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HB670
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Relating to the elimination of smoking in certain workplaces and public places; providing penalties. Read & Follow the Bill
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the debate: HB670
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Comments from Myra Crownover

House Bill 670 filed by Rep. Myra Crownover proposes a comprehensive smoke-free law for Texas. This legislation would give all Texans protection from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure in workplaces statewide. This bill is a major step forward in addressing the serious dangers of secondhand smoke exposure and ensuring protection for all Texans in the workplace. Evidence shows that a comprehensive ban will provide not only save lives but provide significant healthcare savings for all Texans. All Texans deserve the right to breathe clean indoor air.

Contributor Comments
Melody
(Travis County) May 12, 2011, 8:41 pm report abuse
Second-hand smoke kills. The legislation saves money. Now is the time for Texas to become smoke-free for the benefit of all those who call Texas home; those concerned about, or who benefit from, health-care progress; fiscal responsibility; or hopefully both.
crae
(Travis County) May 10, 2011, 3:27 pm report abuse
I understand where business owners are coming from regarding this issue. However, if we look at a smoke-free indoor workplace law from a health perspective and not from a “they’re taking away my rights” perspective, we’ll see that this proposed law is no different than the state banning lead in paint (for use in your private business or home) or asbestos in construction (for use in your private business or home). We have laws about drinking and driving. People can drink but when their actions can and do affect others, their rights end where others rights to live begin. Smokers can smoke, but their habit can and does kill others. We don’t allow smoking in planes, in hospitals, in theatres, etc. All these laws are for the health benefits of Texans. This law is necessary and will create a healthier Texas.
ShusGreaterJoy
(Williamson County) May 10, 2011, 1:21 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
We need to even the playing field for businesses AND protect the rights and health of all Texans by passing this legislation. There is no need for the majority to suffer from the minority.
Backmic Update
(Travis County) February 25, 2011, 11:27 am report abuse
Introduced and referred to committee on House Public Health (2/21/11)
DwayneHorner
(Dallas County) February 15, 2011, 11:45 am Thumbs Up report abuse
@2cuteByhalf we also regulate how high your fence can be, what kind of brick you can have for a structure, etc. on a city level and we have all kinds of codes/regulations on a state level. When the public is involved in use, we have oversight all the time. So when the public is allowed to use a road, we have a right to determine the speed. When the public uses a facility, we have a right to determine if toxic poisons can be spewed into the air that is known to be cancer causing.
( County) February 11, 2011, 11:26 am Thumbs Down report abuse
@DwayneHorner, you said "Remember, we legislate speed limits because it affects public health." Those are public roads not private establishments.
DwayneHorner
(Dallas County) February 2, 2011, 10:37 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
While our freedoms are not based on a popularity contest, our elections are certainly based upon the views of the voters and it is clear the voters in Texas prefer to have a smoke free workplace. In fact, within the poll 2cuteByhalf, Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters say they would be more likely to vote for a state legislator who supported a comprehensive smokefree law. We expect our elected representatives to support legislation we want to see passed. I am in set B when it comes to believing abortion should not be legal and should not have been overturned by the Supreme Court. Remember, we legislate speed limits because it affects public health.
( County) February 2, 2011, 10:01 am Thumbs Down report abuse
Our freedoms are not based on popularity contest. Your own link says it all, "76 percent believe the right of employees and customers to breathe clean air in restaurants and bars is more important than the right of smokers to smoke and businesses owners to allow smoking." This is a situation where Set A of society has decided their rights are more important than Set B's rights, so they are just going to take Set B's rights. Beautiful, just wait until you are Set B.
DwayneHorner
(Dallas County) February 2, 2011, 7:46 am Thumbs Up report abuse
Do I have a choice to get benzine blown into me? Do I have a choice to have lead and nickel blown into me? Do I have a choice to have cyanide blown into me? These are all cancer causing chemicals that come from second hand smoke. My being pro-life doesn't stop at the birth of a baby, I am pro-life when it comes to keeping people alive and there is every bit of evidence that we can save lives (as WILLisims pointed out, 24,000 annually) here in Texas. And this isn't a grab against liberty, because 70% of Texans are for this legislation - getting broad support from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. My father suffered from lung cancer and his years of smoking exhasberated it in his final days. Let's not see others suffer.
WILLisms
(Travis County) February 1, 2011, 11:15 am Thumbs Up report abuse
70% of Texans support this bill, including 67% of Republicans. 90% agree that all workers should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace: http://smokefreetexas.org/releases/24-70-percent-of-texas-voters-support-law-making-bars-restaurants-and-other-workplaces-smoke-free
AER
(Travis County) January 31, 2011, 6:57 am Thumbs Up report abuse
This legislation will provide clean indoor air to employees all over Texas. Many cities in Texas have already passed smoke-free workplace policies, but this will provide protection for ALL Texans!!
RunnerChica
(Travis County) January 30, 2011, 9:40 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
I love the fact that, in Austin, I can enjoy my time with friends in restaurants and bars that are smoke-free. I support clean indoor air for all of Texas.
ShusGreaterJoy
(Williamson County) January 29, 2011, 9:37 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
Thank you for caring about the health of Texans! I feel like have stepped back into the dark ages when I travel to cities where smoking is still allowed in public places. I think this is a very intelligent piece of public policy that will save lives and reduce growing health care costs. And I know personally that I spend more time and money in places that are smoke free.
Galveston Gal
(Harris County) January 29, 2011, 11:01 am Thumbs Up report abuse
I completely support this legislation! Every respected medical expert in the country concurs that there is NO safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. Even BRIEF exposure leads to chronic, serious medical issues. This legislation won't cost a cent to implement, and will save taxpayers millions of dollars in health care costs in the future. Bottom line: employers do NOT have the right to place their employees at risk unnecessarily.
Ladybug0627
(Kaufman County) January 28, 2011, 10:17 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
This is NOT a property rights issue, it is a public health issue. Government already has the right to tell farmers they can't use DDT on their crops, they tell homeowners they can't use lead based paint in their homes, they tell us we have to wear seat belts in our own cars. Regulations say that business owners have to provide handicapped accessible bathrooms and must maintain edible products at certain temperatures, wash dishes with measurable levels of germicide, and workers in any other profession must be provided with protective equipment when working in a hazardous environment. People working with asbestos or other hazardous don't have the "option" of using protective gear - it is REQUIRED. The government ensures a safe environment. Cigarette smoke is proven to be harmful but they don't pass out gas masks when you enter the establishment. Smoking in public needs to be eliminated. PERIOD.
Stevie
(Travis County) January 28, 2011, 7:48 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
I don''t get out too much, but I do recall going out to a bar with some friends about two years ago in Austin. We had a great time and it middle of having a few beers I thought "this is the best time I've had in a bar . . . wait nobody in smoking in here." It was a godsend. Now I'm no nanny stater, probably more conservative than most who post here, but secondhand smoke is deadly -- the less I see the better. Your freedom can't reduce my life expectancy. I voted for this bill.
SAConservative
(Bexar County) January 28, 2011, 4:40 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
I love the idea. For too long, some conservatives have felt a need to defend smokers rights and ignore the rights of non-smokers. If we knew how toxic the smoke from cigs was when they first came out, we would have banned them from all indoor places at the start. @alphadog, thanks for the links and I agree totally with your take on our tax dollars paying healthcare costs for smokers and the non-smokers they harm.
AlphaDog
(Travis County) January 28, 2011, 4:30 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
And please stop with the nanny-state comparisons: There is none. This law does not say you can't smoke. It says you can't harm others while doing it. Go ahead and smoke. Eat your big Mac's. Salt your food excessively. Eat all the fatty foods you want. Just don't ask me to pay your medical bills (Obama et al) and don't force me to eat your smoke or your fatty food.
AlphaDog
(Travis County) January 28, 2011, 4:16 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
Regarding “legal products.” I don’t want to ban smoking if it is only impacting the individual that is doing it. But I am tired of smokers and their enablers asking me to pay for their "right" to smoke. I am fine if they want to kill themselves -- but don't ask me to pay my hard earned tax dollars for their medical bills and the medical bills of those they are killing with their second had smoke. Here’s a weekend project for you enables. Go here and read these studies and let’s visit on Monday. (There will be a quiz, so be sure to actually read the materials. ;) http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/tobaccosmoke/report/index.html http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/report/index.html http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/smokeexposure/report/fullreport.pdf http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/tobaccosmoke/report/executivesummary.pdf And one more thing, I own a gun. It's legal for me to to own it. But what happens if I take that legal product and start firing it into the air: Others are endangered and there ought t
maximus2011
(Dallas County) January 28, 2011, 3:52 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
@mjsamuelson. This isn't a battle of a legal or illegal substance. This protecting the public health from something that actually causes cancer. It causes cancer to the person smoking and the person breathing in that smoke. The bill is no where near a "ban". Smokers are free to do what they want on private property, but not public. Public areas can be regulated by the elected government and ultimately the State government to protect the public health.
crharrison
(Travis County) January 28, 2011, 3:42 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
I am from Texas but I lived up North for several years where there are statewide smoke-free laws. When I returned to the Lone Star State, I remembered that Texas isn't smoke free! We need a statewide smoke-free law! Yes, there are cities throughout the state that have city ordinances but the majority do not and the citizens in those cities and in all the areas of Texas that can never be under a city ordinance deserve to be able to go to a restaurant or bar and breathe clean air! The employees deserve it too. This is a health issue. We don't allow lead in paint, asbestos in buildings, why should we allow cancer-causing fumes? This law is not about taking away someone's right to smoke, it's giving someone the right to breathe clean air!
eksTX
(Travis County) January 28, 2011, 3:41 pm report abuse
The rights of employees and customers to breathe clean indoor air in restaurants and bars is FAR more important than the rights of smokers to smoke!! Everyone should have the right to breathe clean indoor air in their workplace!
mjsamuelson
(Travis County) January 28, 2011, 3:28 pm Thumbs Down report abuse
Private property rights, personal responsibility, these are important arguments on this issue. But what gets me the most is that this legislation is an attempt to ban a legal substance from public property. As the daughter of two former smokers, I know first-hand what secondhand smoke can do - but selling, purchasing, and smoking cigarettes is legal. Government is overstepping its bounds to ban a legal activity.
GOPDosXX
(Travis County) January 28, 2011, 3:22 pm Thumbs Down report abuse
This bill will die as it has in the two previous sessions because it is ANTI- property rights. I don't want my state government in the business of deciding what to "Ban" and "not ban". As a conservative, local control. What is next, transfats?
kelleysavage
(Kerr County) January 28, 2011, 3:20 pm Thumbs Down report abuse
I THOUGHT I LIVED IN TEXAS>>>>NOT CALIFORNIA
WILLisms
(Travis County) January 28, 2011, 2:45 pm Thumbs Up report abuse
Exactly. Leave us alone with your cancer-causing smoke.
TX Watcher
(Harris County) January 28, 2011, 2:14 pm Thumbs Down report abuse
WILLisms: dont go to places that allow smoking. owners will make the decission that allows the most freedom. get a life, next you will want bike racks placed at every public place.
TX Watcher
(Harris County) January 28, 2011, 2:13 pm Thumbs Down report abuse
This is Obama Lite. can we please make a few decissions on our own. this is nanny state. It must be stopped, grow up and live your own life dont make the rest of us make the tough calls for you. leave us alone.
SmallTownTexan
(Colorado County) January 28, 2011, 1:39 pm report abuse
I always lean on the side of less government but I really hope this law passes this year. It does not seem to hurt the businesses in cities with no smoking laws. The rural areas are the ones that will really benefit from this new law. It is so pleasant to go out in the city and not be forced to smell smoke. I look forward to the day we can go out in our own small community and not be forced to put up with the smoke.
( County) January 28, 2011, 11:41 am Thumbs Down report abuse
@willisms, it only goes into your lungs if you choose to be where people are smoking. The only liberties threatened here are your liberty to visit an establishment that allows you to smoke while having a drink and the business owners liberty to allow a legal activity to happen in their private establishment. @run2life, the issue is not the smoker's right to smoke, it's the business owners right to allow a legal activity to happen in their private establishment.
DrT
(Cooke County) January 28, 2011, 10:05 am report abuse
Although a native Texan I have lived in 2 states with comprehensive no smoking laws. One passed while I was in residence. Business owners were skeptical before it was passed but within a year restaurant and bar sales showed no difference and in some areas an increase in sales. Why? Non smokers tend to be higher income and have more discretionary income. Most were able to provide patio seating for smokers and non smokers increased the numbers of times they went out per week. Just last week I overheard a conversation with several people saying they just refuse to go to places that allow smoking. Similarly I and my husband now do the same. I would rather stay home than breathe the Smoke filled air and smell like an ash tray. Moreover it would save millions in health care premiums for state agencies alone. I personally care as little about the individual rights of the smoker or Johnny's business as he/she does about mine apparently. But I do care about the larger picture. Sometimes decisions have to be made ba
run2life
(Midland County) January 28, 2011, 9:49 am Thumbs Up report abuse
Business owners would not be allowed to stay open if the sewer was over flowing onto the floor, what about the quality of air?. If the smoke filled air was outside of the business it would be hazardous to breathe according to the EPA.
run2life
(Midland County) January 28, 2011, 9:44 am Thumbs Up report abuse
Please do not allow the minority of people (smokers in Texas) to control the majority of people (non-smokers in Texas). If we live in a Democracy then lets put it to a vote and go with the majority. (non-smokers) Also- do not let the tobacco industry influence this decision through false information, ie "It will hurt the hospitality industry", "people have the right to smoke". These are false ideas planted by an industry that has to replace 400,000 of its customers annually because they sell a product, which when used as directed, kills individuals and drives up health care cost for taxpayers. A persons "right to smoke" should not supersede the publics right to breathe clean air...
WILLisms
(Travis County) January 28, 2011, 9:44 am Thumbs Up report abuse
Smoking stops being your personal vice and starts becoming a threat to my liberty when your smoke goes into my lungs.
( County) January 28, 2011, 9:42 am Thumbs Down report abuse
Kmac, that's a weak argument. Most safety regulations like you mentioned are in place because the consumer cannot reasonable be expected to know the risk at an establishment that doesn't have a sprinkler system, dirty kitchen, etc. A consumer knows the risk of a smoking establishment vs. a non-smoking establishment. They have a choice or at least they use to. You're all for choice when it comes to abortions but when comes to business owners you know best right?
( County) January 28, 2011, 9:38 am Thumbs Down report abuse
Your sympathetic to liberty argument? This is similar to NIMBY issues. I'm fine with banning other people's vices, just don't ban mine.
WILLisms
(Travis County) January 28, 2011, 9:19 am Thumbs Up report abuse
This bill has been analyzed and would save $30 million in health care costs to the state of Texas over the next two years, and much more beyond that. In our current budget crunch, that's a pretty obvious decision. While I am sympathetic to the liberty arguments on this, It's not about telling people what they can or can't do, it's about protecting the individual rights of non-smokers. Cigarette smoke is such a unique and direct threat to the health of people who don't smoke, and smoke free laws in cities and other states have been so successful, that it just makes total sense to do this and do it now.
K Mac
(Williamson County) January 28, 2011, 9:02 am Thumbs Up report abuse
I think businesses should have the right to do whatever they want. Just think how much money they could save if the government didnt force them to have fire exits, sprinkler systems, or maximum occupancy limits. All just to save a few lives. Its time for the nanny state to stop interfering in our lives, even if it means a few thousand innocent people die each year. Except for abortion... in that case big government is just fine.
( County) January 28, 2011, 8:20 am Thumbs Down report abuse
I look forward to the day when I can allow legal activities to take place in my private business without nanny staters stepping in and telling me how to run my business.
Redwine
(Fort Bend County) January 24, 2011, 10:38 am Thumbs Up report abuse
I live outside Houston in Sugar Land. Comprehensive smoking ordinances are spotty in outlying communities. I look forward to the day when my family can plan to dine at any nearby restaurant without being exposed to secondhand smoke. When we encounter smoking in restaurants now, we simply have to leave. Studies also show that comprehensive smoking legislation deters youth from starting to smoke. As a mother, I strongly support this legislation.
Texan4life
(Travis County) January 20, 2011, 8:00 am report abuse
I have was born and raised in Texas, and ever since I was a child, smoking was never a part of my household or social life. Knowing the side effects of smoking and being educated early in my life about the side-effects of smoke, I made conscience decisions not to smoke and avoid being around smoking environments. I believe that the individuals who have made the effort to be smoke-free, should not have to make decisions on where to work and which restaurant to go to based on if there is a smoke-free policy. If the entire state enforces a smoke-free policy, non-smokers will have a lower rate of second hand smoke exposure and healthcare costs for companies will decline. This policy would also result in fewer deaths caused by second hand smoke and for those who live smoke free lifestyles, they will not have to reap the consequences of someone else's decision to smoke.
( County) January 19, 2011, 9:25 am Thumbs Down report abuse
@Willisms - While you make a valid argument about an individual's right to smoke but not harm others, you failed to address the rights of the property owners. The interesting thing is you selectively choose when to apply the harm principle. "no one should be forcibly prevented from acting in any way he chooses provided his acts are not invasive of the free acts of others." You are forcibly preventing business owners from acting in a way they choose, even though allowing smoking in their establishments is not invasive of the free acts of others.
Melinda
(Harris County) January 17, 2011, 10:53 am report abuse
I live in the Houston area where all public places inside the city are smoke-free, but for those who live or work outside the city limits there is no law. It is time that our whole state has a statewide law that protects me and all other Texans from breathing toxic air when I go to a public place to eat or drink! I was in Colorado for the weekend and everywhere in the whole state is smoke-free. It was so fabulous to go out to a bar or restaurant in the small town we were staying and not have to suffer from all the smoke. Please pass this law this year.
AlphaDog
(Travis County) January 17, 2011, 10:34 am Thumbs Up report abuse
As a small business owner I know well about the burden of government regulation. That said, I believe that the government has a responsibility to assure businesses provide as safe as possible environment for their employees and customers. When you look at the well-documented significant health risks of secondhand smoke and the fact that cigarettes would never have been allowed to be smoked indoors if we knew how toxic they were when they first came on the scene, it is an appropriate role for government to require smoke-free workplaces if a businesses owner chooses not to do so.
WILLisms
(Travis County) January 17, 2011, 9:50 am Thumbs Up report abuse
While the decision to smoke is an individual one, the right not to be harmed by the second-hand smoke of others is vital. Each year, more Texans (about 24,000) die from smoking-attributed illnesses than the deaths statewide from AIDS, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, car accidents, fire, and murder — combined. Smoke-free workplace laws in other states have been shown to have an immediate impact on these figures, saving lives and saving the state many, many millions of dollars in health care costs. There is a reason 2/3 or more of Texans in every single political and ideological group support a comprehensive smoke-free law in Texas. There's a reason the Texas Restaurant Association and restaurant-owning legislators supported this the last go-around. There's a reason the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute came out in favor of this the last go-around. There's a reason why hundreds of self-identified libertarians, TEA Party supporters, and members of groups like AFP-Texas, Empower Texans, and YCT are joi
 
 
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