GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- If one Texas lawmaker has his way people watching next year's Cotton Bowl at a bar may not be allowed to smoke inside. State Senator Rodney Ellis says 29 states are currently smoke free, and he hopes that with the legislatures support Texas will join them by September of this year.
John Puana says if he cannot smoke in restaurants or bars then they will lose his business.
"Just probably have to stay home a lot more because I couldn't do that. I don't like that," Puana said.
His friend, Darrin Brawner does not smoke.
"For places that aren't well ventilated I'm not a fan of the smoke, but when they have proper ventilation it doesn't bother me," Brawner said.
Though Brawner is not opposed to SB no. 86, which would eliminate smoking in Texas restaurants and bars, he has concerns about it.
"I hang out with friends who smoke and I would hate for it to have a negative impact on them," Brawner said.
Kitchen Manager Johnny Rangel at North Rig Grill in Denison says he also has reservations about the proposed act.
"I say we have about half and half on smokers. Usually through the evening we have more smokers in here than non-smokers. I think it'd definitely take a toll," Rangel said.
State Senator Rodney Ellis says his bill would exempt outdoor patios designated for smoking at restaurants and bars, and would not apply to specialized tobacco bars opened before 2013.
He says every year at least $96-billion dollars are spent on smoke-related diseases.
"If you are exposed to second smoke you will die earlier than you would normally die," Senator Ellis said.
Senator Ellis says second hand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and kills about 50,000 people every year.
He says hundreds of Texans would be better protected by this bill.
"Food service workers are about 50 percent more likely to die from lung cancer than the general public if they're exposed to second hand smoke," Senator Ellis said.
The Senator says he has tried to change the state's smoking laws more than once. He says if SB no. 86 does not pass this year he is going to keep pushing.
"I'm going to push until hell freezes over," Senator Ellis said.
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