Public Smoking Debate

By: AP
By: AP

A measure to close a cigar bar loophole in the statewide smoking ban is heading to the House Appropriations Committee.

Republican Representative Ellen Roberts of Durango says some bars are claiming exemptions from the smoking ban as cigar bars and authorities have no way to determine whether they were exempt or not.

The House Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill changing the term "tobacco products" to "cigars or cigar tobacco" to make it clear cigarette sales were not included.

La Plata County District Attorney Craig Westberg told lawmakers he had to file charges against one bar because the law was so poorly written, he couldn't tell if customers were violating the smoking ban.

He said the city wasted a lot of time and money trying to sort out the legal issues.

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