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News Summary

Greenleaf plans bill to toughen smoke ban

Publication Date: 12/30/2008
  • Author:Amy Worden
  • Publication:Philadelphia Inquirer

Three months after the state smoking ban went into effect, its leading champion is seeking to snuff out exemptions that have allowed smokers to continue lighting up at hundreds of establishments.

Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R., Bucks) author of the Clean Indoor Air Act, said he planned to introduce a bill next week to close the loopholes allowing smoking at casinos, bars and private clubs.

"The scientific evidence is irrefutable," Greenleaf said. "It's not just primary smoke, it's secondary smoke that is injuring and killing people."

The new law, the subject of 15 years of debate in the legislature, makes it illegal to smoke in 95 percent of all workplace and public areas. Exceptions include drinking establishments with less than 20 percent food sales and portions of casinos.

Greenleaf's bill would eliminate those exceptions, ban smoking at outdoor cafes, and allow all municipalities to pass even tougher bans, as Philadelphia has done.

Health-advocacy groups hailed the proposal as a way to dramatically reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.