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News Summary

Toughen up smoking ban

Publication Date: 3/6/2012
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Citizens Voice

Pennsylvania still hasn't fully committed to protecting workers' health, nearly four years after it instituted a partial ban on smoking in public places.

In its eagerness to serve the state revenue-generating casino industry, the Legislature exempted 25 percent of casino floors from the statewide smoking ban. Remarkably, it increased that to 50 percent, depending not on the public health implications, but on the amount of revenue that casinos managed to tie to smoking.

Casinos are the highest-traffic workplaces in the state where workers continue to be involuntarily subjected to huge amounts of carcinogenic second-hand smoke. But statewide, according to the American Lung Association, 2,800 workplaces continue to be exempt from the ban, including more than 300 in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties alone.

The exemptions defy abundant scientific evidence about the serious health consequences of second-hand smoke.

State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, the Montgomery County Republican who led a 15-year struggle to adopt the smoking ban, has introduced a new bill to make it truly comprehensive. It would extend the ban to casinos and most other workplaces that have exemptions...