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State's opt-out clause may be a first

Publication Date: 2007-03-19
  • Publication:Beatrice Daily Sun

As more states consider adopting sweeping smoking bans, proponents are fighting efforts they say will dilute the intended purpose of such laws.

Lawmakers in several states have been asked to consider letting cities opt out of a statewide smoking ban - either by a city council vote or ballot referendum.

It's closest to reality in Nebraska, where an amendment has been added to a statewide smoking ban making its way through the Legislature.

But national anti-tobacco groups say the opt-out clause is a dangerous trend that takes the teeth out of a statewide ban. They're convinced it's a ploy by smoking ban opponents who realize there is public support for smoke-free laws and want to undermine them.

“There's not enough political will to kill a law, but they're trying to dilute it,” said Bronson Frick of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, a California-based group. “It's designed to divert health group resources to constantly defending a state law.”

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