(CN) – The Nevada Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved ban on indoor smoking in schools and offices, but ruled that the law could not be criminally enforced.
The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, passed in 2006, prohibits smoking in schools and workplaces, but makes exceptions for bars, casinos and strip clubs.
The Nevada Tavern Owners Association, Terrible’s Hotel and Casino, and Three Angry Wives Pub challenged the law, claiming the criminal portion was too vague to be enforced.
The trial court agreed, but said the civil portion of the statute was not impermissibly vague and could be severed from the criminal portion.
Nevada Attorney General George Chanos appealed, and the state high court upheld the trial court’s ruling.
“As vagueness permeates the text of the NCIAA, it is unconstitutionally vague for criminal enforcement,” Justice Hardesty wrote.
Specifically, Hardesty noted that the statute did not instruct bar owners on whether they should stop smokers from lighting up, ask them to leave, or call the police.
The Supreme Court also held that the civil portion can stand on its own.
“The statute, after severance, can be legally enforced, and it was the intent of the Legislature and proponents of the statute that the act remains in effect if a portion was severed,” Hardesty wrote.