Thursday, April 30, 2009

Will Texas Soon Become Smoke Free?

You would be hard-pressed to find a person who would be willing to assert that smoking cigarettes is good for your health, at least no one who would be taken seriously. The surgeon general's warning that is found on every pack does not state, "The federal government recommends that you smoke five to seven cigarettes a day to better your quality of life." However, with the fact that smoking is bad for your health uniformly agreed upon, what exactly is the role of the U.S. government to deter the habit and prevent others from experiencing the second-hand side effects? Should its involvement extend into private businesses and public parks? Some legislators in Texas believe so.

Proposals currently in the committee stage, sponsored by Representative Myra Crownover (R-Denton) in the House and Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) in the Senate, would ban smoking in Texas with some exceptions, including private residences, sections of nursing homes, and some clubs. Before reaching the full body for a vote, this measure must clear the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the House State Affairs Committee. The two elected officials who head these committees are not in a hurry to proceed with the necessary discussion, one due to a belief that focus should be kept on bills more likely to pass through the legislature and the other out of a dislike for the idea of a ban.

Supporters of the measure believe that such a ban is important to protect people from the dangers of second-hand smoke. Opponents argue that such a sweeping restriction would be a violation of personal liberty. What do you think? I invite your comments on this blog.

If the smoking ban eventually does take effect in Texas, businesses will be greatly affected. If you are a business owner, you will need to know that you are following the statute's details. Also, if you run an establishment that you believe merits an exception to the smoking ban, you will want legal assistance to advocate for your cause. The business law and litigation attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help you with both situations. Please remember to contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office if you find yourself in the middle of any legal problem.

No comments: