PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Local lawmakers are trying to close a loophole in Pennsylvania’s Clean Air Act that allows people to smoke in some public places. Experts say it’s a danger to public health.
State lawmakers banned smoking in most places when they passed the Clean Air Act 11 years ago. Now, they want to go back to Harrisburg and finish the job.
At Mitchell’s restaurant on Ross Street, customers know they can light up a cigarette to go with a drink after 7 p.m.
But if state representative Dan Frankel has his way they may lose that right: “In the time since we’ve banned smoking in most workplaces, it’s become clear that exposure to secondhand smoke is a health risk that nobody should be asked to face.”
Restaurant owner Jim Mitchell is strongly against the bill.
“I think maybe they should mind their own business and let me mind mine,” says Mitchell.
“We’ve got one of the highest taxed states for businesses in the country. Maybe you should be working on lowering the business taxes.”
Representative Frankel and other representatives are introducing legislation that will extend the Clean Air Act to more workplaces.
The bill would close the loopholes that allow smoking in outdoor spaces, casinos, private clubs and drinking establishments. Frankel wants to ensure a health free environment in all workplaces.
“Any work places that subjects employees to cigarette smoke is an unsafe work place,” says Rep. Frankel.
“Now he wants to protect the employees,” said Mitchell. “Eighty percent of restaurant people smoke. I’m not making you work here.”
Now a ban on e-cigarettes is also included in the law. The bill is also supported by a number of anti-smoking organizations. It would also allow local governments to enact tougher ordinances.