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Nevada passes bill that eases smoking ban

The Nevada Senate passed a bill Friday that would ease the terms of a voter-approved measure banning smoking in Nevada bars and other public places.

The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act bans smoking in any indoor space that serves food and where minors are present. According to the New York Times, the new bill will allow smoking in taverns that serve food if they do not allow people under 21 to enter.

The Associated Press reported that the bill, which is moving to the Assembly for consideration, would also allow businesses to create separately ventilated smoking rooms.

“One house says it’s O.K., if you’re over 21, to go ahead and kill yourself and everyone around you — ‘We think that’s great, it’s your freedom’ — but the other house says, ‘Wait a minute, my gosh, if they have cancer we’ve got to take care of them,’ ” Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, told the New York Times. “People don’t seem to see the connection between the two.”

Lee opposed the bill, and was one of the few to vote against it.

Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, said that the bill doesn't disregard the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, because an amendment made to the bill calls for fines of up to $2,000 for bar owners who fail to keep minors out.

"I defy you to look at the amendment ... and find something in there that says we have ignored the will of the voters, and we want to expose children to second-hand smoke, and we want to expose other people to second-hand smoke," Amodei told AP.

Smoking is currently banned in restaurants and bars that serve food, in slot machine sections of grocery and convenience stores, and at video arcades, shopping malls, schools and day-care centers. On the gambling floors of casinos, however, smoking has not been banned.