WASHINGTON — New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is snuffing out one of Congress' enduring prerogatives, still cherished by some lawmakers - the right to smoke near the floor of the House.
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Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Wednesday that effective immediately, House members would no longer be able to light up in the ornate Speaker's Lobby off the House floor where lawmakers mingle during votes.
The room is often hazy with smoke, as it was Tuesday night as the House voted on anti-terror legislation; Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, often has cigarette in hand, for example.
"The days of smoke-filled rooms in the United States Capitol are over," Pelosi said. "Medical science has unquestionably established the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke, including an increased risk of cancer and respiratory diseases. I am a firm believer that Congress should lead by example."
Smoke-filled rooms won't be gone entirely - lawmakers will still be allowed to smoke in their own offices.
Smoking is banned in most federal buildings, and the District of Columbia recently banned smoking in public areas, as has Pelosi's home district of San Francisco and a number of other cities.
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