House Shutting Down Smoking Rooms

Posted April 2, 2009 at 3:56pm

The House Administration Committee recently approved plans to get rid of smoking rooms in the House office buildings.

Kyle Anderson, spokesman for House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.), said in an e-mail that the committee came to the decision “after much consideration.— But he said officials haven’t yet come up with a timeline.

“We are currently reviewing options to accommodate smoking staff and will develop a transitional strategy that works to address their needs,— he said.

A staffer familiar with the deliberations said Members and House officials have long considered removing the rooms. Most employees don’t use them, the staffer said, and they take up much-needed space.

In Longworth, smokers are forced into a small room in the cafeteria. In Cannon, they can retire to a room in the basement, across from the Cannon Carryout.

With those rooms soon gone, smokers will be hard-pressed to find a place to light up indoors.

Members are allowed to smoke in their own offices, but many choose to enact their own smoking ban on staff. And two years ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) banned smoking in the Speaker’s Lobby, where Members once relaxed with a cigar or cigarette between votes.