HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Smoking in bars will be prohibited in Guam next year under a measure that expands provisions to the island's anti-smoking law.
The Legislature voted last month in favor of expanding the Natasha Smoking Act pf 2005 to include bars in the list of establishments where indoor smoking is prohibited. The new provision takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, The Pacific Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/20lu59H).
The legislation lapsed into law without Gov. Eddie Calvo's signature. Oyaol Ngirairikl, a spokesman for the governor's office, said Calvo has supported efforts to reduce smoking rates on Guam, but he is concerned about the "invasion" of government in the private lives of citizens.
"He wonders whether the Legislature is over-regulating society and stripping too many choices and liberties from the people," said Ngirairikl.
The act also prohibits individuals from smoking inside a vehicle occupied by a pregnant woman. The law already banned smoking inside a vehicle with a child under the age of 17 inside.
Other provisions included in the bill are aimed at increasing training for those who enforce smoking prohibitions. It also authorizes Citizen Assisted Police Enforcement volunteers as well as private and government of Guam security officers to enforce the smoking regulations in and around buildings.
Some Guam bar owners say they support the new law and have already been implementing the ban.
Mike Looby, the owner of Horse and Cow in Tamuning, said his bar became a non-smoking establishment last year.
"I knew (the law) was coming so I decided to put the smoking patio and go smokeless," he said. "My business increased 10 percent. Nobody complained, even the smokers loved it. All the smokers that did smoke actually enjoy the place better."