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Taverns Lose Lawsuit To End Smoking Ban

Publication Date: 2005-03-17
  • Author:AP
  • Publication:1010 WINS (NY, NY)
A federal court on Thursday rejected an attempt by tavern owners to gut the state's indoor smoking ban.

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association had fought the 2003 provisions of the state's Clean Indoor Air Act that banned smoking in most public businesses unless a waiver was warranted because of lost business.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn, however, dismissed the group's challenge to the law as well as its challenge to the waiver system. The law allows state and county health officials to rule on whether financial hardship of a business can be blamed on the indoor smoking ban.

The group's attorney, Kevin T. Mulhearn of Orangeburg, said the criteria are too vague and interpreted differently in counties. For example, he said some counties are refusing to grant any waivers at all, saying that is their interpretation of the law.