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For immediate release - Thursday, April 1, 2010.
Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699, RBrammer@ag.state.ia.us.

Court Upholds Iowa's Smokefree Air Act
Statement of the Iowa Attorney General's Office

Thursday, April 1, 2010

In a 32-page ruling released late Wednesday afternoon, the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County upheld the decision of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to revoke the liquor license of Otis Campbell’s Bar & Grill for repeatedly violating the Iowa Smokefree Air Act (ISFAA). Otis Campell’s Bar & Grill is located in West Burlington, Iowa, and is owned by Larry Duncan. Des Moines County District Court Judge Mary Ann Brown ruled that the Iowa ABD had the right to sanction any liquor license holder who failed to follow the ISFAA.

The Court further ruled that the ISFAA constitutionally regulated where smoking may occur in the State of Iowa. The Court specifically found that the State of Iowa could reasonably exempt certain places from the Smokefree Air Act without violating either the Iowa or United States constitutions. [Go to Judge Brown’s decision.]

Comment of Attorney General Tom Miller:

“This is a thorough and thoughtful decision. It rejected multiple constitutional challenges to Iowa’s Smokefree Air Act and upheld the State’s authority to regulate smoking in public places,” Attorney General Tom Miller said.

“This is the first decision on the constitutionality of the Alcoholic Beverage Division’s enforcement of the Smokefree Air Act. It soundly affirms the State’s authority to reduce people’s exposure to dangerous second-hand smoke,” he said.

“This is a victory for the public health of Iowans. The Smokefree Air Act is well-accepted by Iowans, and it is welcomed by most Iowans. The decision is another milestone in establishing this good law.”

More background on A.G. efforts to reduce
the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke:

 

Attorney General Tom Miller has been a leader on tobacco issues since his involvement in the Master Settlement Agreement against “Big Tobacco” companies in 1998.  Following that milestone agreement, the Attorney General’s Office worked with the communities of Ames and Iowa City to pass the state’s first secondhand smoke local ordinances.  In 2003, with funding from the American Legacy Foundation, Miller’s office created The Iowa Attorney General’s Report on Secondhand Smoke, which served as a legal, health and policy guide for community advocacy on smoking issues. 

Since enactment of the Iowa Smokefree Air Law in 2008, the Attorney General’s Office has enforced the law by bringing dozens of actions against violators.  The Attorney General’s Office defended the constitutionality of the law in the Otis Campbell’s case and other cases, citing the important health protections that the law provides to Iowans.

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