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Commission to delay vote and consider exemption of private clubs from smoking ban

The Princeton Regional Health Commission has delayed a vote on the smoking ordinance and is expected to introduce an amendment tomorrow exempting the University eating clubs and other private clubs from the ban.

"It's an amendment that intends to clarify between private and public facilities. It's not just the eating clubs, but other private clubs as well," regional health officer Bill Hinshillwood said.


Several eating clubs on campus have retained counsel to represent their interests in the debate over the smoking ordinance, Hinshillwood said. Barbara Strapp Nelson of the law firm McCarthy and Schatzman did not return repeated phone calls last week.

Proposing the amendment requires that the commission reintroduce the ordinance, Hinshillwood explained. "We have to introduce changes at the meeting and then we vote on the revised ordinance," he said. "This is an ordinance being enacted by state law. When it is revised, it has to be reintroduced."

A vote on the smoking ban ordinance, originally scheduled for tomorrow's health commission meeting, will not occur until the May 16 meeting at the earliest, Hinshillwood said. With the current meeting timetable, a vote on the revised ordinance could be delayed even longer, pending a second public hearing, he added.

"The committee meets every third Tuesday of the month," Hinshillwood said. "We will consider [the smoking ban] on a monthly basis."

With the vote postponed, tomorrow's meeting will now be used to clarify further what institutions the smoking ban would affect, Hinshillwood said. "We're creating an ordinance that we intend to be as legally sound as possible," he explained.

Hinshillwood said the commission has considered the private status of the eating clubs in previous discussions of the ordinance and will continue to address the issue in the amendment.

Eating clubs


Terrace Club president Nili Safavi '01 said, "The amendment is a good idea because it is important for eating clubs — including Terrace — to maintain their private status. If we were to be labeled as public, that could bring great liabilities."

"Terrace Club, like other eating clubs, is not like a restaurant or bar because we have members," Safavi continued. "It's a place where members come to hang out and have fun."

Dayna Federici '01, president of Cap and Gown Club, said she does not believe the ordinance will affect her club. "Either way it would not have affected Cap and Gown," she said. "Our house is non-smoking. I'm not sure if it's a written rule or if it's just understood."

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