When it comes to smoking bans in public places, you had better not mess with Texas—or the powerful tobacco companies. According to a May 20 article in the Austin American-Statesman, a proposal to ban smoking in indoor workplaces in Texas is dead due to a lack of support in that state's Senate. The authors of the bill to ban indoor smoking were trying to push Texas to join the 27 other states that have passed comprehensive bans. The authors of the bill were trying to protect the many workers who are exposed to secondhand smoke each year. In the United States, 53,000 people die each year from secondhand smoke. You can bet a lot of those people are (or maybe "were" is the better word) in Texas. (See article on third-hand smoke.)
The proposal to ban smoking had the tobacco industry shaking in its boots. According to the Dallas Morning News, tobacco companies hired 40 lobbyists to fight the ban. It is so nice to know that public health is such a high priority for big tobacco.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, said it should be up to individual businesses to set smoking policies and that most people who are exposed to secondhand smoke are exposed in the home. (As if that is supposed to be a good thing?) Duell, who is a physician (a physician!!!), said he does not think people are getting exposed at the workplace. Maybe this guy should get out a little more often?
The House representatives who proposed the bill plan to keep fighting. Here's hoping they win the battle against stupidity—and the tobacco lobbyists.