19 Jan 2011

CNMI loosens anti-smoking law

1:56 pm on 19 January 2011

The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas house has passed a bill increasing the number of rooms at each hotel that can be designated as smoking areas.

The house voted by 15-0 to pass a bill amending the anti-smoking law so that 80 percent of hotel rooms can be smoking rooms.

The chairman of the House Committee on Health, Sylvester Iguel, says while it is a significant increase, people should remember that it only applies to hotels and not any other businesses.

He says the bill is backed by the hotel industry, whose guests are mainly from countries with many smokers, such as Japan, China and South Korea.

Smoking in public areas has been banned in the Northern Marianas since 2009.