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Smoking violations plague Uncle Jack’s on Bell Blvd.

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It was the second time the department had cited the restaurant in a week's time. The first inspection was conducted on May 13. The restaurant was also hit with smoking violations in September.

According to the department, on both recent occasions the "violations observed included ashtrays present and failure of proprietor to make a good faith effort to inform person(s) to stop smoking."

There is no limit on the number of violations the restaurant can receive.

"We'll keep citing them for it," a department spokeswoman said. The fine for each violation can range from $200 to $2,000.

Uncle Jack's, an upscale spot popular with bigwigs such as former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, draws customers in part because of its legendary cigar collection.

The restaurant's Web site says "our focus is simple: the finest foods, the highest quality cigars..." And a posted review from Cigar Aficionado magazine claims that the restaurant has "40 personalized humidors available, each holding 200 cigars."

Last fall, owner Willie Degel told the TimesLedger that his restaurant would follow the anti-smoking laws.

"We have no smoking now," he told the paper in September after receiving the first set of violations. "We're completely compliant with their rules and laws."

At the time, Degel also said his restaurant had filed an application to operate as a tobacco bar, but the Department of Health had no record of such, which Degel called "bureaucratic ridiculousness."

By the time the first inspection took place earlier this month, the department acknowledged that his application was pending review.

Jonathan Cheban, Degel's spokesman, said the owner would only comment that the restaurant has been "preapproved and is now waiting for the certificate" to operate as a tobacco bar.

The Department of Health said "smoking is not permitted while applications are being reviewed." Officials could not give a time frame on when a decision would be made on Degel's application.

Degel recently opened another Uncle Jack's in Manhattan on Ninth Avenue near 34th Street.

Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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