It’s time to clear the air in public places

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Our View

We urge the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead when voting on the smoking restrictions policy.

The Alabama State Senate recently unanimously approved an anti-smoking policy last week. This is not the first time the bill has been proposed but for the first time it seems the senate is tired of the smoke.

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The no-smoking restrictions plan was introduced by Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, and is very much like others that have been introduced.

Alabama is the only state in the nation that hasn’t had restriction on smoking in public places. While the state didn’t pay the issue enough attention some Alabama cities have already passed their own smoking policies. It looks like now the rest of the state may have to join them.

A difference in the bill sponsored by Figures is not as strict as those adopted by some Alabama cities. Sen. Figures’ bill will ban smoking in hospitals, doctors’ offices, elevators, public transportation, government buildings (except private offices), restrooms, public areas of apartment buildings and nursing homes, polling places, all K-12 schools and retail businesses except restaurants, bars and lounges. Many businesses already have their own smoking policies, but this bill will take care of those that don’t.

Whether the bill will be as popular with the House of Representatives is yet to be seen. In the past tobacco lobbyist have urged the House members to vote against the bill bringing gifts by the truckload. And it worked.

We caution House members of tobacco lobbyist bearing gifts. We hope they will consider the facts that cigarette smoking is dangerous, even to non-smokers. If non-smokers chose not to come in contact with cigarette smoke they should not have to avoid public places to do so. And we also ask the House members to consider that as many 3,000 non-smokers die each year and thousands of cases of respiratory diseases and other illnesses are reported due to exposure to second-hand smoke.

We urge the House of Representatives to consider these things when it comes times to stop smoking in public places. It’s time to clear up the air.


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