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News Summary

Smoke in the air again

Publication Date: 2/8/2017
  • Author: DAVID CARKHUFF
  • Publication:The Laconia Daily Sun

Restaurants could thrive if lawmakers rolled back the clock and allowed smoking in private businesses, according to advocates for a bill that would undo smoking bans in New Hampshire.

Others -- including the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association -- argue that times have changed and there's no going back to the days of indoor smoking, without inflicting a host of thorny problems, particularly on restaurant owners.

House Bill 279 would repeal a decade-old prohibition on smoking in public places which are privately owned, including restaurants, grocery stores and cocktail lounges. The bill would give discretion for business owners to maintain a ban. New Hampshire Rep. Robert Hull, R-Grafton, who introduced the bill, has argued that business owners, not the state, should decide what's best for customers and their businesses...

Brett Marquis, general manager at Fratello's Italian Grille in Laconia, said he couldn't envision the restaurant ever reinstating indoor smoking...

"We definitely wouldn't go back. We would not allow smoking. We did years ago in the lounge. It's moving backward," he said...