New Lawsuit Challenges Nevada’s New Smoking Ban

Some Nevada business owners are banding together to stop the new smoking ban.

A new lawsuit was filed that lawsuit calls for an injunction to stop the ban from going into effect. It claims the smoking ban on any business that sells food is unconstitutional.

The new restrictions set down by voter approval of Question 5 were to go into effect Friday.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday was on behalf of thirty-eight plaintiffs. It seeks a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against the smoking ban.

Bars that serve food complain the measure passed by voters forces them to close their kitchens and lay off restaurant employees to comply with the law.

The lawsuit claims the law violates due process, that the law is too vague in terms of enforcement, and that it treats similar businesses differently by allowing smoking in taverns with unrestricted gaming licenses, but banning smoking in taverns with restricted gaming licenses.

None of this is stopping McCarran International Airport from going forward with banning smoking in all indoor public areas, including bars.

McCarran spokesman Chris Jones said, „We don’t know what the judge is going to decide. We don’t know whether the judge will even hear the lawsuit prior to Friday. So, prudence is the better part of valor in this case and we’re going to come forward and intend to comply with it. If things change afterward, we’ll evaluate what needs to be done. But, for the time being, we’re pressing forward.“

Several tavern owners told Eyewitness News they are happy about the case but did not want to comment for fear of alienating customers. There’s also no comment from the Nevada Tavern Owners Association, the plaintiffs‘ attorneys, or their public relations firm.

The American Cancer Society weighed in saying, „This new lawsuit is completely without merit. Nevadans are tired of second-hand smoke poisoning our air, and spoke loud and clear by passing the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act with a majority vote.“

The big question now is whether the courts will grant a hearing before the law takes effect on Dec. 8. Nothing has been scheduled as of Tuesday evening.

Nevada voters approved Question 5, the Clean Indoor Air Act, by 54-percent to 46-percent.

Violators would face a USD 1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Smoking in the gambling areas of casinos was excluded from the bill.

Nevada Attorney General George Chanos released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying the voters made the Clean Indoor Air Act the law in Nevada and he intends to do his duty to defend the act.