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Bull Goose Gorilla
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BOSTON -- Cigarettes would be barred in all workplaces and public buildings, including restaurants and bars, under a sweeping statewide smoking ban approved Thursday by the state Senate.

The measure, which must be approved by the House and signed by Gov. Mitt Romney before becoming law, would make Massachusetts one of a handful of states in the country, along with California, New York and Delaware, to ban smoking statewide. Connecticut last week banned smoking in bars, bowling alleys and restaurants with more than five employees.

Supporters said the ban, which was approved on a voice vote during the Senate budget debate late Thursday night, will save lives, prevent illnesses due to secondhand smoke and put the state on the cutting edge of health initiatives.

"A person's right to breath clean air trumps the right of a person to smoke," said Sen. Steven Tolman, D-Boston. "This is a question of fundamental fairness."

The amendment would bar smoking in any private or public workplace and any place of public accomodation, including restaurants, bars, malls and hotels. The amendment carries a $100 fine for a first offense. The fine would be levied against the owner of the restaurant, bar or hotel.

Critics said a statewide ban goes too far and would hurt small business owners.

"If you own a bar or you own a restaurant and you want to cater to smokers ... you should have the ability to do that in Massachusetts," said Sen. Richard Tisei, R-Wakefield. "The people who are against smoking should just be honest and come forward and file a piece of legislation to ban tobacco in Massachusetts."

The city of Boston recently approved a smoking ban for restaurants and bars. Statewide, more than 75 communities have smoking restrictions.

Backers of the statewide ban said it's unfair that employees and patrons of bars and restaurants in some Massachusetts communities are protected from secondhand smoke while others are placed in harm's way.

"Every single day people die or suffer from the effects of secondhand smoke," said Sen. Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford.

Critics said bar and restaurant owners near neighboring states will be put at an unfair disadvantage. Patrons may drive a few more miles across the border to be able to smoke, they said.

"Boston has done its thing. One of my communities has also banned smoking by choice, but there are other communities that pay a lot of taxes, that employ a lot of people, who will be very, very hurt," said Sen. Susan Tucker, D-Andover.

Anti-smoking advocates, demoralized by efforts to strip funding from anti-smoking programs, claimed a victory in the Senate vote.

Other New England states, including Maine and Vermont, are weighing similar bans, advocates said.

The Connecticut restaurant ban takes effect Oct. 1 and the prohibition in bars and taverns begins April 1, 2004.

"We are just part of a movement that is sweeping the nation," said Lori Fresina of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Hopefully the Senate has jump-started this and the House and governor will follow."

Some opponents said the ban is an infringement on personal liberty and could eventually lead to the banning of other legal, but potentially harmful, substances.

"It's only a matter of time before someone files a bill to ban butter," Tisei said. "Sooner or later people have to make decisions on their own." (AP)
 

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DymOnamic
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966 Posts
This is spooky. Not one of these lawmakers takes into consideration of the right to run a business the way an individuaul see's fit, Tabacco is not an illegal substance! It is simply an affront on the the Constituition. How about my freaking right to walk down the street w/o any carbon monoxide! Will, I could move, I have that right. The major problem with this legislation IMO, it is designed to be biased. I cannot operate a business for people who enjoy a legal product, with that being the emphasis, because someone would be offended? Spooky. Lawyers.....Bureaucrats....Moral Crusaders....They want to live in a self imposed fish tank, I may be starting up a Club Butter!:sb ragingandsmoking
 

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The worst thing is that the dangers of secondhand smoke have been much overrated; in fact, I'm not sure that there's any danger to those who are not exposed CONSTANTLY to smoke. Sure, barmen, waiters, and such may run a slightly higher risk of disease, but that is there decision, just like it's the decision of someone to work in a meatpacking plant, which is far riskier!
 

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HOT for HILLARY!!
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Im finally back on this board after a month and a half break....anyways, up here in Buffalo the smoking Nazis have imposed similar laws. One of the politicians who backed the law is having a clambake (the shellfish type) to raise money for his usual campaigning. The event is outdoors so smoking will be permitted. Apparantly, a bunch of local bar owners are showing up with their friends to light up at this event as a sign of protest. I may just have to show up and protest as well....the question is, how many cigars can I smoke at one time?
 
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You need to take a pro-active approach to stop the smoke nazi's from intruding on your rights. We stopped here in Oregon and even repealed the devastating 65% tax we were paying. It took the cooperation of the tobaconists, restaraunt association, and an active support our community members to rub the noses of our legistlator of the insanity. It can be done. Stand up and fight!!
 
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