Bill Floated in Del. to Ban Smoking in Private Clubs and Fire Ha - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bill Floated in Del. to Ban Smoking in Private Clubs and Fire Halls

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - A bill recently introduced in Delaware aims to stamp out smoking in the state's private clubs and fire halls.

Delaware banned smoking in most indoor public places - bars, restaurants, offices - back in 2002. But due to a lot of push back, lawmakers allowed smoking to continue in places including Moose and Elk lodges, VFW's and American Legions.

Christopher Maximo tends bar at the American Legion Fox Post Two in Dover. He smokes. And he thinks he should be able to continue lighting up here.

"I remember when they banned that from other locations, like public areas," he said. "This place is a private club. It's a place you have to pay dues for. They pay for that option, too. Almost 90 percent of the people who come in here smoke cigarettes. They come here knowing that. I think they enjoy that."

But the bill's sponsor, Rep. John Viola, D-Newark, says he's heard from vets with breathing issues who don't go to the halls because of the smoking. And he believes just because the clubs are private doesn't mean they should be exempt.

"There are laws that we have that they have to obey also, like alcohol laws - open and close, nobody under 21, that kind of stuff. There are laws that we have in this state that affect and cover them. I feel that this is another law that should also cover them," said Viola.

The bill is unlikely to go anywhere this year with just two weeks left in the legislative session. It's more of a trial balloon at this point, designed to start a discussion.

That's a discussion Maximo hopes ends with things staying just as they are.

"We frequently give out ash trays. That's one of the my first jobs when I open up the bar is to get everything set up and put out all the ash trays," Maximo said. "It's just a part of the job. It doesn't bother me or any other employee here."

This session lawmakers have also been considering expanding the Clean Indoor Air Act to include e-cigarettes. That proposal is far more likely to pass by June 30. It's already gotten through the House and awaits a hearing in the Senate.
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