AUSTIN — Representative Myra Crownover today filed legislation to protect the health of employees by eliminating smoking in all indoor public and private workplaces - including restaurants and bars.
House Bill 5 will protect employees and other individuals from secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke kills 53,000 non-smoking Americans every year and is the third leading cause of preventable death according to the National Cancer Institute.
“No one should be forced to choose between their health and a paycheck,” Crownover said. “There is no debate about the dangers of secondhand smoke. Study after study has shown dramatic and immediate health benefits for employees and patrons in areas with a comprehensive ban.”
In November 2008, a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health concluded that Massachusetts’ comprehensive smoking ban reduced the number of heart-attack deaths by 577 each year. The study conclusively linked the drop in heart-attacks to the legislation because the reduction in heart-attacks did not affect areas that already had a local comprehensive ban on smoking. Furthermore, those local areas saw a similar drop in their heart-attack rates in the years immediately after the local ordinance was enacted.
In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General stated that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and the only way to protect everyone from its health hazards is to completely limit exposure. The report makes it clear that designated non-smoking areas and ventilation technology do not eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
According to a 2007 statewide poll, sixty-six percent of Texans favor a statewide comprehensive legislation to eliminate smoking in all indoor workplaces and public facilities including public buildings, offices, restaurants, and bars. An informal study conducted by Representative Crownover also showed that 75% of her constituents favored a comprehensive ban on smoking in the workplace. If HB 5 is signed into law, Texas would join 24 other states with comprehensive smoke-free ordinances.
“This bill will save lives, save taxpayers money on healthcare, and is good for business. We tell businesses all the time how many fire exits to have and what sprinkler systems must be installed at great expense to business. This legislation will save thousands of lives at no cost to business or to Texas.”
Crownover has represented District 64 in the Texas House of Representatives since 2000. House District 64 is made up of portions of Denton County including Denton, Lake Dallas, Corinth, Shady Shores, Hickory Creek, Lakewood Village, Little Elm, Oak Point, and The Colony north of 121.