U.S. strippers rally against smoking ban in New Jersey

Several hundred people joined a handful of exotic dancers in front of the New Jersey Statehouse on Thursday to protest the U.S. state's new indoor &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/18/90/360/15998_smoking.html' target=_blank>smoking ban.

Some of the 20 strippers _ who were clothed for the protest _ said the ban will result in lost clients and less money in their pockets.

"It's going to murder our business," said Dominique Hernandez, 24. "A lot of people want to get off of work, have a drink and a smoke and watch some pretty girls. There's nothing wrong with that."

A loudspeaker blared typical strip bar tunes such as "You Can Leave Your Hat On" and "Girls, Girls, Girls," but _ to the disappointment of some in the crowd _ the strippers displayed nothing more risque than their midriffs. Some people carried signs that read "Defy Anti-Smoking Nazis" and "Tobacco Control is Out of Control."

"We're standing up for the average Jersey citizen who on their own would never be heard," said Craig Carton, one of the radio disc jockeys on a local station who organized the rally.

Many onlookers said they were just passing on their way to their offices, but others said they came to protest the smoking ban as a violation of their rights.

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