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Secondhand smoke: Will state blow it again?

Publication Date: 2005-03-16
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:THE NEWS TRIBUNE
If there were a prize for the most mistitled legislation in Olympia, it would have to go this year to Senate Bill 5909.

This measure is supposedly about “the regulation of indoor smoking for the purpose of protecting minors and public health.” What it’s really about is protecting cigarette-friendly businesses from the fast-growing movement to protect workers from secondhand smoke.

In the case of SB 5909, “protecting minors” is an attempt to change the subject. When it comes to restaurants, lounges, taverns, bowling alleys and the like, secondhand smoke is chiefly a workplace safety issue; pediatric concerns come in a distant second...

A competing measure, House Bill 2038, offers a true, comprehensive indoor smoke ban covering all workplaces under state jurisdiction. But HB 2038 may well fall prey to the same pro-tobacco forces that have blocked such a ban in Olympia for years.