A House lawmaker wants to snuff out all indoor smoking in Pennsylvania.
Rep. Mario Scavello (R., Monroe) has introduced a bill that would eliminate exemptions to the Clean Indoor Air Act that has allowed smoking in some bars, casinos, social clubs and hotel rooms.
The 2008 law granted exemptions to certain establishments, including bars that receive 20 percent or less of their revenue from food sales, designated parts of casinos, private social clubs, hotel rooms, cigar bars, and truck stops with shower facilities.
In all 2,800 establishments statewide were granted exemptions.
"The effects of secondhand smoke have proven dangerous to all who are surrounded by it,” said Scavello, who held a press conference to announce his bill today. “We shouldn’t be requiring employees in casinos, bars and other industries to face health risks associated with secondhand smoke any longer; now is the time to adjust our current law.”
Anti-smoking advocates say the measure would protect nonsmokers from potentially life-threatening second-hand smoke.
“Pennsylvania’s current clean indoor air law was a step forward in saving lives from cancer in our state, but now we have to ask: Why are some workers protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke and others are not?” said Diane Phillips, senior director of state and federal government relations of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
“The science is clear that there is no such thing as a safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke; and no one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck. Everyone deserves the right to breathe smoke-free air.”
Scavello said his legislation would ban smoking on any outdoor deck, patio, or similar outdoor service area of a food or drinking establishment.
The bill also would allow municipalities to enact their own smoking laws.
If the legislation is enacted, Pennsylvania would join 25 other states with comprehensive smoke-free laws, including Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Delaware.
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