Court Ruling Makes Smoking Ban Hazy

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Brighton, Colo. (AP) The status of the statewide smoking ban is unclear after an Adams county district judge declared the law unconstitutional.

District Judge Robert Doyle says the ban is unconstitutional because it exempts cigar bars.

Adams County District Attorney Don Quick plans to appeal the ruling. Quick says the Colorado Supreme Court may have to weigh in because of this ruling and others.

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger says the judge's ruling doesn't apply here in Grand Junction, unless the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court affirms the ruling. Until that happens, smokers who light up inside a bar will still be violating the law as it is written and subject to fines, Hautzinger says.

Last year, a federal judge said the legislature had the right to decide where smoking could be prohibited. But a judge in Durango ruled that a bar owner was exempt from the law because he sold enough tobacco products to qualify for an exemption.

Democratic Senator Betty Boyd of Lakewood introduced a bill Wednesday to eliminate the cigar bar exemption. That would leave Denver International Airport's smoking lounges as the only public place in Colorado where smoking is allowed.

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