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Rhode Island

In 2010, Rhode Island celebrated five years of 100% smokefree workplaces, restaurants and bars. Rhode Island's smokefree law went into effect on March 1, 2005 for workplaces, restaurants, and public places. Originally, bars and private clubs were exempt until October 1, 2006, but the Rhode Island Superior Court ruled on March 31, 2005 that these establishments had to become smokefree immediately.

Unfortunately, separately ventilated smoking gaming areas are permitted in mutual (off track betting) facilities and employees are allowed to refuse to work in smoking areas of the facility without adverse impact from requesting to do so. Local communities were preempted from enacting smokefree laws until October 1, 2006. Since that date, all local communities in Rhode Island have local control.

Read more about current tobacco-related legislation in Rhode Island.

2014 State Legislative Session: 1/7/2014 - 6/30/2014 (Est.)

State Quitline Number: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)

State Law Information and Complaints: For information about the law, please visit the Rhode Island Tobacco Control Program, and for compliance concerns, use the online complaint form.

Smokefree & Related News

RI's youth smoking rate second lowest in US
Warwick Beacon - July 15, 2014

... cigarettes, educating communities on limiting youth access to tobacco products, and increasing the number of smoke-free public places – until we get to zero.”.

Providence Considers Ban on Smoking in Parks
Talk Radio 920 WHJJ - July 9, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Providence City Council is considering a ban on smoking in all public parks. If it's approved, it would be illegal to use any ...

E-Cig Sales to Minors Now Illegal in Rhode Island
Boston.com - July 1, 2014

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed legislation that bans the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. The legislation also prohibits use of the devices in Rhode Island by anyone under 18.

R.I. House passes bill banning e-cigarette sales to minors
The Providence Journal - June 18, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Legislation to make sales of electronic cigarettes to minors illegal and impose criminal penalties on violators passed the House Wednesday night 68 to 0. The Senate passed a similar bill Wednesday. The House bill is expected to go before the Senate Thursday.

Senate Finance Committee votes to allow Twin River Casino to offer lines of credit
The Providence Journal - June 11, 2014

Meanwhile, the committee on Tuesday put a hold on a bill that would require smoking lounges such as hookah bars, which have boomed in popularity in Rhode Island to register with the state Division of Taxation and prove on a quarterly basis to the division that they derive the majority of their revenue from tobacco. A 2005 state law banned indoor smoking, but made exception for smoking lounges. Under the law, a business must file an affidavit with the Division of Taxation every year attesting that at least 51 percent of the businesss annual revenue comes from tobacco. The state Department of Health supports the bill and did not support the exemptions that allowed the smoking lounges, a spokesman has said. The American Lung Association has also supported the legislation...

Regulating hookah: RI bill would tighten control on smoking lounges
The Providence Journal - May 24, 2014

Then the business must go to the city Board of Licenses to ask for a tobacco license ... health interests, passed laws banning sales of flavored tobacco products.

Lawmakers push e-cigarette regulation as business grows
Providence Eyewitness News - May 14, 2014

Now, smoke-free, Tripoli co-owns Sunshine Vape, an e-cigarette or “vaping” shop in Warwick. “It doesn't heat up any hotter than your body temperature, so it's ...

Smoking Ban Proposed on All Rhode Island Campuses
WLNE-TV (ABC6) - April 29, 2014

... tobacco is the number one cause leading, preventable cause of death, disability and disease," said Katrina Holyoak Wood, of Tobacco Free Rhode Island.

Symposium aims for smoke-free college campuses
Providence Eyewitness News - April 28, 2014

A symposium set for Monday, co-hosted by the Rhode Island Tobacco Control Program, will bring together both experts and activists. Advocates say the number of campuses going tobacco-free has grown to nearly 1,200 in recent years. Among those lined up to attend are state health chief Dr. Michael Fine and the dean of Brown Universitys medical school.

In Rhode Island, getting help to quit smoking
The Providence Journal - April 28, 2014

There's been a dramatic rise in people quitting with regulations and bans, ... Earlier this year, for example, Britain banned smoking in cars carrying children. ... of secondhand smoke, had had a big impact in terms of banning smoking from ...

Sosnowski Bill Lets Police Warn Smokers Driving with Kids
Patch.com - March 17, 2014

The Senate passed legislation (2014-S 2084) today (March 13) authorizing police officers to provide a verbal warning to an individual who is smoking in a vehicle containing a restrained child. This bill is really about speaking up for the children who do not have the power to prevent passengers from endangering their health with secondhand smoke, Senator Sosnowski said. I congratulate my colleagues in the Senate for supporting this legislation and allowing our law enforcement officials to give parents and others a full understanding of what they are doing when they smoke cigarettes in close quarters with children.

C. Roger Wallin: Marijuana stinks
The Providence Journal - March 14, 2014

Laws have been passed to prohibit smoking cigarettes in public places, even in ... Will marijuana smokers restrict its use to the interior of their home premises?

RI bill: cops could warn smokers in cars with kids
Associated Press - March 6, 2014

Legislation in the Rhode Island Senate would allow police to issue warnings to drivers who are seen smoking in a vehicle containing a young child. The proposal, which is scheduled to be reviewed Thursday in a Senate committee, would only apply when...

Chafee budget plan seeks to keep Rhode Island's share of gambling ...
The Providence Journal - March 6, 2014

Thursday's House Finance Committee also brought out scores of local convenience store owners opposed to Chafee's plan to subject electronic cigarettes to ...

Havana Cigar Club shines at Chamber's Cigar Night
Cranston Herald - February 26, 2014

The Greater Cranston Chamber of Commerce (GCCC) held an unusual event in the most unusual of places last Thursday night in Warwick. For starters, no one left the 2,000-square-foot facility with the smell of cigars in their business suits or casual attire. This place has great ventilation, said Steve Boyle, the GCCCs president, who arranged the special Cigar Night with Ralph Coppolino, the publisher of Rhode Island Small Business Journal whose company sponsored the entire event. This place and its system are unique.

Revenue-Hungry Rhode Island Seeks 80% Tax on Lifesaving E-Cigarettes
The National Center for Public Policy Research - February 13, 2014

National Center Risk Analysis Division Director Jeff Stier is submitting testimony today to the Rhode Island legislature in opposition to a plan by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee to impose an 80% tax on e-cigarettes. Chaffee believes that "electronic cigarette laws should mirror tobacco product laws."...

RI receives low marks in tobacco prevention
The Brown Daily Herald - February 6, 2014

Rhode Island received an F in “tobacco prevention” and a D in “cessation coverage,” despite receiving A grades for both its “smokefree air” and “cigarette tax,” in ...

Tobacco Free RI, health director praise CVS Caremark's decision to phase out tobacco sales
AP - Associated Press - February 5, 2014

A network of Rhode Island anti-tobacco organizations and state health officials Wednesday praised the decision of Woonsocket-based CVS Caremark to phase out tobacco sales at its more than 7,600 drugstores nationwide.

Daniels criticizes Pawtucket Housing Authority on smoking ban
Valley Breeze - December 10, 2013

First, let me say thank you for your time and coverage concerning the smoking ban here at Pawtucket Housing. Second, there were some omissions in your ...

Resident: I won't abide by 'unenforceable' PHA smoking ban
Valley Breeze - November 5, 2013

"This smoking ban did not start from the ground up and is not an answer to people's ... But just as with new residents, he is banned from smoking in the designated ... Very few housing authorities across the country have smoking bans in place, ...

Director: Pawtucket Housing Authority well on its way to being ...
Valley Breeze - October 23, 2013

Director: Pawtucket Housing Authority well on its way to being smoke-free. By ETHAN SHOREY, Valley Breeze Staff Writer. PAWTUCKET - Representatives from ...

Michael Fine: City's historic tobacco ban helps youth
Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin - October 14, 2013

We are trendsetters in the Tobacco Control Movement. Rhode Island has the second highest cigarette excise tax, the third lowest youth smoking rate and now, our capital city has put Rhode Island on the map once again.

How city of Providence is taking on Big Tobacco and winning
Washington University in St. Louis News - October 10, 2013

The city of Providence, R.I., is taking the fight against Big Tobacco to a new level with innovative tobacco control policies. A new study, led in part by Washington University in St. Louis Center for Public Health Systems Science (CPHSS), details Providences efforts and provides a road map for other municipalities to follow.

Providence Ban on Flavored Tobacco Upheld by First Circuit Court ...
Rhode Island Public Radio - October 2, 2013

The City of Providence said it hopes more municipalities follow its lead and pass ordinances that curb the sale of flavored tobacco products. The First Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a pair of ordinances banning the sale of flavored tobacco products and some store discounts.

Anti-smoking ordinances survive lawsuit
Talk Radio News Service - October 1, 2013

An effort by major tobacco manufacturers to set aside two anti-smoking ordinances in Providence, R.I., was rejected by the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. The court said the ordinances were not pre-empted by the First Amendment and various federal anti-smoking laws. The city ordinances restricted the use of coupons and multi-pack discounts to reduce the price of tobacco products, and prohibited the sale of flavored tobacco products.

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Providence, RI, Measures to ...
Sacramento Bee - September 30, 2013

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2013 -- /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: In a win for kids and public health, a federal appeals court today upheld sensible restrictions adopted by the City of Providence, Rhode Island, that prohibit tobacco companies from using flavored products and price discounts to attract kids.

Tobacco companies appeal Providence ban
MyFOX Providence WNAC - Jul 30, 2013

The laws are being challenged by a consortium of national tobacco ... into law in 2012 after arguing that preventing the sale of flavored, non-cigarette tobacco ...

City Defends Tobacco Coupon Ban Before First Circuit
The National Law Journal - July 29, 2013

A lawyer for Providence, R.I., urged a federal appeals court on Monday to reject a constitutional challenge to a local ban on redemption of coupons for tobacco products. Tobacco companies remain free to distribute those coupons, he argued, even if residents are not free to redeem them.

LETTER: Towns' efforts to expand smoke-free zones applauded
The Westerly Sun - July 25, 2013

We applaud the recent efforts in Charlestown and Hope Valley to expand smoke-free areas in their communities, as highlighted in Cynthia Drummonds recent article, Towns Enact Smoking Bans at Recreational Facilities (July 5).

Mass. gamblers drawn to RI casino
Capecodonline - July 25, 2013

Twin River does have something Massachusetts can't give its gamblers: a place to smoke and gamble at the same time. Even the tribe, which doesn't have to abide by the state's Expanded Gaming Act, has agreed to make its casinos smoke-free. Smoking is a challenge, but I think there are more people out there today who don't smoke, Cromwell said. We've agreed to smoke-free facility, but we will have areas where they can step outside.

RI Gov Chafee vetoes bill banning use of e-cigarettes by minors
The Providence Journal (subscription) - July 18, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Chafee has vetoed legislation that would have banned anyone under the age of 18 from using or purchasing electronic cigarettes. The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and other health advocacy groups, in calling on Chafee to strike down the measure, said it represented a "stalking horse" for tobacco and e- cigarette companies that want to exempt the growing industry from the regulations and taxes imposed on traditional tobacco-based products.

RI gov vetoes electronic cigarette legislation
Yahoo! News July 18, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has vetoed legislation to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to children, saying the way it was written would have exempted e-cigarettes from laws governing tobacco products.

RI gov vetoes electronic cigarette legislation
MSN Money - July 18, 2013

Lincoln Chafee has vetoed legislation to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to children, saying the way it was written would have exempted e-cigarettes from ...

Rhode Island Groups Call for Veto of Ban on Sale to Minors
Vapesquad.com - July 10, 2013

Rhode Island recently passed a bill proposing a ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes and associated products to minors under 18 years of age. Good move, right? The Rhode Island Tobacco Control Network doesnt think so. They want the bill vetoed. The Network, a coalition that includes the American Heart, Lung and Cancer Societies, among others, seem to take issue with parts of the bill that define electronic cigarettes as a new class of vapor products, rather than defining them as tobacco products.

Anti-smoking group against e-cig bill
Providence Eyewitness News - July 10, 2013

(WPRI) -- A coalition of anti-smoking groups is calling on Governor Chafee to veto a bill that would help prevent minors from getting their hands on e-cigarettes.

Antismoking groups push for veto of RI e-cigarette legislation (Rhode Island)
The Providence Journal - July 9, 2013

PROVIDENCE — Banning the use of e-cigarettes by minors should be the sort of legislation antismoking groups support. Instead they are calling for a veto.

General Assembly Bans Sale of E-Cigarettes to Minors
Rhode Island Public Radio - July 2, 2013

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, are electronic nicotine delivery systems shaped like cigarettes or cigars. They deliver nicotine to a user in the ...

Providence RI Appeal Challenges Tobacco Ordinances
Convenience Store Decisions - June 26, 2013

The first ordinance in question bans the redemption of tobacco product coupons and ... has the authority to regulate the advertising and promotion of cigarettes. ... This ordinance attempts to go beyond the flavored cigarette ban passed by ...

Hearing Set on Providence, RI Coupon Ban and Flavored Tobacco ...
CSPnet.com - June 26, 2013

The first Providence ordinance bans the redemption of tobacco product coupons and prohibits ... the authority to regulate the advertising and promotion of cigarettes. ... This ordinance attempts to go beyond the flavored cigarette ban passed by ...

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TOBACCO OUTLETS, INC., et al. v. CITY OF PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND: BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE - TOBACCO CONTROL LEGAL CONSORTIUM (PDF)
Public Health Law Center (William Mitchell College of Law) - June 8, 2013

BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE TOBACCO CONTROL LEGAL CONSORTIUM IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS APPELLEES AND AFFIRMANCE

Providence, R.I., Coupon and Promotion Ban Appeal Update
CSPnet.com - June 5, 2013

Last year, a federal lawsuit was filed against the City of Providence, R.I., seeking to overturn two tobacco-related ordinances. One of the ordinances bans adult consumers from redeeming tobacco product coupons and also prohibits retailers from offering certain promotionally priced tobacco products, such as "buy-one, get-one free" offers. The second ordinance bans the sale of virtually all flavored cigars, smokeless tobacco, and pipe tobacco products in the city. The lawsuit was filed by NATO, the Cigar Association of America Inc. (CAA), along with Lorillard Tobacco Co., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., American Snuff Co., Philip Morris USA Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Manufacturing Co. LLC, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Brands Inc. and John Middleton Co. Last December, the federal district court judge hearing the case issued a ruling upholding both of the ordinances.

Council backs plan to ban smoking in parks
Woonsocket Call - May 21, 2013

Councilman Mark Dubois said he was in full support of the ban and noted that the School Committee had taken a similar step banning smoking on school ...

E-cigarette Legislation to Get Make Over
Pawtucket Times - May 3, 2013

Just weeks ago, health advocacy organizations found themselves in an awkward, uncomfortable situation at the Rhode Island General Assembly. Although they supported the stated intent of House and Senate bills (H 5876 and S 622) that blocked the sale of electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) to minors, they were forced to oppose these legislative proposals because of troubling provisions they believe were embedded within these bills. ...

Last Week at the General Assembly. . .
Cranston (RI) Patch.com - March 11, 2013

Legislation introduced to prohibit sale of 'e-cigarettes' to minors ... The bill would expand the statutory definition of “tobacco products” to include “vapor products. …

Rhode Island bill would ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors
The Republic- March 9, 2013

Electronic cigarettes look like cigarettes, but have no tobacco. ... through a so-called e-cigarette is no better than getting them started on regular cigarettes. …

Bill would ban sale of e-cigarettes to minors
WLNE-TV (ABC6) - March 6, 2013

Purchasing cigarettes under the age of 18 is prohibited and soon it may be prohibited for minors to buy electronic cigarettes as well. A new bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to those under 18. Ruggerio (Providence, North Providence) says the e-cigarette acts as an electronic nicotine delivery system and could potentially get kids addicted to nicotine. …

Lawmaker: Ban minors from e-cigarettes
Providence Eyewitness News - March 6, 2013

It is already illegal for minors to purchase cigars, cigarettes and any other tobacco-laden product. Now, a local lawmaker is pushing to add electronic cigarettes to a teenager's list of banned products. …

Johnston Housing goes smoke free
Johnston Sun Rise - Jan 24, 2013

For tenants of the Johnston Housing Authority, the new year brought with it a major change in lifestyle. Following the trend of public housing across the country, ...

Johnston Public Housing Authority Goes Smoke Free
Johnston (RI) Patch.com - January 18, 2013

The Johnston Housing Authority went smoke free on Jan. 2, joining 15 other public housing authorities in the state to provide smoke-free living for tenants, the ...

Woonsocket Housing celebrates a smoke-free year
Cumberland (RI) Valley Breeze - January 17, 2013

It has been exactly one year since a ban on smoking went into effect inside the seven city buildings operated by the Woonsocket Housing Authority, and although it was controversial at first, Executive Director Robert Kulik said he believes 99 percent of r ...

Providence bans flavored tobacco products
Stamford Advocate - January 4, 2013

A ban on certain flavored tobacco products has gone into effect in Providence. As of Thursday, Rhode Island's capital city prohibits the sale of flavored cigarettes and cigars in an effort to prevent children and teens from using the products. …

City tobacco ordinances go into effect
Providence Eyewitness News - January 4, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- New laws aimed at keeping tobacco products away from minors are now in place in Providence. Beginning Thursday, businesses in the city are prohibited from selling most flavored tobacco products, with the exception or mint, menthol, and wintergreen ...

Providence's new tobacco laws to go in effect Jan. 3
Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin - December 20, 2012

The city regulations bar stores from discounting cigarettes and selling tobacco products advertised with fruit and candy-flavor....

Smoke free public housing in RI
MyFOX Providence WNAC - December 19, 2012

Providence, R.I. (WPRI) - The Rhode Island Department of Health has recognized 16 of the state's 25 public housing authorities for implementing smoking bans in their units. …

Federal judge sides with Providence, against industry, on tobacco curbing ordinances
The Providence Journal - December 11, 2012

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A federal judge has ruled against the tobacco industry in its legal battle with the City of Providence over new regulations that bar stores from discounting cigarettes and ban the sale of certain flavored tobacco products. …

Tobacco Cos. Lose Challenge To RI City's Advertising Law
Law360 (subscription) - December 10, 2012

A Rhode Island federal judge on Monday dismissed a suit by nine tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc., against Providence, R.I., ruling that the city's new ordinances limiting tobacco advertisements did not violate the First Amendment. U.S. District Judge Mary M. Lisi said that because the ordinances ban the redemption of coupons or multipack discounts and limit the sale of flavored tobacco products to smoking bars, the city laws regulate commercial activity, but not First Amendment-protected commercial speech. …

Smoking Guidelines for Brown University Facilities
Brown University - October 28, 2012

Smoking is prohibited in all Brown residential and dining facilities....

Central Falls passes new smoking ban
WLNE-TV (ABC6) - October 11, 2012

You can no longer light up outdoors in Central Falls. Wednesday night the city council passed a ban on smoking outside in some public spaces. It was a packed house inside city council chambers in Central Falls. Those who light up and those who don't, all waiting eagerly to find out if a new smoking ordinance would pass and in minutes it got the green light. …

City to prohibit smoking in some places
Providence Eyewitness News (RI) - October 10, 2012

The proposed ordinance would ban smoking within 25 feet of schools, parks and other ... Along with these bans, signs would be posted in Central Falls parks.

Central Falls acting police chief wants to ban smoking outdoors where people congregate
Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin - Oct 9, 2012

The city's acting police chief hopes to ban smoking in parks, on school grounds and in other outdoor areas where people -- especially children -- are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Rally for for tobacco-free ordinance
Supporters urging CF City Council to pass measure
Providence Eyewitness News - October 1, 2012

A rally is planned next week outside Central Falls City Hall supporting passage of a tobacco-free ordinance. Central Falls has one of the highest smoking rates in Rhode Island. Next Wednesday, the City Council is expected to vote on a measure that would prohibit smoking and the use of tobacco products in or on school grounds, childcare facilities, playgrounds and parks in the city. …

Providence takes on big tobacco in federal court over ordinances to curb tobacco sales to teens
The Providence Journal - August 22, 2012

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- City solicitors took on big tobacco interests in federal court Wednesday in support of ordinances intended to curb tobacco sales to teens. …

Smoking must be banned from public outdoor spaces
Valley Breeze - August 2, 2012

Policies to reduce second-hand smoke exposure have largely been based upon the idea that second-hand smoke is an indoor problem, but growing scientific ...

RI bill would ban smoking when kids are in cars
The Westerly Sun - May 10, 2012

A Rhode Island state senator wants to add to the list of places people can’t smoke ­ in cars when children are present. South Kingstown Democrat V. Susan Sosnowski says the goal is to protect children from harmful second-hand smoke. …

Bill would ban smoking in cars with children
WPRO - May 10, 2012

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would make it illegal to smoke in a car when children are present. …

Providence, RI to celebrate anti-tobacco campaign
CNBC.com - March 29, 2012

The city says the Tobacco-Free Providence campaign sought to reduce youth access ... get one free," and sales of non-cigarette tobacco products marketed as ...

RI Senate votes to require treatment programs and community ...
The Republic - March 9, 2012

AP PROVIDENCE, RI ­ Minors caught smoking in Rhode Island would be required to perform community service and enroll in a tobacco cessation program under a measure endorsed by the state Senate. …

RI May Snuff Out Smoking on The Beach
WSLS - February 16, 2012

By: | AP PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) Rhode Island would become the first state to specifically ban smoking at all beaches under a proposal before lawmakers. ...

Poll: Should Smoking Be Banned At RI Beaches?
Bristol-Warren (RI) Patch.com - February 16, 2012

State lawmakers are looking at banning smoking at the beach and other outdoor places. ... Richard Morrison to extend the state's smoking ban outdoors, ...

Companies File Suit to Stop Providence Flavored Tobacco Ban
Cigar Aficionado - February 16, 2012

The Cigar Association of America has taken part with a group of tobacco companies ... on cigarettes and prohibit the sale of non-cigarette flavored tobacco ...

RI: Suit challenges Providence tobacco ordinances
BusinessWeek - February 16, 2012

... non-cigarette tobacco products marketed as having a fruit or candy flavor. The city says the US Food and Drug Administration banned flavored cigarettes ...

Hookah bars are catching on in Rhode Island
Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin, 2011-08-20
Andy Smith Journal Staff Writer

Hookah lounges arrived in Rhode Island in 2005. Instead of burning out, the fad appears to have grown increasingly popular, with a half-dozen hookah lounges on Federal Hill alone. ...

Providence public housing goes smoke-free
Boston Globe - August 4, 2011

PROVIDENCE, RI­Providence officials have announced a new smoke-free policy for five public housing high-rise buildings in the state's capital. ...

Smoking in RI less than national level
Providence Journal - Felice J. Freyer - November 8, 2010

The percentage of Rhode Island adults who smoke has taken a nosedive in recent years, and federal health officials predict the state will soon see a drop in heart disease, lung disease and cancer as a result.

In contrast, the nationwide smoking rate of about 20 to 21 percent has scarcely budged since 2004.

The decline in smoking in Rhode Island started right after two changes in state law — the ban on smoking in indoor public places, which took effect in March 2005, and the increase in the cigarette tax to the highest in the nation. ...

Smoking ban at slot parlors could cost millions
Providence Journal - May 13, 2009

PROVIDENCE — As the owner of a company that provides respiratory equipment to people with breathing disorders, Sen. James Doyle didn’t have a second thought about introducing a bill on behalf of the state nurses association to ban smoking at Rhode Island’s two slot parlors.

But that was before the state Budget Office projected the huge impact the ban — slated for a Senate committee hearing Wednesday night — would have on the state’s already shrunken revenues.

Should smoking be banned throughout Twin River and Newport Grand, the Budget Office projects a $36-million revenue loss to the state in the budget year that begins on July 1, and a $37.3-million loss the year after. And that does not count the millions of dollars in potential losses to the slot parlor owners who, in Twin River’s case, have been struggling to stay out of bankruptcy court. ...

Bills filed to provide smoke-free senior housing
EastBayRI.com - May 1, 2009

WESTPORT — Two bills, both aiming to provide smoke-free living for residents of elderly housing who choose it, are being heard by a legislative committee this week.

The action comes after controversy at the Greenwood Terrace senior housing facility where a resident who suffers from asthma and cerebral palsy said her apartment is constantly filled with second-hand smoke. The Westport Housing Authority says its hands are tied in the matter because the state makes no provision for smoke-free buildings in senior housing projects.

Rep. Michael J. Rodrigues of Westport said the bills were to be heard by the Joint Committee of Housing, of which he is a member.

“Please understand that the legislative process is deliberate and these bills will not move as quickly as some may want. However, I can assure you of my support for these two bills as we move forward,” Rep. Rodrigues said.

“In recent weeks, I’ve been attempting to encourage the Westport Housing Authority and the Department of Housing and Community Development to sit down regarding the situation at Greenwood Terrace,” Rep. Rogrigues said. “Please know that I’m committed to finding a solution as we continue to work through the complex issues that exist." ...

Bill would ban Twin River smoking
Pawtucket (RI) Times, 2009-02-16
JIM BARON

The already trouble-plagued Twin River gambling hall now has something else to worry about.

Sen. Paul Fogarty wants to end the exemption the General Assembly gave to Twin River and Newport Grand when it banned smoking in virtually all public places in Rhode Island more than three years ago. Smoking was allowed to continue in limited areas at the two facilities because lawmakers feared a drop in revenue if gamblers couldn’t smoke there when they are allowed to do so at the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos in nearby Connecticut.

The state takes 60 cents of every dollar that is lost at Twin River and Newport Grand and that represents a significant percentage of the state’s revenues.

The legislature banned smoking in all other public places, including restaurants and bars so that employees would not be exposed to second hand smoke, which is considered to be a health hazard.

Fogarty, whose district includes parts of Glocester, Burrillville and North Smithfield, says the rationale for the exemption – to protect the state from losing any of the money it receives from the two gaming facilities – was misguided.

Don't wager on smoke-free gambling
Providence Journal-Bulletin, February 5, 2007

Gamblers heading to the nonsmoking sections of Lincoln Park and Newport Grand might not be escaping the smoke after all.

A study commissioned by a New Jersey antismoking group shows significant levels of pollutants in the nonsmoking sections of the two gambling halls.

At Lincoln Park, the nonsmoking area was found to be 39 percent as polluted as the track's smoking section. At Newport Grand, the pollutant levels were 17 to 37 percent of the levels in the smoking section…

"How dismal that the separately walled and ventilated nonsmoking sections are still one-third as polluted as the extra-polluted smoking sections," Regina Carlson, executive director of GASP said in a statement. "Clearly, at least in Rhode Island casinos, this so-called solution doesn't work."

"Bottom line, the only way to protect employees and patrons is to make casinos smoke free," she said.

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