New Jersey starts countdown to public smoking ban

? Many New Jersey bar and restaurant patrons are applauding the state?s smoking ban that takes effect Saturday, but others are upset.

At McGovern?s Tavern in Newark, Gerry Lenihan said he agreed with the measure because he lost his father to emphysema. However, social smokers like Robert Ruane feel it is unreasonable that he can?t light up with a drink anymore.

McGovern?s management plans to abide by the ban, which several businesses unsuccessfully challenged in court. The new law snuffs out smoking in most public places, but excuses cigar bars, casinos and 20 percent of hotel rooms. Area health departments will enforce the ban. Anyone caught smoking in a public place could be fined up to $1,000.

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