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News Summary

Texas may get indoor smoking ban

Publication Date: 5/17/2011
  • Author:Jim Swift
  • Publication:KXAN-TV36

Texas lawmakers have been trying to pass a statewide indoor smoking ban since 2007. This year could be the year it happens.

"We lose 49,000 Americans a year to heart disease and stroke because of secondhand smoke," said Lake Dallas Republican State Representative Myra Crownover . "We lose 400,000 Americans a year to direct smoking. This is outrageous."

Crownover's bill would add requirements for smoke free environments to licenses issued to restaurants and bars by health departments and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission .

"That deals with things like keeping milk at the right temperature, keeping the facilities clean, having people wash their hands," Crownover said, "and it makes no sense that you would go into a restaurant or a bar expecting a clean facility and breathe arsenic, benzene and formaldehyde."

The legislation would make Texas the first state in the South to enact an indoor smoking ban that applies not only to bars and restaurants, but to offices and other indoor public areas, as well. That does not necessarily make the state a leader, though.

"Twenty-nine states have already gone smoke-free," said James Gray, the Director of Legislative and Government Affairs for Smoke Free Texas . "In Texas, 35 communities have already gone smoke-free: Dallas, Houston, Austin and others. Where that positions us is to know exactly what will happen."