HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A tough new ban on smoking in the workplace in Connecticut has won broad approval in its first test in the legislature.

The Public Health Committee voted 19-9 Monday to approve legislation banning smoking in workplaces with fewer than five employees, which is the current limit. An employer may still designate smoking rooms.

The legislation includes self-employed workers.

Opposition to the bill came entirely from Republicans, including Sen. Rob Kane who said state government is trying to expand its reach and interfering in the lives of Connecticut residents.

Supporters say the legislation protects workers against second-hand smoke by closing a loophole allowing employees to light up in workplaces with five or more employees.

A similar bill failed last year in the General Assembly.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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