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News Summary

Lawsuit brings up smoking bans

Publication Date: 2006-09-12
  • Author:Tim Donnelly
  • Publication:Beaufort (SC) Gazette

A lawsuit filed last week seeks to overturn the state's first municipal ban on indoor smoking, even as officials on Hilton Head Island and in Columbia step up their efforts to enact anti-smoking ordinances.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Bert's Bar on Sullivan's Island, seeks to prove that smoking bans on the municipal level are prohibited under state law. In the suit, the restaurant argues that the Sullivan's Island ban that went into effect in May runs afoul of the Clean Indoor Air Act of 1990, which prohibits smoking in areas such as schools, government buildings and theaters, and a 1996 provision that says local laws cannot supersede state law.

The suit also says that Bert's Bar has lost 90 percent of its lunchtime business to other restaurants because it doesn't have outdoor seating where patrons can still smoke.

But despite the legal action, efforts for smoking bans elsewhere are still moving forward. The proposal for Hilton Head is modeled after the Sullivan's Island ordinance.