STUDY SHOWS MILLIONS IN SAVINGS FROM SMOKING BAN
|Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston outlines the benefits of a statewide ban on smoking indoors in public places.|
(AUSTIN) — Banning smoking indoors in Texas could save the state more than $400 million in healthcare and productivity cost,s according to a study released by the Texas Health Institute Thursday. This will be the third session that a smoking ban bill has been filed, and supporters say that economic savings are just one more reason such a ban benefits the state. "A smoke-free workplace law would provide significant benefits to our state's economy by establishing a healthier workforce and significant cost-savings for Texas," said Houston Senator Rodney Ellis.
Ellis has filed a bill that would outlaw smoking in enclosed public places, including bars and restaurants. Smokers that violated this law would face a $50 fine and proprietors that allowed smoking to occur in violation of the law could be fined $100 for the first offence, $200 for the second and $500 for every violation after that. The bill would still allow smoking in private residences, designated hotel rooms, and patio areas at bars and restaurants, provided smoke cannot get indoors.
Ellis said he thinks this bill has a very good chance of passing this session. The bill is scheduled to be heard before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee next Tuesday. This early hearing, said Ellis, will give him and his House co-sponsors the opportunity to secure the votes needed to pass the Legislature. Should the bill pass, Texas would become the 30th state to enact a statewide smoking ban.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, February 28th at 1:30 p.m.