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PROPOSED RULES WOULD LET BOSS BAN ALL SMOKING

An employer could ban all smoking in a building instead of constructing a separate smoking room, under regulations proposed to enforce Erie County's anti-smoking law.

Dr. Arnold Lubin, the county health commissioner, has submitted the rules to the Erie County Legislature.

"The employer could choose to make the entire premises smoke free and not incur any expense to make structural or other physical modifications," the proposed rules say.

The Legislature has until Dec. 15 to disapprove a regulation, but cannot change the wording, said Peter Coppola, senior public health sanitarian and the county's smoking enforcement official.

The proposed smoking policy would include "disciplinary action" for workers who sneak a smoke in the wrong place. Smoking outside but close to a door also would be forbidden.

Among the regulations are:

There will be 19 feet between a bar area, where smoking is permitted, and the closest non-smoking seat in a restaurant or dining room.

Smoking is prohibited on patios with roofs and enclosed on three sides.

The driver of a car used for business can smoke when alone, but smoking is banned if there are passengers.

Smoking is not regulated in a private function, where guests are admitted by invitation of the host or hostess, in a whole or enclosed part of a building.

Health inspectors will determine if food service constitutes at least 40 percent of annual gross sales of an establishment and if smoking is forbidden.

The law permits smoking in bars where food service is incidental and less than 40 percent of the annual gross.

"This isn't to tell the individual smoker he can't smoke," Dr. Lubin said. "But he's going to have to be a little careful about exposing someone else who . . . doesn't want to smoke."

Police agencies and health inspectors can cite a violator to a court or Health Department hearing.

The owner or manager who is faced with a scofflaw smoker is advised under the proposals to refuse service, ask the smoker to leave or to call police.

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