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City Council Tries Again on Cigar-Smoking Exemption

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The Montgomery County Council passed an exemption to an indoor smoking ban July 12.
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The Montgomery County Council passed an exemption to an indoor smoking ban July 12.

Last month the D.C. council passed an exemption to the city’s indoor smoking ban – sponsors say it was introduced to help out a popular charity event, the "Fight Night" fundraiser, a cigar-filled event that raises money for the Fight for Children charity.

But the language in the bill is vague, and instead of allowing for a one-time exemption by a specific hotel, the measure would theoretically allow nearly 80 hotels in the District to hold similar events.

The council is expected to amend the measure tomorrow.

Council member Phil Mendelson was the only member to vote against the exemption last month, saying the new and improved bill is still a bad idea.

"I don’t think the council should be dong this," he says. "I think we should be consistent with the anti-smoking legislation."

The council is expected to close the loophole by only allowing the smoke-filled event at hotel ballrooms that seat 500 people, a capacity only two city hotels can meet.

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