Bill would ease Nevada’s indoor smoking ban
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – Nevada taverns and bars would be allowed to sell food and still allow smoking under a late-session bill introduced Friday in the state Assembly.
AB571 was introduced by the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, which will hold a hearing on the bill Monday.
The bill would allow bar and tavern operators to determine if their food service is “incidental” to their business, thereby allowing smoking in establishments restricted to people 21 and older.
“Right now, taverns can allow smoking if they’re not serving food,” said Amy Beaulieu with the American Lung Association. “What this does, it gets their kitchens back open.”
The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act approved by voters in 2006 prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars that serve food, in slot machine sections of grocery and convenience stores, and at video arcades, shopping malls, schools and day-care centers. Smoking is still allowed on gambling floors of casinos.
“Not only will this expose more people, employees and patrons, to more secondhand smoke, it is unbelievable that the Legislature is working to overturn the will of the people,” Beaulieu said.
Bar and saloon owners complain the smoking restriction has hurt business. AB571 also includes $15,000 to hire a consultant to conduct a study regarding implementation of the clean indoor air act.
Beaulieu said no further study is needed.
A poll released in February by the American Lung Association in Nevada showed 83 percent of those surveyed support the state’s indoor air laws.
Tom McCoy, Nevada government affairs director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said his organization fears the bill, if passed, could pave the way for a return of smoking sections in establishments.
“We do not see it as a smart move,” he said.
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