Monday, February 28, 2011

Smoke-Free Texas to go through Legislature this week

During the first week of March 2011 the legislature will be discussing Texas House Bill 670 and Senate Bill 670, which would protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke. A recent poll showed that 70% of Texas voters support the new law that would prohibit people from smoking in indoor work and public places. In a news article from the San Antonio Express, Doug Ulman, President of LIVESTRONG said, “It’s heartening to see that Texans agree on the right to breathe clean indoor air. Now is the time for the Texas Legislature to pass this landmark bill that will protect our citizens from the proven dangers of secondhand smoke exposure.” Over 30 cities in Texas already have smoke-free ordinances in place, now it’s time for the legislature to decide if that ordinance should be state wide.

Smoke-Free Texas Coalition is asking for people to submit their testimonials and share their story on how secondhand smoke has affected their lives or the lives of someone they love. To submit your testimonial visit Chella Graves, a musician from the Lake Travis area shared her story on how secondhand smoke has affected her life on the Smoke-Free Texas Facebook page. In her story she says she has bronchial asthma and consequently after playing at open-mic night, she feels congested and nauseated the next day. She says, “A smoke-free ordinance for Texas is necessary for people like me who are unable to enjoy many restaurants and bars because of the detrimental effects of secondhand smoke on our bodies.” Graves is just one of many who have submitted their testimonials to Smoke-Free Texas Coalition.

In a study conducted by the Texas Health Institute, The University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus, and Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, showed that a smoke-free workplace law would save Texas $404 million dollars biennially. An estimated $250 million of the over all $404 million would be from health care cost savings and $142 million result from the reduced cost from smokers who quit smoking. If the smoke-free law was to pass, this study indicated that it would save the Texas economy and government money.

To learn more about this study click here

-Jennifer Neel

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