse counselor, said she objects to the deceptive tactics used to gain support for the measure.

"No one is confused about this issue," she said. "Put it to the people clearly."

Also among the protesters was California Angels trainer Ned Bergert, who led the drive to ban smokeless tobacco from professional baseball locker rooms.

"Their tactics are deceitful and their purpose is downright degrading," he said.

Protester Art Leach said he smoked for 35 years, then quit--the day before he had a laryngectomy, which his doctors attributed to his habit. That was in 1966 and he has had to speak with an artificial voice simulator ever since.

"I am angry about the millions of dollars that the tobacco companies have put out to get the young people to start (smoking)," he said.

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