Fifth Circuit Upholds Smoking Ban In Austin

     NEW ORLEANS (CN) – The 5th Circuit upheld an indoor smoking ban in Austin, Texas, saying it does not violate bar owners’ free-speech rights or threaten their business interests.

     The ruling reverses a district court’s conclusion that the smoking ban’s “necessary steps” provision, requiring bar owners verbally instruct patrons about the law, is impermissibly vague.
     This provision is constitutional because it compels action but not speech, the court ruled. Nothing bars owners from speaking freely about the ban.
     The court also concluded that smoking ban does not interfere with business operations because it regulates smoking only, and not the sale of alcohol or other products.

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