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Health | Law
Some Flathead Reservation bars allow smoking

The Montana Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect earlier this month but not all bars on the Flathead Reservation are happy with it.

Tribal-owned facilities are exempt from the ban on the use of tobacco products indoors. But at least tribal member who owns a bar on the reservation isn't following the law.

"The way I understand it, the state and health department won't pursue it if we allow it, because they have nowhere to take it," Lori Peterson, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, told The Missoulian.

Rick Wheeler also owns a bar on the reservation but he isn't a tribal member. He says he shouldn't have to follow the law if the tribe doesn't -- he's still lighting up and allows his employees and patrons to do so as well.

"That's not right," he told the Missoulian. "This bar is my retirement - do they want to take that away from me, too? It's racial discrimination."

The paper said the majority of establishments on the reservation went smoke free on October 1.

Get the Story:
New smoking ban a bit hazy on Flathead Reservation (The Missoulian 10/29)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Smoking at tribal casinos in Montana (10/20)
Montana tribes weigh smoking policy at casinos (10/19)