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Debate Lights Up Over Smoking Ban

A proposal for a statewide ban that would prohibit smoking in public places was introduced to Minnesota Legislature on Thursday.

An extension to the state's Indoor Clean Air Act, the ban would prohibit people from smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants. Some exceptions have been announced, including private places like hotel rooms.

Sources say the ban, which would take effect on Aug. 1, would also give business owners the right to ask smokers to leave if they try to light up on their property. Smokers who don't leave could face arrest, and business owners who refuse to follow the rules of the ban could find themselves facing misdemeanor charges.

Those against the ban argue that the state has no right to state how businesses should be operated or to govern smokers' right to smoke. They also worry that a ban on smoking will cause businesses to lose money. Those for the ban argue that smoking is bad for the smokers' and non-smokers' health.

A hearing on the ban will take place on Feb. 1 in the House Health and Human Services Committee.

I like how the Pioneer Press entry provided directions for curious readers to learn more about the ban by going towww.senate.mn and searching for it. Another good idea might be to link the Indoor Clean Air Act, as I did, so that people who were not familiar with it (me!) could check it out and see how the Act and the proposed ban differ.