Federal judge extinguishes attempt to stop NJ smoking ban

A federal judge in Trenton shot down a last-ditch effort to block an indoor smoking ban from taking effect Saturday.

A group of bar, restaurant and bowling alley owners filed a lawsuit to try and get the Smoke-Free Air Act struck down as unconstitutional. The group claims the ban violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution because it allows residents to smoke in New Jersey casinos.

The owners had hoped the judge would issue an injunction against the ban pending the outcome of their suit. However, U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler refused to stop the ban from taking effect. Chesler says the group?s suit is not likely to succeed.

Meanwhile, the state Health Department is stepping up a campaign to inform business owners and residents about the details of the new law. Health officials hope the ban will encourage many residents to quit smoking.

Related Story:Smoking ban ignites cloud of confusion for New Jersey merchants Smoking ban bill signed into law in New Jersey New Jersey Assembly overwhelmingly passes indoor smoking ban

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