High court strikes down Pierce County smoking ban

12:19 PM PST on Thursday, February 10, 2005

Associated Press
King 5 News

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state Supreme Court has struck down the Tacoma-Pierce County smoking ban.

The court has upheld a lower court decision that found the ban conflicted with state law.

The ban imposed a year ago by the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health was the strictest in the state - covering bars, taverns, restaurants, bowling alleys, mini-casinos, hotels, private clubs and most other non-tribal businesses.

The state's less restrictive Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in most public places, but exempts restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and casinos.

Two bills in the Legislature this year would expand the state's clean air act: - One would ban smoking anywhere minors are allowed, including restaurants but excluding bars.

- The other would mimic the Pierce County ban and prohibit smoking in all indoor public places statewide.

Governor Gregoire says she would sign either one, although she says the less-restrictive ban stands a better chance of passing.

A spokeswoman for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said officials are disappointed by the state Supreme Court decision striking down the county's smoking ban.

Joby Winans says the decision means thousands of restaurant and bar workers will have their health affected by second-hand smoke.

A spokesman for the Washington Restaurant Association, Anthony Anton, said business owners still hope to find a compromise on the issue through legislation now before state lawmakers.

KING 5's Arturo Santiago reports

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He says the association would support a bill that would ban smoking around minors if it would allow bars and restaurants to permit adult smoking and compete with Indian casinos.



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