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Associated Press, Published August 26 2010

Smoking banned in Bismarck bars

BISMARCK – Smoking in bars in North Dakota’s capital city soon will be illegal.

The City Commission late Tuesday voted 4-1 to enact the ban on Nov. 1, after an hour of testimony at a large exhibit hall during which supporters and opponents of the proposed ban were allowed to make their case.

The hearing drew about 225 people, including local doctor Steven Hamar, who said numerous studies have shown the dangers of secondhand smoke. K.C. Chatwood, with a group of respiratory care students and others from the University of Mary, presented 3,500 signatures from residents in favor of a ban.

“Many students work in bars to help pay their way through college,” Chatwood said. “They have to agree to the secondhand smoke – whether they want to or not.”

Commissioner Mike Seminary was the lone vote against the ban. He said it impacts people’s right to choose.

Some bar owners say the ban will prompt customers to go to neighboring Mandan, where they can still light up in bars.

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