Oregon smoking ban wins final OK

smashed cigarette butt

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A bill to snuff out smoking in all of Oregon's bars and taverns, bingo halls and bowling alleys is headed for Gov. Ted Kulongoski's desk after winning final legislative approval Monday.

The last turn came when the Oregon Senate voted 18-12 to adopt House amendments to the measure, which will make all of those establishments smoke-free beginning in January 2009. Kulongoski has said he will sign the bill.

In 2001, the Legislature passed a measure that outlawed smoking in businesses but exempted bars, taverns, bar areas inside restaurants, bowling alleys and bingo halls in most places.

Monday's final vote was a victory for anti-smoking groups who have been pushing for years to extend Oregon's workplace smoking ban to bars and taverns.

They said more than 35,000 Oregonians work in those establishments, and that a U.S. surgeon general's report issued last year made it clear that their health is put at risk by exposure to secondhand smoke.

The new law will allow smoke shops and cigar bars to continue allowing smoking, and hotels can designate up to 25 percent of their rooms as smoking rooms.

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The bill is SB571.

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