Debra Kelley of the San Diego County Office of the American Lung Association continues to spew erroneous facts and assumptions regarding the smoking ban in California ["Smoke-Free: Better for Business," letters, Aug. 13].

She began her diatribe by trying to associate me with "the tobacco industry." I truly couldn't care less about Philip Morris or RJ Reynolds. I am just a tavern owner who saw his sales plummet last year because of the smoke-free bar program [letters, July 20].

Ms. Kelley claimed the program is "very popular." Wrong again. A recent poll conducted on the Digital City-San Diego Web site showed an overwhelming number of respondents (nearly 3 to 1) were against the ban.

As to the "sales tax data": (1) She failed to make any distinction between restaurants and stand-alone bars. Because we are talking about bars and taverns -- open only to adults over 21 -- combining receipts for both cannot possibly produce any credible results.

(2) For the bars that were included, no determination was made as to whether those bars were enforcing the ban. Compliance rates are as low as 50 percent in many areas. Thus Ms. Kelley uses misleading "statistics" to convince The Post's readers that the smoke-free bar program is a great success.

As to her last comment -- "tourism has reached record levels in San Diego" -- I ask, where? Perhaps at our great beaches or the zoo. However, we're talking about nightclubs and taverns here, not Sea World.


La Jolla, Calif.