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News Summary

Smoking ban might be eased

Publication Date: 2009-01-22
  • Author:Ed Sealover
  • Publication:Rocky Mountain News

Bill would open door at some bars, casinos

Portions of Colorado's 2 1/2-year-old indoor-smoking ban could be in jeopardy under a bill expected to be introduced soon.

The bipartisan measure would classify bars, restaurants, racetracks and parts of casinos as cigar-tobacco bars if they have a humidor and make 5 percent of annual gross income or $50,000 in annual sales from tobacco products. Patrons would be required to buy the cigarettes or cigars they smoke at these bars.

The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, passed in 2006, bans smoking in most indoor locations in the state, and a 2007 law nixed puffing at casinos, which had been exempt from the original legislation.

Sponsors of the measures said they were meant to protect workers' health.

But the original legislation exempted cigar bars, and establishments ranging from dive bars to casinos tried to use the loophole to allow patrons to light up.

The new bill would clarify the definition of such bars - and expand it.

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