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News Summary

It's easy to light up in private clubs

Publication Date: 3/30/2005
  • Author:SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
  • Publication:Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin
A group of restaurant and bar owners who have been forced to ban smoking in their establishments says so-called private clubs have an unfair advantage.

The state's new smoking ban exempts some private clubs, but really how private are those clubs?

Not very, if you ask a group of bar and restaurant owners who sued the state this week.

The business owners argue that the ban is unconstitutional, in part, because it exempts some private clubs that do essentially the same business as they do.

"Welcoming New Members," reads a newspaper advertisement for Buschewackers Sports Club in Newport, mentioned as an example in the lawsuit. "Come in with a member and become a member. Smoking is permitted."

The businesses bringing the suit also hired a private investigator, who said in court papers that he had no problem walking into these "private" clubs, having a drink and smoking.