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Nevada Nevada Update

RE: The Nevada bill to remove some restrictions on their smoking ban, SB 372.
1/26/09
If you live in, or visit the state, please e-mail the legislators to bring back SB 372.
I would suggest to those who do write to have added to the bill a exemption for Airports behind the security gate, just like they have in the State of Colorado which exempts DIA from their state ban.
This bill would pass, and we would have a big win in this country – if people cared enough to simply write or call their legislators. We can win this one.
– A Newsletter Reader


Bill that would loosen smoking restrictions dies

By Cy Ryan (contact)
May 15, 2009
CARSON CITY – A bill to allow taverns that permit smoking to also serve food has died in the Assembly Judiciary Committee without a vote.
This is the final day for committees to process bills and Committee Chairman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, asked his members if they wanted to bring up any bill for a vote. None suggested a vote on Senate Bill 372 to amend Nevada’s Clean Air Act.
“There was no appetite for it,” said Anderson. He said committee members felt uncomfortable with sections of the bill and the feeling wasn’t partisan.
Assemblyman Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, said after the meeting that only one of many calls and e-mails was in support of the measure. It had passed the Senate by a 14-5 vote.
James Wadhams, a lobbyist for Golden Gaming with taverns in Nevada, said he thought there were the necessary eight votes to get it out of committee.
Wadhams, in testimony before the committee, said customers in a smoking bar can order out for a pizza or other food or bring food in to eat. But the bars are prohibited from serving food.
Tavern owners have testified they lost 25 percent of their business after voters in 2006 voted for the Clean Air Act to ban food service in taverns that permit smoking.
Steve Arcana, chief operation officer of Golden Gaming, which has 42 locations in Nevada, said there was a “severe decline” in business. And 60 employees were affected
But Nancy York of the school of nursing at UNLV told the Judiciary Committee the passage of the act did not have an impact on business. She said a preliminary analysis of a study showed the business in bars was declining before the ban went into effect.
The bar business, she said, paralleled the decline in the general economy. And health officials testified against the bill, warning of the dangers of second-hand smoke.
The bill also would have permitted smoking in a convention hall where the meeting is devoted to tobacco and the session is not open to the public. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority testified earlier it had lost two conventions because of the smoking prohibition.


Dear Senators,

April 29, 2009
I am very happy to see that the great state of Nevada is moving to bring back personal choice and liberty, via allowing personal responsibility with SB 372. The last day I spent in Las Vegas, where I have 3 weeks of time share, was the last day I could smoke in the open market area of the Aladdin, MGM Grand, and Las Vegas International Air Port. Before that, I had done my Christmas shopping in those malls since the California smoking ban was put in place in 1998. And since I live in Placerville, it was a short drive to Reno or Lake Tahoe where we had a group of 10-14 that would go up a few times a year because we could smoke in Nevada. We have not made those trips since the smoking ban was put in place.
So, starting Dec 10th we will be back! But I reviewed the proposed legislation, and have a suggestion. You are missing the wording “indoor smoking areas” specifically like the smoking rooms they still have in the Air Ports. Those rooms are currently roped off in Las Vegas, and I make sure I do not connect through Las Vegas any more for that reason. Can you add the wording to allow the Air Ports or any other facility’s that want to have segmented, separate smoking rooms to allow smoking?
Since I live in California, I know what I am missing when I have visited Nevada. I am looking forward to spending my time and dollars again where I am welcome. Thank you for this legislation!
Sincerely,
Robert Deitz, II


Unsuspecting Falsehoods…???
Article Comment
by? Michael J. McFadden
April 19th, 2009

Senator Lee’s concern about? “cancer in unsuspecting patrons” is completely false for two very good reasons.? .
First of all, if one looks at the actual studies that have been done? over the years there is no support for the idea that social exposures to secondary smoke (i.e. the sort of exposures one gets at bars/casinos/restaurants as a patron) have any relationship to lung cancer at all. .
Of the nine? “social exposure” primary studies done between 1985 and 1998 seven of them? failed even the most basic test of statistical significance.
The two that showed? a relationship were split with one actually showing a “protective” effect from? exposure (Janerich 1990) and one showing a causative effect (Fontham 1994) Even? if you took the one study that supports the idea as fact you’d still be looking? at a figure claiming just one extra lung cancer for every 15,000 or so? person-years of exposure (based on Fontham’s
1.5 RR and a base lifetime LC rate? in non-exposed nonsmokers of about 1 in 200, i.e. 1/2 of one percent). I do not? know of any “social exposure”
primary studies that have been completed in more? recent years though it’s possible some exist. .
And of course even THAT? absurdly low level of risk could be completely avoided by patrons who simply go? to the bars and restaurants that decide on their own to attract that “great? mass” of nonsmoking customers by banning smoking on their own. .?
Governmentally imposed smoking bans are bad laws based on lies and supported by fears whipped up by yellow journalism and having no resemblance at all to reality outside of trumped up statistical tables. The Senator’s concerns? are, as I said, ungrounded. .
Michael J. McFadden
Author of? Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains Mid-Atlantic Director, Citizens Freedom? Alliance, Inc.
Director, Pennsylvania Smokers’ Action Network? (PASAN)

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PUBLIC HEALTH: Smoking measure advances

Senate passes bill easing limits of voter-passed ban
April 18, 2009
By ED VOGEL
CARSON CITY — 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.
Lee spoke of being in “God’s waiting room” during his bout with nasal cancer and how faith helped him through the ordeal. At times he said he wanted to die because radiation treatments hurt more than the cancer.
While he did not smoke, Lee said second-hand smoke causes cancer and legislators should not overturn the will of the people.
In November 2006, voters imposed a state law that prohibits smoking in restaurants, bars that serve food, slot machine areas of grocery stores, arcades and about every public place except the gaming areas of casinos.
Under the state constitution, the voter-approved no-smoking law cannot be changed for three years.
SB372 contains a clause that its provisions allowing smoking in bars that serve food would not begin until Dec. 9, three years after the smoking ban went into effect.
Still, Lee said senators owe it to their constituents not to amend the no-smoking law.
If tavern owners want to allow smoking, he said, then they should circulate a petition, like the American Cancer Society and other health organization did in 2006, and let voters decide whether to change the law.
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.
Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, said Friday that legislators should read the bill before concluding that it defies the will of the voters.
He said the intent of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, the law passed by voters, was to keep second-hand smoke away from children and adults who disapprove of smoking.
SB372, Amodei pointed out, would lead to fines of as large as $2,000 against bars that allow minors into areas where smoking is permitted. Adults could choose whether to enter smoking areas.
“Nothing is forced on people against their will,” Amodei said. “It does not expose anybody to second-hand smoke and children to smoke in any form at all.”
Michael Hackett, the American Cancer Society and Nevada State Medical Society lobbyist who led the 2006 campaign for the smoking ban, said he and health care advocates will try to kill SB372 in the Assembly.
That might take some doing since the bill likely will be referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, opposed past moves by health organizations to restrict smoking.
Because of their inability to get bills out of that committee, the American Cancer Society and other health groups collected signatures on petition that led to the anti-smoking questions being placed before voters in 2006.
Under SB372, Hackett said the state health officer would designate health districts in the counties to enforce the provisions against minors being permitted in bars where smoking is allowed.
Health district officials already are burdened with other duties and Hackett questioned whether they really have the time or staff to enforce the prohibition on minors.
He noted that other than in Clark County, police now can cite people who smoke in areas where smoking is not permitted. Smokers can be assessed a $100 fine.
The Nevada Tavern Owners’ Association has challenged the constitutionality of the smoking ban. Oral arguments were made in its lawsuit April 6, but the state Supreme Court has not yet handed down a decision.
In the end, seven of the nine Senate Republicans and seven of the 12 Democrats supported SB372 Friday. Republicans Barbara Cegavske of Las Vegas and Bill Raggio of Reno abstained because of potential conflicts of interest.
Votes against the proposal were made by Democrats Shirley Breeden, Valerie Wiener, Joyce Woodhouse and Lee, all from Clark County, and Sen. Bernice Mathews of Reno.

Nevada Senate overwhelmingly approves reversing statewide smoking ban.
April 20, 2009

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Senate voted 16-5 on Friday to advance a measure that would soften a statewide smoking ban, putting the state on track to become the first in the nation to ease restrictions it had imposed on cigarette use in public spaces.
The fact that Nevada’s smoking ban has had a disastrous effect on their economy is no doubt the driving factor to re-instating freedom. And that lawmakers are now being educated about special interests who manufacture alternative nicotine products like Nicoderm (J & J / RWJF) being the primary lobbyists behind the smoking ban movement is giving them cause to rethink these draconian, rent seeking laws.


Bill easing smoking ban endorsed
April 17, 2009
By BRENDAN RILEY • Associated Press Writer
A bill that would ease terms of a voter-approved measure that banned smoking in many Nevada bars and other public places was approved on a 14-5 vote Friday in the state Senate.
SB372, softening the 2006 Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, would allow smoking in bars that serve food as long as minors are restricted from entry. Also, businesses could wall off separately ventilated smoking rooms.
Opponents included Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, who said he had “been to God’s waiting room” while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, adding that second-hand smoke didn’t cause his disease but has caused cancer in other “unsuspecting victims.”
“The voters of Nevada took it upon themselves to do this public service” by imposing the smoking ban, Lee said, adding, “The people voted to protect themselves from future health harm. We owe it to our constituents to uphold their decision.”
While business lobbyists warned that the ban would destroy Nevada’s tourism industry, Lee said, “I think that playing the slots is not that difficult without a cigarette. Let’s uphold health and the will of the voters, the people of the state of Nevada.”
Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, countered that SB372 doesn’t run counter to voters’ wishes because an amendment to SB372 provides protections against second-hand smoke and imposes penalties for violations.
“I defy you to look at the amendment … and find something in there that says we have ignored the will of the voters and we want to expose children to second-hand smoke and we want to expose other people to second-hand smoke,” Amodei said.
As amended, the bill calls for fines of up to $2,000 for bar owners who fail to keep out minors. Also, the state health officer could designate local health authorities to enforce the act.
The 2006 initiative prohibited smoking in restaurants and bars that serve food, in slot machine sections of grocery and convenience stores, and at video arcades, shopping malls, schools and day-care centers. Smoking is still allowed on gambling floors of casinos.


LETTERS: Finally prevailing over anti-smoking zealots
To the editor:
Thank goodness logic and reason may prevail with the smoking law issue (“Smoking measure advances,” Saturday Review-Journal). The vocal minority that has screeched for years over this will finally see their efforts at social engineering fail.
How many jobs and lives did they disrupt? How many businesses failed as a result of their action? How much tax revenue was lost? Where were the throngs of nonsmokers waiting to enter taverns when the smoking ban passed? Why did they want a “healthy” environment for children inside of adult taverns, anyway?
Maybe in the future, if we would like a fair vote on the subject, the choice should be a simple yes or no to smoking in public places instead of hidden lawyer gobbledegook wording that hides the true agenda of the anti-constitutional ideologues.
Robert Opp
LAS VEGAS


Thousands complaining about smoking since ban
April 13, 2009
Southern Nevada Health District officials say they’ve received more than 4,200 complaints about people smoking tobacco since voters approved the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act in 2006.
But no fines have been issued. Officials blame lack of clarity about how the measure should be enforced.
Now state lawmakers are considering changes that would allow smoking in bars that serve food as long as minors are restricted from entry.


Bill softening Nevada smoking ban passes Legislative committee
April 8, 2009
CARSON CITY (AP) — A bill that would ease the terms of a voter-approved measure that banned smoking in many bars and other public places was approved on a 6-1 Wednesday by a key legislative committee.
SB372, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would soften the 2006 Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act to allow smoking in bars that serve food as long as minors are restricted from entry. Also, businesses could wall off separately ventilated smoking rooms.
Sen. Valerie Wiener, D-Las Vegas, said she voted against the bill because it “would undo the good work that has been done” by the 2006 act.
As amended, the bill allows the state health officer to designate local health authorities to enforce the law.

Bill easing smoking ban endorsed

By RACHELLE GINES Associated Press Writer
04/08/2009
CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill that would ease the terms of a voter-approved measure that banned smoking in many Nevada bars and other public places was approved on a 6-1 Wednesday by a key legislative committee.
SB372, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which softens the 2006 Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, would allow smoking in bars that serve food as long as minors are restricted from entry. Also, businesses could wall off separately ventilated smoking rooms.
Sen. Valerie Wiener, D-Las Vegas, who cast the lone “no” vote, said she sympathizes with the bill’s advocates who say the 2006 ban hurt many businesses and cost many people their jobs. But she said SB372 “would undo the good work that has been done” by the 2006 act.
“I believe that what was done in the Clean Indoor Act was the proper thing to do to protect the public health of the people of Nevada, and I didn’t see that any modifications would be appropriate,” Wiener said after the hearing.
As amended, the bill calls for fines of up to $1,000 for bar owners who fail to keep out minors. Also, the state health officer could designate local health authorities to enforce the act.
Sen. Allison Copening, D-Las Vegas, said banning minors from bar eateries that allow smoking addressed arguments by the bill’s opponents that children could be exposed to second-hand smoke.
“I know that one of the main concerns of the opponents we heard over and over again was the exposure of smoke to children, and I think that satisfies that,” Copening said.
Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, said he didn’t agree with the fine because it represented an added burden on bar owners, though he agreed minors should be kept out.
Sen. Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, who suggested the idea of a fine, said he understood Washington’s point, but bar owners who serve food can choose whether or not to allow smoking.
“I’m of the mind if this is what these people want, then there should be a burden,” Care said.
The 2006 initiative prohibited smoking in restaurants and bars that serve food, in slot machine sections of grocery and convenience stores, and at video arcades, shopping malls, schools and day-care centers. Smoking is still allowed on gambling floors of casinos.

A smoking double standard?

April 25, 2008
The Las Vegas Convention Center is a smoke free building. That means no smoking. But you might be surprised to learn over the last two days people are being allowed to smoke inside.
It’s a story the News 3 Investigators are following. Mitch Truswell explains this temporary change.
When it says the Convention Center is a smoke free building you would think that means all the time. Not exactly. On the doors leading to the Convention Center’s north hall it says it is a smoke free building. Walk about 50 feet inside and the rules change.
Welcome to Tobacco Expo 2008. Inside the showroom, to which we were not allowed to take our camera, you can smoke. How? The tobacco expo got a permit from the County.
The LVCVA says once a convention leases a showroom it is their space. They provide everything inside, including security. They make the rules. And since it’s not open to the public, and they have the tobacco permits, they can sell tobacco and smoke.
When it comes to the public hallways and the public conference rooms, the no smoking ordinance takes over.
We are an economy that thrives on convention business. The tobacco expo has been coming to Las Vegas for 11 years.
Our calls to Tobacco Expo organizers were not returned. According to the LVCBA, the Tobacco Expo brings several thousand people to Las Vegas every year.


To boost revenue, repeal smoking law
Apr. 16, 2008
Despite what the vocal minority claims, an easy way to immediately start adding tax dollars to state coffers would be to rescind the archaic, unconstitutional, anti-business smoking law deceitfully presented to the electorate.
When people were arguing “Yes on 4,” “No on 5” and vice versa in 2006, I was calling for a no vote on both. That thousands of children were dying in our streets from secondhand smoke after hanging out in taverns was the most laughable excuse for this law ever conceived. Even the most deranged liberal can hardly make that connection.
After almost a year and a half into this folly, let’s list the accomplishments. Bar owners were told they could serve food or allow smoking, but not both. An untold number of short-order cooks and waitresses in Nevada lost their jobs when taverns closed their kitchens to try to retain smoking customers and keep their gambling revenues up. Taxes lost. Bartending and waitress shifts were cut back due to the loss of business. Taxes lost. Hungry customers are now forced to leave taverns to get food because delivery was also banned. Taxes lost. Gamers that once frequented taverns now go to larger casinos, where the gaming tax is a lot less than what smaller taverns pay. Taxes lost.
When the voters enact laws that affect millions of dollars in taxes and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people, do they ever consider any future ramifications?
In the little tavern I frequent, four cooks and three waitresses, two of whom were teachers working part-time to supplement their income, lost their jobs. No longer are they employed as such.
A simple and much easier standard that should have been established was a simple sign that read “No person under the age of 21 allowed on premises.” Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Robert Opp
LAS VEGAS


Part One: Big Smoke Evenings Las Vegas
November 13, 2007
By Gregory Mottola?
If you’re a sports fan, you know the collective endorphin rush that comes from being part of a huge audience when the home team wins a major victory. There is an undeniable energy that builds and peaks with the crowd’s enthusiasm. For cigar smokers, the Cigar Aficionado Big Smoke is like the Super Bowl, the World Series and a heavyweight boxing title fight all rolled up into one weekend — but in this case there are no losers.
Read More

NEVADA CLEAN INDOOR AIR ACT: Agency to pursue smokers
Inspectors soon to cite individuals violating ban in restaurants, bars
Aug. 15, 2007
By ANNETTE WELLS, REVIEW-JOURNAL
Southern Nevada smokers who skirt the state’s smoking ban by lighting up in bars and restaurants where smoking isn’t allowed soon might face a justice of the peace and a $100 fine.
The Southern Nevada Health District is gearing up to issue citations to individual smokers violating the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, said its attorney, Stephen Minagil.
“We’re just about there,” he said.
The health district has drafted a citation form for health inspectors to use in citing individuals caught smoking in businesses where the ban applies, but it does not have a system in place yet for the courts to handle the citations.
The health district was left with sole enforcement responsibility in Southern Nevada after a district judge in December removed criminal penalties from the law, taking away any law enforcement role in ensuring compliance.
Up to now, the health district has been taking complaints from customers about businesses, making inspections and in some cases, most notably with Bilbo’s Bar and Grill, trying to enforce the provisions of Question 5 through the courts.
Minagil said the health district has the authority to ask individual violators for identification “at every location where we find them violating the act.”
The agency plans to speak with judges and Justice Court officials in the next two weeks about finalizing a system to adjudicate cases, he said.
“What that means is, as part of due process, people, or violators, are entitled to it. For our part, we need to include a date, time and location as to where these individuals may go as part of that due process,” he said. “We are trying to make it as efficient as possible where we would be able to handle all of the cases in one day.”
Once the system is ready, the health district can move to the next step, which is to speak with law enforcement about helping health inspectors in carrying out the citation process.
That will be an attempt by the health district to cover all “potential situations,” which might include resistance from bar and restaurant patrons caught smoking, Minagil said.
“We are not peace officers, yet we’re in a bar and people are drinking. We just want to avoid any potential future problems. That may include someone not giving us their identification,” he said. “The Health District staff writing these citations are scientists. They are environmental health specialists who are not armed. They don’t have peace officer training.”
If a health inspector is in need of help, Minagil said, the health district would like to be able to call on law enforcement.
The ban, passed in November, prohibits smoking in nearly all places in the state, including grocery stores, restaurants and bars that serve food.
Casino floors, brothels and smoke parlors where tobacco products are sold are exempt. So are certain businesses with unrestricted gaming licenses.
Smokers who violate the act are subject to a $100 fine for each infraction. Businesses can be fined if they do not post ‘No Smoking’ signs and fail to remove ashtrays and smoking paraphernalia.
Michael Hackett, a spokesman for last year’s Question 5 campaign, said all of the difficulties with the law have occurred in Southern Nevada. In Northern Nevada, businesses and individuals are complying.
“There is a lot of creative interpretation going on in Southern Nevada,” he said. “The issues that are playing out down south, the ongoing litigation and this small group of establishments not trying to comply, we’re not having that in any other parts of the state.”
The Nevada Tavern Owners Association and other businesses that challenged the law have appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court the December decision by District Judge Douglas Herndon to uphold civil penalties for violators. They have until October to file their arguments for that appeal, Hackett said.
Still, Hackett said, the law’s proponents think the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act is self-explanatory and “self-enforcing.”
“When someone walks into a restaurant or a bar without a shirt or shoes, obviously they are not allowed in because of public health laws,” he said. “The smoking law was intended to be the same way. It’s a public health law, which means the owner or the manager should tell that person who is smoking to put out the cigarette or leave the business.”
Tracie Douglas, a spokeswoman for the Washoe County Health District, made similar comments. She seemed a little baffled by questions relating to individuals being cited for smoking in locations where it is banned.
“We’re not finding individuals smoking in the restaurants,” she said.
Asked what the Washoe County Health District would do if a health inspector caught someone smoking in a business where it wasn’t allowed, Douglas said, “We wouldn’t be put in that situation. The Police Department would take action on any individual.”
Douglas said Washoe health inspectors are not sent to handle individuals because they are unarmed.
“That’s the kind of situation where you don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way,” she said.
Minagil said fines collected from violators of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act go to a state education fund.
“The only thing we (the health district) get out of this is protection of the public’s health from toxic secondhand cigarette smoke,” he said.


Smoking foes questioning Nevada tax breaks
July 24, 2007
Anti-smoking advocates say that Las Vegas companies seeking big sales- and property-tax breaks to build environmentally friendly projects should follow the rules requiring control of tobacco smoke if they want to reap the financial benefits of Nevada’s “green” legislation.
Anti-smoking representatives say there should not be any exceptions to the requirement that qualifying projects must either be entirely smoke free or provide entirely separate ventilation systems for designated smoking areas.
Beverly Daly Dix of the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition says buildings must follow the requirements if they are to be certified under the LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, standards.
The standards are meant to encourage energy conservation, among other environmentally friendly goals.


Smoking in Nevada Bars
May 7, 2007
Have Nevada bars given up the smoking habit? This is simply one more example of how poorly the original Question 5 was written and why no action should have yet been taken to enforce the smoking ban.
This law should have been tossed out, tabled, if only because it was so ambiguous and confusing, rewritten in such a way that there was clear definition as well as assurance it was constitutional. That it was not is foolishness on the part of all.
We need a well written, well thought out plan that takes into consideration who is to enforce it, how it is to be enforced, what a tavern owner’s rights are and are not, whether a citation goes before the court or is simply paid like a traffic fine.
As it is the state of Nevada, the anti-smokers and yes, even the smokers look foolish. No one knows what they are doing or supposed to do. Is this not putting the cart before the horse?


Hidden Camera Investigation
Have Nevada bars given up the smoking habit?
May 4, 2007
Six months ago, a majority of Nevada voters passed Question 5, the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act. It made substantial changes to Nevada’s smoking laws, but is it working? The Crime Tracker 3 Team went undercover to find out if local bars and restaurants are in compliance.


Health District to begin enforcing smoking ban
April 30, 2007
Time’s up for businesses choosing to snub the smoking ban. The Health District says hundreds of businesses will start feeling the heat if they don’t follow the new rules.
It’s been five months since Nevada voters approved a smoking ban and health officials say that’s enough time for some businesses to make the switch to non-smoking.
Next week, the Health District says workers are going to hand out fines to violators. Health officials say they’ve received about 2,000 public complaints involving approximately 590 different establishments.
People caught smoking in businesses that serve food will get a $100 ticket. Businesses that don’t make the effort to discourage smoking will also get cited.
Opponents of the law are appealing it to the Nevada State Supreme Court.


Officials ready to get tougher on smoking ban
April 28, 2007
JEFF DELONG
Authorities are preparing to crack down on violators of Nevada’s controversial smoking ban.
Next week, the Southern Nevada Health District plans to begin citing businesses violating the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, passed by voters in November. The act prohibits smoking in most public places, including restaurants, bars that serve food and grocery stores.
Washoe County health officials say they will soon decide whether to seek enforcement action against at least two businesses that are flagrant violators of the new law.
“If they decide not to comply, we will have to move forward fairly quickly, within a couple of weeks,” said Bob Sack, the Washoe County health officer who administers the smoking regulations.
In Southern Nevada, officials have received some 2,000 complaints concerning violations of the smoking ban and say the time to replace education with action has arrived. Eight businesses were sent warning letters this month for failing to post no-smoking signs or not removing ashtrays or other smoking paraphernalia.
Health officials in Las Vegas plan to issue a $100 civil summons to at least one business that is breaking the law next week.
“It is our hope that this won’t be a regular activity,” said Dr. Lawrence Sands, chief health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District.
Washoe County officials say they are surprised at the high level of compliance with the new regulations, which they put at more than 90 percent. The health district has received about 200 complaints concerning violations of the regulations since December.
Some businesses have complained as well, Sack said.
“We do get complaints, especially from smaller places, that they’ve lost business,” Sack said. “There’s been a lot of support from the public, obviously.”
At Ryan’s Saloon on Wells Avenue in Reno, owner Phil Glover was prepared to stop serving food — including his signature burger — in April due to anticipated loss in business resulting from the smoking regulations.
Glover said Friday he has delayed that decision for a few months because impacts on business appear minimal. Business is down a bit, Glover said, but that’s normal for the year’s first quarter.
“We’ve got three or four customers that are going somewhere else to drink now,” Glover said. “Then again, I’m seeing some new faces for lunch. It’s still a tossup, but I’m fairly pleased so far.”
A smoker himself, Glover said he’s noticed one obvious benefit since the rules went into place.
“We can see the other side of the room now,” he said.
Sack declined to identify the businesses Washoe County might take enforcement action against but said the owners are flagrantly violating the new law. The businesses have been issued formal notices that they must comply, he said.
“They’re basically still allowing smoking in their facility,” Sack said. “Really, I think they’re trying to decide if they want to challenge the law.”
If health officials do decide to crack down on the businesses within the next couple weeks, they will meet with the District Attorney’s office to determine a precise course of action, Sack said.
Read


Looking in on Gaming: Smoking ban enforcement not board’s job

20 April 2007
by Liz Benston
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — The newest of the state Gaming Control Board’s three members last month warned Nevada slot locations that selling “drug paraphernalia” is against the law. Not wanting to jeopardize their precious gaming licenses, many convenience stores did the smart thing and ditched marijuana bongs disguised as novelty items.
But ex-Army commander and gaming regulatory veteran Randall Sayre says the Control Board isn’t about to begin enforcing the state’s voter-approved smoking ban, which applies to food-serving bars and other small slot machine locations such as convenience stores, groceries and gas stations.
Sayre said that authority rests with the Southern Nevada Health District. The board won’t be using gaming agents to sniff out smokers or snatch gaming licenses from businesses on the Health District’s complaint list – at least for now.
“If there are locations that are continually in violation and being cited for violations, that becomes an issue,” he said.
Some businesses are warning customers that smoking is against the law but aren’t preventing customers from lighting up. They say the law simply requires them to remove ashtrays and post no-smoking signs, although health officials, who are meeting with repeat violators and have threatened lawsuits as a last resort, say the law implies that businesses must take further action .
Read More


Nevada Tavern Owners File Smoking Ban Appeal
April 6, 2007
Las Vegas bar owners want the Nevada Supreme Court to snuff out a judge’s ruling upholding the state’s recently enacted smoking ban.
The Nevada Tavern Owners’ Association filed a notice of appeal this week, and plans to follow with documents stating legal grounds for the challenge to Question Five. That’s the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act. It was passed by voters who oppose smoking in Nevada restaurants, grocery stores and bars that serve food. The law makes an exception for casinos.
The association has 120 days to file its legal arguments. Lawyers for Clark County bar and tavern owners lost a bid to have the measure declared unconstitutional when a Clark County District Court judge upheld civil penalties subjecting smokers and bar owners to a $100 civil fine.
The Southern Nevada Health District says it’s gotten nearly two thousand complaints from citizens regarding businesses failing to comply with the measure.


Nevada Smoking Ban Again is Challenged in Court
April 4, 2007
Colleen McCarty, Investigative Reporter
A new law prohibiting smoking in most public places is again being challenged in court. The Nevada Supreme Court will now consider whether the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act passes constitutional muster.
The Nevada Tavern Owners Association filed its appeal late last week challenging the district court decision that upheld the bulk of the new law.
Judge Douglas Herndon ruled the law — approved by a majority of voters — is constitutional for civil enforcement. Though he threw out the provision requiring criminal penalties for violators.
Critics argued before the court the law is overly vague and unfairly treated small businesses.
The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act restricts smoking to tobacco shops, casinos and standalone bars that don’t serve food.
Since the law took effect in December, the Southern Nevada Health District has logged more than 1,700 complaints. The top five taverns with most complaints — each with multiple locations – -are PT’s Pub, Town Center Lodge, Outside Inn, Timbers bar and grill and the Village Pub chains.
The Supreme Court should set a schedule for written and oral arguments in the near future.
What we still don’t know is whether the attorney general’s office will appeal the removal of the criminal penalties. A representative for the office told the I-Team they are still considering their options.


Health District drops plan to impose fines for smoking
Noncompliant businesses to get one more chance
March 16, 2007
ANNETTE WELLS

The Southern Nevada Health District has tabled a proposal calling for hefty fines for violating the state’s new smoking ban.
The district’s proposal had called for $600 administrative fees for smoking ban violators and for a hearing officer to handle disputes from alleged violators. It also would have required businesses holding food licences to not expose customers to secondhand smoke.
During four workshops held in Las Vegas, Mesquite and Laughlin to solicit public feedback on the proposal, members of the Nevada Tavern Owners Association and some Clark County residents challenged the Health District’s authority to impose such regulations.
“Two factors that have caused our decision: an outcry from affected businesses that they didn’t like this system and the threatened legal challenges,” said Stephen Minagil, a Health District attorney.
Meanwhile, district staff members have begun sifting through more than 1,300 complaints, looking for the top 15 businesses accused of not complying with the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act. Those businesses will be given one more chance to comply with the law and will face citations if they don’t, officials said.
“We’re going to identify our top 15, go back to those places, and we’re going to say, ‘We’ve had these complaints. Now, fix it,”’ Minagil said. “If we continue to get reports about them, we are going to cite them into the civil court. This is going to require them to come downtown, fight parking and fight the elevator to get to a 9 a.m. hearing, where we will wait for a judge to finish his calendar.
“Since our regulation process is not going forward at this time, we’re left with going the long way.”
The proposed regulations were to be heard during next week’s regularly scheduled Board of Health meeting.
Minagil said the Health District has the power to do only things that are “expressly” provided for or “implied” under the law. Although the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act doesn’t expressly call for a hearing officer for enforcement, the district believes it is implied that the agency could hold nonjudicial hearings, he said.
“The regulations aren’t really dead,” Minagil said. “But we’re taking a step back and looking at them closer, and at the same time we’re going to crank up the enforcement.”


Health District offers bars choice of smoking times
March 5, 2007
VALERIE MILLER
Bar owners struggling to comply with the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act might have another option for keeping their kitchens open: designated smoking times.
The Southern Nevada Health District is now offering bars and restaurants the opportunity to be “considered” for a special permit that allows “alternate hours” of smoking and non-smoking. Under the permit, the establishment must post hours of smoking and non-smoking and “allow for a period of one complete air change between smoking and non-smoking establishment,” according to guidelines issued by the public health agency.
Two applicants have already been approved for the special permit allowing designated smoking times, according to Southern Nevada Health District spokesperson Jennifer Sizemore. They are Magoo’s bars and the Rum Jungle at Mandalay Bay Resort.
?The district did not specify a time needed for air changeover, she added. Instead, it would depend on the particular heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The individual establishments would supply reports denoting the time required, depending on “the size of the facility,” Sizemore said.
A businessman working in the air-purification field said that changeover requires closure of the smoking area for one hour before food can be served. “A lot of people just don’t know about,” said Don Nassif, a 30-year veteran of the business and owner of Crown Air Quality. “They don’t go online (to the health district’s Web site).” The company has hundreds of bar and tavern customers, according to Nassif. He expects to pick up business once word of the smoking-time permit spreads. “They may offer food from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and have smoking an hour after that.”
SALOON AGAINST SALOON
In the meantime, the smoking ban is now pitting one bar owner against another. The health district’s proposed regulations, which impose hefty fines on businesses violating the smoking ban, have tavern operators breaking ranks.
The first signs were apparent at a Feb. 27 meeting at the Southern Nevada Health District. It brought out more than 60 people, including a fair share of tavern, restaurant and convenience-store operators upset over either too much enforcement or too little.
New draft regulations call for a hearing process, increased fines and the addition of violations of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act to the list of substantial health hazards. License revocation is among the proposed penalties.
If compliance with the smoking ban, passed as Question 5 in November, is added to the district’s food regulations, fines could start at $500 and go higher than $6,000 a day for repeat offenders. These were based on penalties for existing solid-waste violations, according to the health district, and targeted business licensees.
At the hearing, local bartender Ronald Morgan called the new fines “legal extortion. I just don’t understand this,” he said, “(It is enforced) in my place with 15 slot machines when the place across the street has 35 slot machines, and people can eat and smoke right inside that place.
“If you are looking out for the welfare of my family, please stop,” Morgan pleaded. He declined to give the name of the bar where he worked.
Bar operators contacted by the Business Press were surprised at the staggering fines. “Sweet Jesus!,” was the response of a bartender at the Office 5 Bar on Russell Road.
Others felt it was about time that something was done to level the playing field between those in compliance and those looking the other way when smokers light up.
“I go into the competition and there are no signs up and no ashtrays are put away, and everybody’s smoking,” lamented John McDonnell, the owner of Lucky’s Tavern. “I am one of the few bars in town that are in compliance, and it frustrates me that bars are (ignoring) it.”
LEGAL QUESTIONS
A bigger issue could be whether the Southern Nevada Health District, through approval by the state Board of Health, has the authority to make such regulations. The board is scheduled to hear the proposals on March 22, after three more workshops.
“We object to the regulations generally,” reported Kathleen Fellows, an attorney representing bar and slot-route operators who have filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of the new Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act. “We don’t believe the Board of Health has the authority to adopt these rules or appoint a hearings officer.”
Stephen Minagil, the health district’s attorney, said his agency would not have drafted the regulations in the first place if it didn’t have the authority to do so.
General authority won’t suffice, according to Bilbo’s Bar & Grill attorney Bob Peccole, responding the justification given by Minagil. “Before you can recoup costs, you have to have the statutory authority,” Peccole said.
THIS ISN’T CALIFORNIA
That enforcement duty will now be dumped on the business owners and their employees, some in attendance complained. “It looks like you are abrogating your responsibility for enforcement,” Al Heald, the operator of Stop-n-Shop, told the health district representatives. “Now, we are the police.”
That’s a duty Heald said he’d rather not have: “I don’t want to put a female employee in charge of telling a 250-pound guy that he can’t light a cigarette.”
Then there was John Baietti. He said he is unaffected by the smoking ban in his Red Apple Grill Catering. Still, Baietti finds the new law a bad fit for the Silver State. We don’t need to be California,” he said. “We don’t have to be politically correct. Smoking is a legal activity.”
vmiller@lvbusinesspress.com | 702-871-6780, ext. 331
Editor’s note: This week, the Business Press introduces a new feature whereby we add online video coverage to selected stories. To see footage of the contentious hearing chronicled in this story, click on:
?


CONTACTS
Jennifer Sizemore | sizemore@snhdmail.org | 702.759.1225
Stephanie Bethel | bethel@snhdmail.org | 702.759.1393
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2007
Southern Nevada Health District to hold public workshops

LAS VEGAS – The Southern Nevada Health District will hold four workshops for the public to present views on the proposed Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act Hearing Officer Regulations and proposed revisions to the Regulations Governing the Sanitation of Food Establishments.? The public workshops are scheduled for:

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 from 10 a.m. until noon
Southern Nevada Health District
Ravenholt Public Health Center, Clemens Room
625 Shadow Lane, Las Vegas, Nev.

Thursday, March 1, 2007, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Southern Nevada Health District
Ravenholt Public Health Center, Clemens Room
625 Shadow Lane, Las Vegas, Nev.

Friday, March 2, 2007, from 10 a.m. until noon
Mesquite City Hall, Training Rooms A and B
10 East Mesquite Blvd, Mesquite, Nev.

Monday, March 5, 2007, from 10 a.m. until noon
Regional Government Center, Rooms 1 and 2
101 Civic Way, Laughlin, Nev.

A public hearing will be conducted on March 22, 2007, at 9 a.m. during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Southern Nevada District Board of Health. The board will hear testimony and consider adoption of the new regulations and revisions to the existing food establishment
regulations.
####

HEALTH DISTRICT: Smoking ban fee opposed
Proposal would add $600 on top of $100 civil penalty
2/28/07
By ANNETTE WELLS
The Southern Nevada Health District may be overstepping its authority if it tries to impose a $600 administrative fee on top of a $100 civil penalty on people who violate the state’s new smoking ban, attorneys for some Las Vegas Valley taverns said at a workshop Tuesday.
“I know why they jumped off this way,” attorney Bob Peccole said of the Health District. “They believe the minute they start talking $500, $600 and $1,000, they are going to force the owners to stop the smoking; but there is nothing in that statute that requires owners to do that. They’re (the Health District) trying to do that through their regulations.”
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