Smoking ban expected to pass this year

NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - The indoor smoking ban in Texas is very close to becoming a reality... State lawmakers and health advocates across the state are very optimistic about it's chances of passing.

As with most things in Texas these days, it all comes down to money... And how much of it this indoor smoking ban can save.

Estimates show it would save 404-million dollars over the next two years.... Mainly from reduced health care costs. In anticipation of it passing, the house has already earmarked $31 million worth of those smoke-free savings and put it into the state's medicaid fund.

On top of the money issue, there's the obvious health risks... And the increasing knowledge about them.

TX Representative John Smithee says, "Every time we come back, the data becomes stronger. The more we learn about not only smoking but second hand smoke, the more dangerous we see. We see so many more things that smoking can affect from a health standpoint. Not only cancer, but birth issues, certainly the lung issues."

The bill's author in the house is calling on lawmakers to vote on it sometime in the next two weeks.