Juneau Assembly passes smoking ban measure

Posted: Tuesday, October 02, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- Local restaurants, offices and stores will have three months to comply with a new anti-smoking ordinance approved by the Juneau Assembly.

The measure, similar to an anti-smoking ordinance adopted in Anchorage, was passed by the Juneau Assembly 8-1 on Monday after several weeks of debate and public comment.

Smoking will be banned in bingo halls, restaurants, offices, cabs, many hotel rooms, stores, pull tab parlors and bowling alleys when the measure takes effect in 90 days.

It would exempt some bars and tourist oriented establishments that serve alcohol and changes the penalty from a misdemeanor to an infraction.

''I think we're moving public health forward,'' said Assembly member Jim Powell.

It would prohibit smoking within 10 feet of any entrance or open window of a nonsmoking building. The ordinance does not apply to businesses with fewer than five employees and exempts bars and restaurants with bars.

''The action is to be applauded,'' said Mark Hickey, of the Juneau Tobacco Prevention Network.

The Juneau Tobacco Prevention Network proposed the smoking ban as a way to limit exposure to second-hand smoke.

Hickey said the measure was a positive step forward, but criticized the Assembly's decision to exempt restaurants with bars. Under earlier proposals, a restaurant with a bar would need to go smoke-free, designate itself as a bar or wall off the bar.

The change approved Monday would exempt five Juneau businesses; Squire's Rest, Mike's Place, the Baranof Hotel Bubble Room, Hangar on the Wharf and Chinese Palace, said Assembly member John MacKinnon, who cast the lone vote against it.

''Philosophically, I have a problem with dictating certain things to certain businesses,'' MacKinnon said.

Businesses could apply for a 180-day extension.

The Assembly plans to review the ordinance after one year.

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