Smoking laws should be a priority, here and statewide
Publication Date: 1/28/2015
- Publication:The Daily Review
...Because Pennsylvania state policy is not as aggressive as that in states with lower costs, the state Legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf have an opportunity to close the gap, improving public health and, therefore, the economy.
They should eliminate special-interest exceptions that lawmakers and previous administrations have granted, and implement a comprehensive ban on smoking in all public places. Exceptions now in casinos and certain bars subject employees to those businesses of large amounts of second-hand smoke. There's been some local debate lately with residents complaining about those exceptions in some bars and the local veteran's clubs here in Bradford County. They should also end Pennsylvania's status as the only state not to tax cigars, using the additional revenue to fund smoking education and cessation programs.
And, faced with a major budget deficit, the governor and Legislature should commit to not redirecting any funds from the settlement with Big Tobacco that is now committed to cessation and education programs.
Fewer smokers mean a healthier and more productive commonwealth. The government should make it a priority.