Washington State Could Ban Public Indoor Smoking

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Washington State Could Ban Public Indoor Smoking

TACOMA, Wash. -- Washington could be headed for a statewide ban on indoor smoking in public places if a coalition of public health groups and legislators gets its way, according to the The (Tacoma, Wash.) News Tribune.

"Workers and patrons in every environment need protection from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke," Marina Cofer-Wildsmith, CEO of the American Lung Association of Washington, said at a Seattle news conference.

Sponsored by the Washington BREATHE Alliance, a partnership of Cofer-Wildsmith's group, the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and other groups, the event was intended to drum up support for House and Senate bills that would enact a statewide smoking ban similar to those passed in recent years by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine and New York.

"The vast majority of state residents want this protection," said state Rep. Joe McDermott (D-Seattle), sponsor of the House bill, according to the news report.

But legislative leaders have stymied efforts to ban smoking.

This year, McDermott's bill died after passing the House Health Care Committee, while a companion Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D-Bothell), didn't get that far.

Like the Pierce County ban approved Dec. 3, the bills would prohibit smoking in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, minicasinos and other nontribal businesses. They were opposed by lobbyists from the tobacco and nontribal hospitality industries The News Tribune reported.