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News Summary

Naifeh opposes smoking ban

Publication Date: 2007-01-04
  • Author:Tom Humphrey
  • Publication:Knoxville News Sentinel
House speaker says it should be up to businesses to decide whether to forbid tobacco

Despite reports of growing support for a ban on smoking in workplaces, House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh said Wednesday he opposes the idea and believes most other legislators feel the same way...

The Legislature last year enacted a ban on smoking in state-owned buildings and the Campaign for a Healthy and Responsible Tennessee, a coalition of health-oriented groups, plans to push this year for passage of a ban covering all workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

Naifeh said that is too much state interference in business decisions.

"I think a lot of folks (in the Legislature) have a pro-business attitude," Naifeh said.

"If a business owner doesn't mind (smoking), then they can allow smoking. If they want to post their place, they can stop smoking," he said. "I think that's where the decision needs to be made."

Said Naifeh, "I know that's not the answer a lot of folks want, but that's the way it is."

A recent poll sponsored by the American Cancer Society, a member of the CHART coalition, indicated that 71 percent of Tennesseans believe "all workplaces should be protected against second-hand smoke," said Chastity Mitchell, lobbyist for CHART.