Local Lawmaker Calls for Statewide Smoking Ban

Representative from Denton proposes statewide ban

Several Texas cities already have smoking bans in place, but one Texas state representative says it's not enough.

State Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, filed House Bill 5 Wednesday. The measure would ban smoking in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

"We are not telling smokers whether they should or shouldn't smoke," Crownover said. "We are simply asking them to step outside."

If passed, the ban would force smokers to light up outside, either on a patio or at least 25 feet from the entrance of the bar or restaurant.  The bill would need to be passed in both the Texas House and Senate.

"I don't have the money to make a patio, nor is this my building to make one," said Don Kreka, the owner of The Point Bar and Grill in Denton.

He said he's afraid business will suffer if his customers can't smoke while they drink a beer or a cocktail.

But Crownover said there "is a mountain of evidence" that shows that businesses do not suffer after a smoking ban is put in place.

She said every Texan deserves the right to clean air. Crownover also said a statewide ban is necessary because so many different cities having differing rules.

"We don't want a patchwork of rules and regulations in different places, where people don't know what the rules are," she said.

Twenty-four other U.S. states have comprehensive statewide smoking laws in place.

But some smokers and nonsmokers alike said they weren't too happy with the idea of a statewide ban.

"I'm not a smoker, but I don't think the government should be telling us what to do. What's next?" Neil Broussard said.

According to the American Heart Association, 53,000 Americans die each year from secondhand smoke.

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