Protect Local Control

Ensuring Community Rights
To Pass Smokefree Ordinances

News Summary

OUR VIEW: Lawmakers must be put on record as to whether they favor or oppose common-sense restrictions on tobacco use

Publication Date: 2010-02-22
  • Author:Editorial board
  • Publication:Birmingham News

For more than a decade, state Sen. Vivian Figures has pushed hard for an anti-smoking policy for Alabama. Year after year, Figures has sponsored a bill to regulate smoking statewide; year after year, one chamber or the other in the Legislature has ripped apart or killed her bill.

It's not as if Alabama is plowing new ground on tobacco restrictions, either. Thirty-four states, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, already have enacted smoke-free laws. Our lawmakers, though, stand with the few that refuse to put protecting the health of their constituents first.

Unlike the previous 11 legislative sessions, Figures hasn't filed a smoking regulation bill this year, and more than a third of the session is gone. Figures says she's going to sponsor a bill for the 12th year.

Let's hope when she puts it out there, it's as tough as it can be. That's what the Tobacco Free Alabama coalition wants to see, and that's what Alabama workers and residents need to protect them from the tobacco health risks and, especially, from secondhand smoke...

Any credible bill must prohibit smoking in restaurants, bars and workplaces, and shouldn't allow exceptions. Independent studies show no negative economic impact from prohibiting smoking in businesses. But under current law, many servers, people who bus tables and bartenders have no choice but to breathe other people's deadly exhales because the state won't take a stand.