Judge puts out Pierce County smoking ban

Pierce County’s new smoking ban proved to have a short life Thursday, as a county Superior Court judge said the rule was in conflict with state law.

The ban, which became effective at the beginning of the month, prohibited smoking in all public indoor places, including restaurants, casinos and bowling alleys – places that are specifically exempt from a similar statewide ban.

The ban imposed $100 fines for smokers caught in the act, as well as for businesses, which could also lose their licenses.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health, which imposed the controversial decision, said it will appeal the decision.

Just a few miles away, in Olympia, a state Senate committee heard testimony on a bill to impose a similar ban in the entire state. The hearing held plenty of emotions, as both supporters and opponents packed the room.

The bill did not appear to have strong support among lawmakers, with its sponsor Sen. Bob Oke saying supporters may try to use the initiative process instead.