Smoking Ban Enforcement

Churchill County has joined Clark County in holding off enforcement of the voter-approved ban on smoking in many public areas.

Churchill District Attorney Arthur Mallory said it is unwise to enforce the smoking law until the issue is resolved in Clark County.

A group of southern Nevada businessmen has challenged whether
the law is constitutional. A Las Vegas judge issued a 15-day reprieve on the ban Thursday, but it applies only to Clark County.

Mallory said the law's language is not clear. He referred to one section of the statute that says police officers or health officials shall issue citations for violations.

"The question arises, who do they issue the citation to, the person smoking or the restaurant that allowed smoking?" Mallory asked.

Fallon Police Chief Russ Brooks said he hadn't received any notification from the state Attorney General's Office about the new law or whether his agency is responsible for enforcing it.

"I do not know who's supposed to enforce it. Until we hear something from the AG's office, we're scrambling to get an answer," Brooks told the Lahontan Valley News.

Mallory said another issue that must be determined is the level of resources each agency wants to devote to illegal smoking.

"Our restaurants are not an overriding place law enforcement currently patrols. Do we want to start patrolling restaurants? I don't think so. I don't think we need to become smoking police," he said.

Once the court makes a ruling, he said, he will recommend an educational period before citations are written so residents understand the new law.