Protect Local Control

Ensuring Community Rights
To Pass Smokefree Ordinances
 

News Summary

Weakened legislation won't protect community

Publication Date: 2007-05-06
  • Author:RENEE MARTIN
  • Publication:Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal

Proposed legislation, currently being touted as a statewide "smoke-free restaurant bill," does not look or smell anything like a truly comprehensive smoke-free workplace law. In fact, Senate Bill S.186 and its House companion, H.3119, reek of tobacco industry manipulation.

As recently amended, the bills allow restaurants to convert themselves into smoking establishments if they apply for a license, pay a fee and post the hours when they allow smoking. They do not prohibit smoking in bars, various other entertainment venues and numerous workplaces. The public health community opposes this legislation because it does not offer comprehensive protection against secondhand smoke, and it takes away local governments' power to set their own meaningful smoke-free laws.

The revision of these two bills is one of the tobacco industry's common dirty tricks used to pass a weak, ineffective state law and overturn local ordinances that were designed to truly protect the health of residents, workers and visitors. The legislation not only nullifies all the local smoke-free workplace ordinances that have been passed during the past year, but it also prevents local municipalities from setting their own comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws.