February 5 2009, 8:58 AM
Citing the bad economy, The Associated Press reports that lawmakers appear willing to let people "smoke 'em if they got 'em"--in public places, that is. Politicians around the nation, including Colorado, now worry that laws banning smoking may hurt business at bars, restaurants, and casinos. Look for a bill in the Legislature to make it easier for taverns and casinos to be classified as a "cigar bar." Specifically, bars, bowling alleys, and casinos could set aside 25 percent of their space for smoking so long as they reap 5 percent of their annual income from tobacco sales. Anti-smoking lobbyists, who note the high costs of treating lung cancer and other smoking-related health problems, were working to expand bans in other states. Now they are retrenching in Colorado. Meanwhile, J. Glynn Loope, executive director of Cigar Rights of America, "intends to vigorously support" the bill, according to Cigar Aficionado.