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News Summary

Smoking ban gains momentum

Publication Date: 3/8/2007
  • Author:Bud Kennedy
  • Publication:Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Fred's might be only one puff ahead of state law. In a sudden moment of clarity, the Texas Restaurant Association has changed sides and now supports Denton and Houston lawmakers' bills to ban smoking statewide.

If Denton Republican Myra Crownover's bill becomes law, smoking will be banned in every enclosed restaurant, bar, workplace and public place -- everywhere indoors except private homes or rented rooms...

The 100-plus directors of the restaurant association voted unanimously Feb. 26 to change their position and support a smoking ban. Their lobbyists will team up with advocates from medical and health agencies to support a revised version of bills sponsored by Crownover and state Sen. Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat, Garey said.

Crownover said she has always heard that smoking is a matter of individual liberty or business preference, but "you don't have individual liberty to negatively affect someone else's health."

The danger of secondhand smoke is now "crystal clear," she said by phone from Austin. "This is not a bill telling anyone where to smoke. This bill says that you can't negatively affect employees by smoking in an enclosed workplace."

In other words, she's not punishing smokers. She's sticking up for the working people of Texas.