New Jersey to Enact Smoking Ban

Trenton, N.J. -- A ban on smoking in indoor public places statewide appears all but certain after the state Assembly passed a bill Monday approving the ban.

The state Senate approved the bill last month, and acting Gov. Richard Codey has vowed to sign the bill next week. The bill will become law 90 days after Codey signs it.

The ban covers nearly all the state's bars and restaurants but not the gambling areas of the Atlantic City casinos. The ban is similar to smoking bans in 10 other states, including neighboring New York, which enacted its ban in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Washington, D.C., City Council last week voted for a smoking ban in indoor public places except for bars, restaurants, and nightclubs that generate at least 10 percent of their sales from tobacco products. Hotel guest rooms and private offices are also exempt.

Mayor Anthony Williams said he might veto the measure, but the 11-1 council vote indicates that the council will override a veto. The measure is expected to take effect Jan. 1, 2007.