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The Fine Print That Could Kill the Smoking Ban

Publication Date: 2005-07-08
  • Author:ELI SANDERS
  • Publication:The Stranger
For a club owner, Dave Meinert is unusually eager to ban smoking. Long before this week's announcement that an initiative to outlaw indoor smoking will almost certainly appear on the November ballot, Meinert was preparing to enact his own early smoking ban inside the Mirabeau Room, the club he owns in Lower Queen Anne. He figured going smoke-free would increase business, since smoking bans in New York and San Francisco have led to increased business at bars and clubs in those two cities.

But Meinert also wanted smokers who frequent the Mirabeau Room to be able to duck outside and light up, so he began building a deck out back in anticipation of banning smoking inside his club once the outdoor deck was complete. Then Meinert read the fine print in the proposed statewide smoking ban...

The fine print of Initiative 901 includes a clause that would make the measure not just a ban on indoor smoking, but also a ban on outdoor smoking—if the outdoor space in question lies within 25 feet of any door, window, or air vent that leads into a protected public space, such as a bar, club, restaurant, office building, or vehicle used by the general public.