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News Summary

A smoke-free Texas?

Publication Date: 2007-01-18
  • Author:Corrie MacLaggan
  • Publication:Austin American-Statesman

No smoking would be allowed inside public buildings in Texas — including restaurants, bars and workplaces — if a legislative proposal is approved to make the Lone Star State one of 18 states with sweeping bans on smoking.

"It is a public health crisis and a very expensive one," said state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, who is spearheading the proposal. He said he plans to file a bill at the end of the month and that he will be joined at that time by a coalition of anti-smoking groups as he unveils details...

The proposed state law would override Austin's slightly less strict citywide smoking ban. The city ordinance exempts bingo halls and fraternal organizations and allows smoking until 2012 in 10 restaurants that have installed filtration systems under the existing ordinance.

Austin and El Paso are among some 50 Texas cities that already have comprehensive no-smoking ordinances, and Houston just passed one. Dallas has one that exempts bars.

Several Central Texas cities, including Round Rock, Leander, Georgetown, Rollingwood, West Lake Hills and New Braunfels, also have significant smoke-free ordinances...

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