Pennsylvania House proposal would end indoor smoking in bars, casinos |

Pennsylvania House proposal would end indoor smoking in bars, casinos

Wesley Venteicher
Store manager Stephanie Hunt lights a Marlboro cigarette while posing for photos at a Smoker Friendly shop in Pittsburgh.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review

A state House proposal would end indoor smoking at the bars, casinos, clubs and hotels that still allow it.

House Bill 1309 , introduced Friday by House Health Committee Chairman Matthew Baker, R-Tioga County, would scrap a list of exemptions in the 2008 Clean Indoor Air Act that let some businesses continue to allow smoking under certain conditions.

Baker is one of 18 bill sponsors including Democrats and Republicans. The proposal would require approval from the Health Committee, the House, the Senate and the governor to become law.

Smoking would still be allowed in private residences, according to the bill.

Baker was not available for comment Monday afternoon.

Diane Phillips, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said the proposal would protect the health of workers exposed to second-hand smoke, which increases the risk of cancer.

“They are most affected by having to work in a smoke-filled environment at hours at a time in their shift. We don’t think people should have to choose between a job and their health,” Phillips said.

She said about 3,000 businesses in the state allow smoking indoors under the exemptions.

Bars can allow smoking under the 2008 law if 20 percent or less of its sales come from food. Casinos can allow smoking on a portion of their gaming floors but not the whole floor. Hotels can designate up to 25 percent of their rooms as smoking rooms.

Phillips said the 2008 law was 10 years in the making, and included the exemptions for business owners who feared they would lose customers. She said she expects the new proposal to be less controversial.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, [email protected] or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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