Alaska Senate Passes Smoking Ban Bill

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A bill to ban smoking in all public places throughout Alaska has cleared its first major hurdle, passing the state Senate on Thursday by a 15-5 vote.

Senate Bill 1, known as the “Take It Outside Act,” would prohibit the smoking of tobacco or use of electronic cigarettes in any enclosed public place, which includes all workplaces as well as apartment buildings and hotels.

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The bill is sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, though the five opposition votes all came from fellow party members. State Senator Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, objected on the grounds that the bill interfered too much in private business.

Included in the bill is a rather unique exemption that allows for smoking on commercial fishing vessels and on guided fishing trips. It also includes an exemption for tobacco stores, though they must derive at least 90 percent of their revenue from tobacco sales and be a freestanding building in order to qualify. One place that is not included is marijuana cafes, stores and lounges, where state law currently allows customers to smoke.

The Alaska House of Representatives must now approve its version, House Bill 328, before the ban can head to Gov. Bill Walker’s desk for approval. It currently sits with the House Health and Social Services Committee.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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