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Smoking in Public Places Banned, In Texas

Sen. Rodney Ellis, Houston state senator, announced on Thursday that he proposed to introduce a bill that would ban smoking in all public places. //

The bill is better known as "Texas Smoke-Free Workplace Law."

Smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places would be banned under legislation. Ellis made his announcement on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout.

"Even though cities all over the state - including Houston, Austin, El Paso, and Laredo - have passed strong ordinances, we still have a large population of Texans who remain unprotected from secondhand smoke," Ellis said. Ellis is encouraging Texas cities to implement smoke-free policies without waiting for the Legislature.

Forty-seven Texas cities have already passed ordinances that had smoke-free provisions, and 14 cities have comprehensive ordinances that protect employees and the public, according to a statement released by Ellis's office. Across the country, 17 states have laws that ban smoking . Ohio and Arizona have also decided to go smoke-free, and Hawaii's state law came into force on Thursday.

"Adopting a 'wait and see' attitude will needlessly expose Texans to illnesses while waiting for the legislature to take action," he said.

The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association joined Ellis when he made this announcement in Houston.

This law would largely benefit passive smokers as second-hand smoke causes 35,000 to 45,000 deaths from heart disease and 3,000 deaths from lung cancer among non-smokers every year in this state.

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