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Could Texas soon be smoke-free?

Publication Date: 4/22/2011
  • Author:Nastassia Tamari
  • Publication:ConnectAmarillo.com

Parts of Texas already have a smoking ban in place, could the whole state be next? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that's a possibility if state and local bans continue to be enacted at the rate they have been.

Looking around Hoffbrau steakhouse in Amarillo you'll notice something is missing, smoke. "There's just a rumor of the state going that way and (we) thought we would do it ourselves before we're told to do it," said Mike Fogiel, the owner of Hoffbrau steakhouse.

United States health officials predict that by 2020, the entire nation could be covered by smoking bans in workplaces, bars and restaurants. That's because a new report released by the CDC on Thursday said the number of states with those bans went from zero in 2000 to 26 in 2010. If that trend continues, in less than 10 years, every single state would be covered. "I don't like the idea of the government, you know, city, state, federal, whatever, at any level coming in and telling me what I can and cannot allow at my business when it's a perfectly legal activity," said Jason Barrett, Owner of The 806 Coffeehouse.

An activity that could soon have to go outdoors. "A lot my customers smoke. Right now I probably have 12-15 customers all but one of whom are in my smoking section," said Barrett. "We've had literally one person that walked out, but other than that our regulars that used to smoke are still coming in," said Fogiel.

Another 10 states have laws than ban smoking in workplaces, bars, or restaurants, but not in all three.