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News Summary

State House Ban revision would permit smoking rooms

Publication Date: 5/11/2007
  • Author:LAUREN R. DORGAN
  • Publication:Concord (NH) Monitor

House subcommittee supports the change

"Fully enclosed" smoking rooms would be allowed in restaurants and bars under a version of the statewide ban that cleared a House subcommittee last week.

A House subcommittee voted 4-1 last week for an amendment that would let restaurants keep smoking rooms on two conditions: The rooms must have separate ventilation systems and employees must be able to choose whether to enter them.

Rep. Ed Butler, a Democrat from Hart's Location, said he thinks his amendment is a "reasonable and narrow compromise" that protects public health while providing an option to smokers and businesses.

Amendment opponents argued that it would be difficult for workers to say no to their employers and that the rooms would be bad for the health of smokers and their children, as well as anyone seated near the door of the smoking room. . . .

The full commerce committee will take up the ban Tuesday, and no one on either side could predict whether the amendment would pass.