Texans Support Statewide Smoking Ban, Says Group Pushing for Statewide Smoking Ban

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If you want to ban smoking in all indoor work and public places in Texas, then you agree with 70 percent of residents here, according to a new poll by the Smoke-Free Texas Coalition.

Such a ban is supported by 67 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Independents and 74 percent of Democrats, the group says.

Supporters of the ban are trying for a third time to get a bill through the Legislature that would have Texas join the 29 other states that bar smoking indoors at work places and public areas.

They think they have a good shot this time.

"The bottom line is that this bill will save lives and taxpayer dollars," said state Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston. "The poll results clearly indicate that the vast majority of Texans understand the impact smoking has on our health and our economy. Senate Bill 355 will improve the health of Texans and save our state billions of dollars in health care costs over time."

From the Republican side, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst agreed.

"All Texans should be able to enjoy a smoke-free workplace," he said in a release. "Exposure to secondhand smoke unfairly puts the health of non-smokers at risk and creates an unhealthy work environment for everyone. Now is the time to make smoke-free workplaces a reality."

Among the other poll findings toutted by the group:

-- 63 percent are more likely to vote for a state legislator who supports the smoke-free law.

-- 85 percent believe that secondhand smoke is a health hazard, including 61 percent who say it is a serious health hazard.

--76 percent believe the right of employees and customers to breathe clean air in restaurants and bars is more important than the right of smokers to smoke and business owners to allow smoking.

-- 90 percent agree that all workers should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace.

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