Proposed statewide smoking ban in Texas - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Proposed statewide smoking ban in Texas

Texas - A statewide smoking ban could soon be a reality in Texas.

State Senator Rodney Ellis out of Houston filed a bill that would ban smoking in all indoor and outdoor workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

If passed, this would place Texas among 28 states with a similar ban already in effect.

The biggest issue Ellis argues is that smoking is a public safety concern.

He says around $96 billion are spent annually in health care costs attributed to smoking-related diseases.

Ellis says one group most at risk are employees in environments where smoking is allowed.

There are a few exceptions to the bill, including outdoor patios designated for smoking at restaurants and bars.

The ban would not apply to specialized tobacco bars that were opened before 2013.

The senator says he has tried to change the state's smoking laws more than once and if Senate Bill 86 does not pass this year, he is going to keep pushing.

A poll done by the Smoke-Free Coalition in 2011 suggests that 70 percent of Texans would support a statewide ban.

Dozens of cities in Texas already have smoke-free protections.

In 2005, Austin became the first major Texas city to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.

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