Smokers Can Light Up For Now - 8 News NOW

Tom Ellingson, Reporter

Smokers Can Light Up For Now

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The Nevada voter-approved smoking ban appears to be on hold for now. Those companies not covered under the temporary restraining order appear to be safe from prosecution since there appears to be no agency set to enforce the ban.

The new law was supposed to go into effect just after midnight on Dec. 8th, but a judge's temporary restraining order pushes back the ban for at least two weeks.

McCarran International Airport was going to go smoke-free with everyone else in the state Friday, but they are now backing off that plan.

District Court Judge Herndon issued the restraining order in a hearing Thursday morning because, he said, there is evidence that the smoking ban might be unconstitutional.

The order exempts more than 220 businesses listed in the lawsuit Attorneys for the bars and restaurants argued the smoking ban law is very vague and would hurt business.

McCarran International Airport came forward last week and started planning for the smoking ban. Under the law all indoor smoking would be banned including smoking in restaurants and bars.

Twenty-four hours after the restraining order was issued, McCarran officials have decided to wait till the final ruling before they go smoke-free.

McCarran spokeswoman Candice Seeley said, "We had some measures in place to proceed with the ban. We had to renovate smoking lounges and close them off to the public because smoking would not have been allowed under Question 5. As of now we've held that off until further notice."

Fifty-four percent of Nevada voters were in favor of Question 5 during the November election.

The Nevada attorney general's office and the health district say the law is clear-cut and should be implemented after the voters passed question five. They don't believe the businesses' claims that they would suffer from the smoking ban.

Judge Herndon will hear more arguments on Tuesday, Dec. 19, and will decide then whether the ban is unconstitutional.

Until then, smokers can light up at the airport and many other bars across the valley.

Email your comments to Reporter Tom Ellingson.

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