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Bartender Must Pay $50 for Violating Smoking Ban

(CN) - A Kansas City bartender was properly fined $50 for following orders to let patrons violate the city's smoking ban, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled.

Georgia Carlson challenged the $50 fine she incurred after the city health department conducted a "smoking audit" at J.C.'s Sports Bar.

The patrons extinguished their cigarettes, but Carlton told the inspector that she had been instructed to let the customers smoke. The inspector gave her a ticket, which she refused to sign.

The municipal and circuit courts both ruled that Carlson had violated the smoking ban. She appealed, arguing that only a police officer -- not a health inspector -- is allowed to issue a citation.

Judge Karen Mitchell disagreed and upheld the fine.

"Nowhere in (the law) does it specify that a police officer must, in all cases," issue an ordinance violation notice," Mitchell wrote.

"Kansas City police resources are undoubtedly unable to adequately enforce ordinances like the anti-smoking ordinance on a daily basis. Common sense dictates that the health inspectors be permitted to issue notices for such ordinance violations," the judge added.

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