Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Austin American Statesman Endorses Smoke-Free Texas


The Austin American Statesman ran an editorial in today’s edition once again supporting efforts to make Texas workplaces smoke-free. You can check out the piece by clicking here. This is just another in the long line of endorsements and positive editorials from major Texas periodicals. Here’s a segment, but click on the link above for the whole piece and tell us what you think in the comments section.

An indoor smoking ban does not outlaw smoking, as opponents are fond of claiming. Furthermore, smoking indoors is not a "right" despite assertions to the contrary. And even it were, that "right" would have to be balanced against the rights of others to breathe clean air.

A growing number of Texas municipalities, including Austin, have long since adopted indoor smoking bans. San Angelo voters — among the most conservative in the state — approved an indoor smoking ban by a whopping 60 percentage points when 30 percent of the city's registered voters participated in a 2010 referendum.

So the science supports a smoking ban, and so do Texans if given a voice and a choice.

Update 06/08/2011

This morning the San Antonio Express-News followed suite with a positive editorial. They specifically mention one state Senator that lead the efforts to derail the bill during the Regular Session.:

The opposition of Sen. Deuell is tragic for public health.
Express-News Editorial Board
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

As a physician, state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, is certainly familiar with the dictum that comes from ancient Latin, “First, do no harm.” If only he would follow that dictum when the Legislature is in session.

Last month, lawmakers in Austin had an opportunity to finally pass a measure that bans smoking in most Texas bars and restaurants. More than 30 Texas cities, including San Antonio, have comprehensive smoke-free ordinances.

A statewide ban would establish uniform standards that protect the health of workers and the public. It would also bring Texas into line with 29 other states with comprehensive smoking bans. During a session marked by budget concerns, the smoking ban carried a bottom-line benefit.

According to the fiscal analysis attached to the measure, the statewide ordinance could save the state $31 million in Medicaid costs during the next biennium. Supporters of the measure claim the savings would actually be in the hundreds of millions.

Yet Deuell led efforts among House and Senate conferees to strip the smoking ban from a state spending bill. He justified his opposition by stating he had constitutional issues with a statewide law. That’s hard to fathom, especially for a family practitioner who has undoubtedly seen the health consequences of secondhand smoke.

Read the rest here: http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/editorials/article/Lege-should-pass-smoking-ban-bill-1414095.php#ixzz1OhwkCjhU



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