Tuesday, January 29, 2008

10th Circuit Upholds State's Smoking Ban

A federal appeals court upheld Colorado's smoking ban today, rejecting arguments that exempting a smoking area at Denver International Airport violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.

The case, Coalition for Equal Rights, Inc. v. Ritter, was filed by a coalition of owners of owners of bars, bowling alleys and other establishments at which smoking was traditionally permitted.

In the opinion, a judge wrote that "the State of Colorado has offered a rational basis for its distinction between airport smoking concessions and the establishments owned, operated and or serviced by plaintiffs." The opinion further says that DIA smokers "have no options as to where they can smoke because they have no real opportunity or ability to travel to a location outside the DIA area."

The opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed an earlier decision by a federal district court in Denver.