So. Nevada Health District Files Secondhand Smoke Document - 8 News NOW

Mark Sayre, Investigative Reporter

So. Nevada Health District Files Secondhand Smoke Document

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The Southern Nevada Health District is fighting back trying to make sure the voter-approved Question 5 goes into effect. The measure would ban smoking in a vast majority of public places but it is currently on hold due to legal challenges.

A 25-page legal document was filed in Clark County District Court late Thursday afternoon. It is the answer from local health authorities to a lawsuit filed by Clark County bar and tavern owners who are trying to block the implementation of Question five.

Nevada voters approved Question 5 statewide by a margin of 54-to-46-percent.

It bans smoking in all public places except for the gaming areas of casinos and in bars that do not serve food. But tavern and bar owners argue the measure is unconstitutional.

Those owners are making several arguments, including that they own the airspace in their establishments up to an altitude of 500 feet. Those owners say Question 5 essentially amounts to an illegal government "taking" of private property without any compensation.

In its response, the Southern Nevada Health District focuses squarely on the health dangers of secondhand smoke. The health district says some of the arguments made by bar and tavern owners "could not be further from the truth." It calls some of the arguments "fabrications" and says there is "no safe level of secondhand smoke."

The health district revealed Thursday it will call exactly one witness -- local allergist Doctor Jim Christensen -- and will also rely on two studies on the health dangers of secondhand smoke.

But this is not over. Attorneys for the bars and taverns have until Monday, Dec. 18 to respond and also to provide a witness list.

At the hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 18, a judge will decide whether to extend the ban on the enforcement of Question 5.

Post your opinions on the Channel 8 smoking ban poll.

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