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News Summary

Pa. lawmakers hinder effort to snuff out public smoking

Publication Date: 9/21/2007
  • Author:Lynn Saternow
  • Publication:The Herald (Sharon, PA)

When I visit my son in Florida, it's so enjoyable that all public areas have no smoking. Even Ohio was progressive enough to pass laws banning smoking in public places.

However, once again Pennsylvania is behind the times. For some reason, our state representatives and senators have yet to find common ground on the smoking issue. How much lobbying money are they getting from Big Tobacco anyhow?

The Senate did approve one bill which was sent to the House, but the bill passed there was not acceptable to the Senate so we still have no law. Go figure.

I had an interesting discussion with state Rep. Mark Longietti on the subject. Mark voted against the House bill because he said he knew it wouldn’t pass if sent back to the Senate. He said he was in favor of another that was only slightly weaker, but had a chance of passing.

"It would have been better to get 90 percent of what we want on non-smoking, than to get nothing,"he said.

While he's right that it would be better than nothing, it should be pretty simple: Ban smoking in all public places. Other states have done it and it works fine. And since the majority of people oppose smoking, the next election it should be pretty easy to vote out every representative and senator who doesn't approve the ban.