Ban on smoking in businesses killed by panel

March 20, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A proposal to ban smoking in almost every business in Maryland - including bars, restaurants and pool halls - was killed yesterday by a Senate committee.

The vote by the Senate Finance Committee to reject the Clean Indoor Air Act ends what had been an intense debate between health advocates and the restaurant and liquor industry.

The measure would have given the state one of the strictest anti-smoking laws in the country. Supporters said the bill was necessary to protect people, especially servers and bartenders, from the effects of secondhand smoke. Opponents argued the legislation would damage the state's business climate.

Under current law, smoking is prohibited in many public places, including portions of restaurants, which are required to have nonsmoking sections.

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