The House passed a similar bill last year that bogged down in the Senate, but growing concerns about the health hazards of inhaling smoke from other people’s cigarettes should persuade the Senate to support the bill in this session.
Smoking is already prohibited in restaurants and other public places, many public buildings and places of employment. Some universities are completely tobacco free, and there are already some bans on smoking within 25 feet of the entrance to buildings.
Rep. Frank Hoffman’s bill would simply expand laws banning smoking within 25 feet of entrances to state buildings and impose a fine of $25 for first offenses, $50 for second offenses and $100 for subsequent offenses.
The U.S. Surgeon General reports that non-smokers subjected to other people’s smoke have a 25 to 30 percent increased risk of developing heart disease from secondhand smoke and a 20 to 30 percent greater risk for developing lung cancer.
Those statistics alone are sufficient justification for the Senate to concur with the House-passed bill to ban smoking at entrances to state buildings.