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News Summary

Smoking lounges going the way of the dodo

Publication Date: 2009-04-24
  • Author:Terri Hallenbeck
  • Publication:Burlington Free Press

What the Colchester cable manufacturer did voluntarily could soon be required throughout Vermont at the dwindling number of companies with indoor smoking areas. Legislation that would ban indoor smoking lounges -- shutting down smokers' last refuge in the workplace -- is likely headed for law.

Today, the House passed a bill that cleared the Senate earlier this year. Gov. Jim Douglas said of the bill, "I guess I'm amenable to that."

"There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke," said Rep. Patsy French, D-Randolph, told fellow House members. "Passing smoke-free workplace legislation saves lives and prevents serious illness while saving Vermont money."

Many employers locked the door on smoking lounges years ago. Just 6 percent of respondents to a 2008 tobacco survey said someone had been smoking in their area of the workplace in the last week. In the same survey, 95 percent said smoking should not be allowed indoors at work and 90 of smokers surveyed agreed.