THE HILL IS RETAKEN BY SMOKERS

When Democrats ran the house, the health and environment subcommittee office was a no-smoking preserve ruled by anti- tobacco crusader Representative Henry Waxman. Today the subcommittee is part of the domain of Republican Thomas Bliley Jr., a pipe lover who hails from the tobacco state of Virginia. Smoking is now accepted in the old subcommittee room, and congressional aides gleefully flick their ashes into a glass ashtray placed atop Waxman's picture.

Capitol Hill is the last best public place in America for smokers, a refuge where lighting up is countenanced as both a venerable tradition and an up-to-the-minute political statement about...

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