Protect Local Control

Ensuring Community Rights
To Pass Smokefree Ordinances

News Summary

Nevada Supreme Court upholds no smoking law

Publication Date: 2011-11-02
  • Author:Cy Ryan
  • Publication:Las Vegas Sun

The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that Nevada’s smoking ban in bars, taverns and gaming establishments is constitutional and cites a Las Vegas business for “repeated flagrant violations” of the law.

The court said District Judge Valerie Adair was correct in issuing an injunction against Bilbo’s Bar & Grill not only prohibiting smoking but also against placing ashtrays and match books for the use of its customers.

Upon inspection, the Southern Nevada Health District found smoking by customers and the business providing ashtrays and match books. It was told by staff that the owner told them not to enforce the 2006 Clean Air Act that banned smoking.

The health district filed a civil complaint, seeking an injunction.

In a second inspection, health district inspectors found five people smoking and the five were using cups and shot glasses provided by the bar for ashtrays. And the owner Robert Peccole Jr. was smoking a cigar.

He extinguished the cigar.

But the trial was started and a permanent injunction was issued not only to prohibit smoking but to stop providing ceramic cups, shot glasses and other items to patrons to be used as ashtrays. And the business was to inform the customers they could not smoke.

Bilbo’s maintained its rights were violated in stopping the use of ashtrays and match books with advertisement. It maintained it held commercial free speech.

The court said the law prohibits smoking within indoor places of employment such as restaurants and requires the removal of smoking-related materials including all ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia.

The court rejected the argument of Bilbo’s that the term paraphernalia is too vague.

It said "a person of common intelligence would know that the term included matchbooks and the use of other items as replacement ashtrays under the circumstances presented by this case.”

The court also turned down the argument of Bilbo’s that the district court’s injunction violates “its commercial free speech right to advertise its business locations and phone numbers on its ashtrays and matchbooks.”

It said it is not to regulate commercial speech but to stop smoking.