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Coalition for Equal Rights v. Ritter

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20040
Nos. No. 06-1511, (10th Cir., 01/29/2008)

The Tenth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of Colorado's Clean Indoor Air Act. The Act bans smoking in indoor areas, but it expressly exempts from this general prohibition "airport smoking concessions" such as airport restaurants and bars. A coalition of tavern and bar owners filed suit challenging the law. By exempting airport smoking concessions from the Act's ban on indoor smoking, the Colorado Legislature rationally distinguished those concessions from the majority of other indoor facilities in the state that are open to the public, including the establishments owned and operated by the plaintiffs. In contrast to the patrons of the plaintiffs' establishments, the vast majority of Denver International Airport visitors are nonresidents of Colorado and are in the state for only a few minutes or hours while waiting for a connecting flight. Further, those visitors who are smokers would, without the availability of airport smoking concessions, have nowhere else to smoke because they "have no real opportunity or ability to travel to a location outside" the airport.