Vegas Court Postpones Smoking Ban

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Vegas Court Postpones Smoking Ban

LAS VEGAS -- Cigarettes can continue to be smoked around slot machines for a short time in Las Vegas, as a Clark County District Court judge approved a 15-day restraining order to block the smoking ban that was voted into law in the November elections, reported The Associated Press.

A business group, which includes owners of chains such as Village Pub and Terrible's Hotel and Casino, asked for an injunction early last week, in addition to a restraining order to keep police in the southern part of Nevada from enforcing the law. They claimed that the law was unconstitutional, too vague and discriminatory against some businesses, the report stated.

"The interest of the general public is best served if defendants are enjoined from enforcing a criminal statute whose constitutionality is highly questionable," the suit said.

The ban that was approved in November prohibited smoking in bars where food was served, as well as places where slot machines are located, including supermarkets, convenience stores and gas stations. Judge Douglas Herndon said in his ruling that there is a reasonable chance that the ban -- which was supposed to take effect last Friday -- is unconstitutional.

"This is not an issue of my telling the voters their vote is wrong. It's an issue of the constitutionality of the law they voted on," Herndon said in the ruling.

Since the restraining order only sought protection in the southern part of the state, the northern part could have the law enforced, the report stated. A hearing on the law is set for Dec. 19.