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News Summary

Anti-smoking bill needs loophole closed

Publication Date: 8/13/2009
  • Author:LTE: Laura Thorbjornsen
  • Publication:The Valley Breeze

While Rhode Island has one of the toughest indoor clean-air acts in the country, it is far from perfect. To get this bill the air it needed to be alive here in Rhode Island, it took three decades of dedicated work from public health reform groups, politicians and concerned citizens.

It also took compromise too, for every rule, there is an exception, and cigar bars were just that.

The Work Place Safety Act requires the owner of the "smoking bar" to provide evidence annually to the Division of Taxation that their tobacco sales are greater than 50 percent. When considering "smoking bars" to be exempted from the Work Place Safety Act, the quota was set high enough so that only cigar bars could meet the quota and prevent bars that serve alcohol and food from falsely using this definition to their advantage.

Now we find a growing number of "smoking bars" cropping up putting the public's health at risk and virtually undoing the Work Place Safety Act...

Please don't hesitate to contact your local elected official and urge them to support banning bars that allow smoking near or in residential living space - and try to get a House floor vote on Rep. Segal's bill when the General Assembly comes back to finish this year's session.