Smoke-Free Fort Worth begins push for cleaner air in Cowtown.
While smoking was banned in most public places in Fort Worth on Jan. 1, 2008, including restaurants, restaurant bars, bowling alleys, businesses and within 20 feet of an entrance, it was allowed to continue in other places.
City ordinances still allow smoking to continue in bars (where at least 70 percent of sales are alcohol), bingo parlors, hotel rooms, outdoor dining areas, private clubs, private meeting rooms, private residences (except when used for child care, adult care or as a health care facility), private or semi-private rooms in nursing homes, retail tobacco stores and in stage productions where it's part of the production.
Now, Smoke-Free Fort Worth, a coalition of local organizations in partnership with the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society, are beginning the push to ensure everyone in Fort Worth can breath smoke-free air while at work.
On their website, SFFW said "Fort Worth is the only major city in Texas that does not have a ordinance protecting citizens from the exposure to secondhand smoke in all workplaces. A smoke-free ordinance will protect the health of every resident in Fort Worth by eliminating the exposure of secondhand smoke in bars and bingo parlors. Everyone will breathe easier, and this will create safer, healthier environments for everyone who lives, works, and visits our city."
The group marked their official launch Wednesday night at Billy Bob's Texas where they released a poll stating, "91 percent of Fort Worth residents agree everyone deserves the right to breathe smoke-free air."
"As a leader of one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the country, along with being a proud Fort Worth resident, it is imperative for our city to be one of the healthiest places to live and work," said Barclay Berdan, chief executive officer of Texas Health Resources. "I am humbled to be a member of the Smoke-Free Fort Worth coalition, but it's an honor not taken lightly. I hope other North Texans realize the magnitude of this initiative, for the health of our co-workers, friends, family and generations to come."
The poll, conducted by national research organization Baselice and Associates, Inc., also revealed:
- 84 percent of Fort Worth residents agree bars would be healthier for customers and employees if they were smoke-free.
- 80 percent of Fort Worth residents agree it would be nice to go out and enjoy bars without breathing secondhand smoke and without smelling like smoke at the end of the night.
"As a physician I have seen the damage tobacco and secondhand smoke does to the human body," said Mark Koch, M.D., family medicine physician at JPS Health Network and co-chair of SFFW. "I am honored to be involved with Smoke-Free Fort Worth and the effort to protect the right of everyone to breathe smoke-free air. Clearly, the majority of Fort Worth residents agree."
To report a smoking violation, call the Smoking Ordinance Hotline at 817-392-7255. All complaints are typically investigated within 48 hours. For additional information on Smoke-Free Fort Worth, visit smokefreefw.org.