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News Summary

Restaurant, bar owners sue to halt smoking ban

Publication Date: 3/31/2005
  • Author: Scott Mayerowitz
  • Publication:The Providence Journal
A group of bar and restaurant owners is challenging the constitutionality of the state's new smoking ban, saying that a handful of exemptions in the law are unfair and causing them to lose money.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday, the business owners say that exceptions to the ban for "substantially identical establishments" to their own are arbitrary and have nothing to do with the promotion of public health.

Five businesses filed the suit, saying sales have dropped 10 percent to 35 percent since the ban took effect four weeks ago. Customers are fleeing, they say, to the private clubs, small bars and gambling parlors where smoking is still allowed.