New York Lawmakers Want to Allow Smoking in Bars with Filters

Two New York lawmakers are working on bills that would allow smoking in bars as long as they install a sophisticated air-purifying system, the New York Post reported May 16.

One type of air purifier that would qualify under the legislation is called the Airistar 1000, which claims to be able to eliminate 99 percent of cigarette smoke in minutes. The unit can also remove dangerous contaminants, such as germs, fungal spores and even anthrax, from the air, according to the manufacturer. The unit, which cleans 1,000 cubic feet of air per minute, costs about $3,500.

“These state-of-the-art filters make room air cleaner than what you breathe outside,” said Basil Anastassiou, a spokesman for the New York Night Life Association.

The bills, sponsored by Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito (D-Rome) and state Sen. Raymond Meier (R-Western), were sparked by complaints from bar owners, who say the state’s smoking ban has cut their business by as much as 40 percent.

Even if state lawmakers pass the legislation, it would not go into effect in New York City. “New York City’s laws are more stringent than the bill I’m proposing and the city’s law would preempt it,” Meier said. “However, passage of my bill might persuade city-council members to follow suit.”