Monday, March 11, 2013

Workplace Smoking Ban Legislation Filed

UPDATE: Check out the Austin American-Statesman's editorial supporting a smoke-free workplace law.

To protect Texas workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke, Rep. Myra Crownover (R-Denton) filed legislation banning smoking in most workplaces and public spaces. Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) filed a companion bill in the Senate.

“A person should not have to choose between her health and her job,” Representative Crownover told a crowd of legislative staff, media, and health advocates last month at the Texas Public Health Coalition’s (TPHC’s) legislative priorities meeting. TPHC outlined several ways legislators can save lives and save money this session, including reducing the number of tobacco-related deaths. Both Representative Crownover and Senator Ellis have long been advocates for a smoke-free workplace law in Texas.

Every year in Texas, 4,300 nonsmokers die from exposure to secondhand smoke, according to the Travis County Health and Human Services Department. Eliminating cigarette smoke in workplaces aims to reduce this number. A 2011 study found a smoke-free workplace law would save Texas $404 million biennially in health care and productivity costs.

“A pregnant mother who needs to put food on the table should not be forced to be around cigarette smoke for 40 hours a week just in order to keep a roof over her head,” said Representative Crownover.

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