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 May 15, 2005
House Panel Approves Statewide Smoking Ban
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(Providence-AP) -- Rhode Island is one step closer to a statewide smoking ban.

Today, House and Senate committees each approved versions of the bill. They now go to each chamber for a vote. The bills would ban smoking in restaurants and other enclosed public places across the state.

A key difference is that the House version includes temporary exemptions for Lincoln Park, Newport Grand, private clubs and some bars.

Governor Carcieri supports both bills. The state Hospitality and Tourism Association also wants a ban, but with no exemptions. Both bills would have the ban take effect in March. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine and New York have passed statewide smoking bans.

East Greenwich is the only community in Rhode Island to restrict smoking in eateries.

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