tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves

Smoking ban debate heats up

Members of the Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday on one of the most sweeping anti-smoking bill’s in the nation. If passed by the Texas Legislature, it would be illegal to smoke in most public buildings, including bars and restaurants.

The 200 members of the Amusement and Music Operators of Texas are against the measure.

“We feel government should not regulate a legal activity inside our businesses,” said Jake Plaia.

“We would argue allowing Mom and Dad to smoke in the car with a child inside is a bigger threat to public health, than it is for adults to smoke in bars,” said Kathy Grant.

The bill would also extinguish all smoking in cities like Austin that have made some exceptions to bars and restaurants that have special air filtration systems in place. Those in favor of the proposal say all Texans would benefit.

“In other states where similar bills have passed, there’s actually a reduction in cardiac visits to emergency rooms by 25 percent. This is a health care bill, it does reduce health care costs to have a healthy community,” said Dr. John Carlo.

The bill is also getting support from the Texas Restaurant Association.

“I think the days of smoking in enclosed areas really are over,” said Richie Jackson.

Since Austin’s smoking ordinance went into affect four years ago, there have been 620 complaints and 196 violations. Austin’s Health and Human Services Department is in charge of enforcement. It has written 56 tickets.

A new poll by Smoke Free Texas shows 68 percent of Texans support the bill.

Former smoker Jessica Irish said she supports the bill.

“When I had my daughter, I decided to not smoke around her because she has no choice,” said Irish.

State Senator Rodney Ellis is sponsoring the bill. No action was taken Tuesday. Committee members will vote on the bill at a later date.

There is a companion bill in the House; however, it is stalled in committee.

If either bill passes, Texas would become the 25th state to enact a comprehensive smoke free ordinance.

Source: Kvue

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