Smoking Ban Ruling Delayed Until Thursday

A Nevada judge postponed a ruling Wednesday on whether to prevent a voter-approved smoking ban from taking effect in Clark County.

Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Herndon rescheduled a ruling on the Clean Indoor Air Act until Thursday because of a conflict with an unrelated case, a court clerk said.

Lawyers have been battling over the act, Question 5, which passed by 54 percent to 46 percent on the Nov. 7 ballot.

It would make smoking illegal in bars and restaurants that serve food, in the slot machine sections of grocery and convenience stores, and at video arcades, shopping malls, schools and day-care centers.

The measure still allows smoking on the gambling floors of casinos.

The law was set to take effect Dec. 8, but Herndon issued a temporary restraining order preventing law enforcement authorities in Clark County from enforcing the ban. Agencies in other parts of the state have withheld enforcing the measure until the court rules.

Opponents, including southern Nevada business owners, asked the
court to toss out the ban, which they say unfairly discriminates against certain businesses and does not make clear whether smokers or business owners should be punished for offenses.

The smoking ban was promoted by such health groups as the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the
American Heart Association, which argue secondhand smoke is dangerous.

Lawyers representing health interests, business owners, major casinos and the state attorney general made their arguments during
a daylong hearing Tuesday.

The judge must decide whether to let the law take effect, grant an injunction postponing enactment pending further arguments, or declare it invalid.