The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is asking a Carson City district court to dismiss a lawsuit aimed at preventing smoking at tobacco shows, claiming the society does not have standing to sue.
The American Cancer Society filed suit in early December claiming a law passed during the 2009 state legislative session violates the Nevada Constitution’s one subject requirement. The law was added to an anti-stalking measure.
The complaint seeks to revise the law so it only addresses stalking.
The lawsuit named the convention authority, Nevada State Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and public health officials for pushing for revisions to the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, which prevents smoking in public areas such as restaurants, malls, grocery stores and government buildings.
A date has not been set for a hearing.
The convention authority filed a motion Monday saying the Cancer Society lacks standing to bring a lawsuit because the society has not been injured by the law’s enactment. It also argues that opposition to smoking is a political and policy agenda, an agenda the society lost.
The convention authority called the law a “common-sense approach” to keep tobacco trade shows coming to Las Vegas.
“It is difficult to sell tobacco products to potential buyers if they are prohibited from sampling products they are being urged to purchase,” the convention authority’s motion said. “Thus, our elected representatives took the common-sense approach to allow smoking within the narrow confines of a tobacco trade show.”
The law affects two annual trade shows, according to the authority.
A tobacco convention was last held in Las Vegas in 2008, but exhibitors and attendees were not allowed to sample tobacco products.
The Tobacco Plus Expo and the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America conventions held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center combined for 27,000 attendees and a $41 million economic impact over the last six years, according to the authority.
Tom McCoy, director of government affairs for the Nevada chapter of the American Cancer Society, did not return inquiries for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The Cancer Society’s lawsuit, filed Dec. 9, on the eve of the measure’s enactment, said a similar stand-alone bill did not make it out of committee early last session.
Dec. 8 marked the three-year anniversary of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act. It was passed by voters as an initiative and could not be amended for three years.
The state attorney general’s office did not return a call for comment. Contact reporter Arnold M. Knightly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893.
Business Press reporter Valerie Miller contributed to this report.