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Casper lifts smoking ban in local bars

Jun 23, 2013 - By Mead Gruver, The Associated Press

Not all of America is moving toward banning smoking indoors and out. Months after prohibiting it, Casper is now telling smokers that it's OK to light up in some public spaces.

The City Council voted 5-4 Tuesday to repeal part of an indoor smoking ban in effect since September. The vote lifted the ban for bars, but kept it in place for restaurants.

Bar owners had complained they were losing business to competitors in two nearby towns that allowed smoking.

Repeal supporters also said it was an example of government getting too involved in civic life, citing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts to ban super-sized soft drinks.

"Just like what Mayor Bloomberg has done, or tried to do, with sugared drinks. It's just not going to stop unless somebody stands up and says, 'Wait a minute,' and 'Let's use some common sense here,'" said Pat Sweeney, owner of a hotel with a bar now smoke-free because of the ban.

There have been efforts in recent years to overturn smoking bans.

In North Carolina, a legislative committee last month approved a bill that would have prevented local communities and community colleges from enacting smoking bans stricter than in state law.

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