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News Summary

Smoking measure advances

Publication Date: 4/18/2009
  • Author:ED VOGEL
  • Publication:Las Vegas Review-Journal

Senate passes bill easing limits of voter-passed ban

Over the objections of a senator who beat cancer, the Senate voted 14-5 Friday to advance a bill that would allow adults to smoke in bars that serve food.

The vote for Senate Bill 372, which is expected to be well received in the Assembly as well, was made over the pleas of Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, who said second-hand smoke could cause cancer in unsuspecting patrons...

No public testimony was taken on the bill Friday because it was heard by the full Senate, but during an April 3 hearing, a line of bar and taverns owners said the smoking ban was responsible for the closing of 47 bars in Clark County and the loss of hundreds of jobs. They said profits are off 15 percent to 50 percent and their customer base has dropped by about 25 percent.

A Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority executive testified that the ban cost his organization $41 million in business because a cigar and a smokers' convention moved to New Orleans where patrons could smoke on the convention floor.

However, anti-smoking advocates said at the time that tavern and bar owners were ignoring the fact that the economy has gone into recession and many businesses have failed for reasons other than a smoking ban.