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Last Updated: Monday, 5 May, 2003, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Boston bans smoking in bars
Boston street scene
Smokers will have to step outside

The authorities in Boston, Massachusetts, have banned smoking in restaurants, bars and night-clubs.

The city became the latest to declare indoor workplaces smoke-free zones, following the recent lead of California and New York City.

Smokers and business owners alike have attacked the move as an infringement upon their rights and a potential blow to revenue at a time of economic turndown.

"This is the most terrible time for this to be going into effect," said Bruce Potter, membership director of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA).

But the authorities say the ban, which still allows smoking in the street, in private homes and in some cigar bars, is in the interests of everyone.

"We're just trying to make sure every employee at every workplace in this city is not exposed to something as dangerous and as carcinogenic as second-hand smoke," John Auerbach, executive director of the Public Health Commission (PHC), told AP news agency.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, business owners in the town of Framingham are expected to launch a court action against a smoking ban which also came into force there on Monday.


In Boston, the MRA predicted the ban would simply push smokers out of the city to nearby towns where smoking was still permitted.

Mr Potter added that other smokers would gather on footpaths and in car parks, creating a hazard.

You're not allowed to take liquor outside, and what happens outside, we can't control
Bruce Potter
Massachusetts Restaurant Association

"I think it's going to end up being a real problem," he said.

"You're not allowed to take liquor outside, and what happens outside, we can't control."

But the authorities, who have eight inspectors ready to visit venues, believe the ban will take effect smoothly.

Beer mats handed out by the PHC read: "Tomorrow morning, your shirt will still smell April fresh."

However, in Framingham, the local restaurant association is due to go court to challenge the new smoking ban, arguing that the Board of Health had ignored a town ordinance allowing restricted smoking.

A request from the Board in 2002 for that ordinance to be withdrawn was rejected in a vote at the Framingham Town Meeting.

Along with Framingham and Boston, the Massachusetts towns of Saugus and Watertown also adopted bans on Monday.

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