Cooke County — The State of Texas is revisiting a possible statewide smoking cigarettes ban for all public places, including bars and restaurants, in a special legislative session called earlier this month.
The bill already was passed in the Senate and sent on to a House committee, but it voted the proposal out, sending it back so the Senate can revisit the proposal.
Locally, some businesses believe a smoking cigarettes ban could hurt clientele numbers.
“I think if the bill is passed, it would be 50-50, some people would come out and we would lose others because they wouldn’t be able to smoke.” said Kelly Smith, assistant manager of Trails Inn Restaurant in Gainesville. “Everyone comes out because we allow them to smoke cigarettes anywhere in the restaurant.”
If this bill passes, the ban will exclude outdoor seating of said establishments. The only exemptions will be cigar bars and cigarettes shops.
Lewis Ozuna is the owner of Zuna’s Tex Mex restaurant in Lindsay. The City of Lindsay passed a smoking cigarettes ban back in December of 2009 that prohibited smoking cigarettes in public businesses, including restaurants, within the city limits.
The ordinance however “hasn’t affected Zuna’s,” Ozuna said.
“We had very few smokers to begin with,” he said. “About two or three years ago, I decided I needed the room in the smoking cigarettes section, it wasn’t being used much, so I just did away with it before the the City of Lindsay’s ordinance went through.”
Anyone visiting restaurants or bars that allow smoking cigarettes, especially those working there, are exposed to second-hand smoke cigarettes which studies have shown to also be harmful to non-smokers.
“I am all for it,” Smith said. “I believe that smoking cigarettes causes cancer and second-hand smoke, which is worse than actually smoking cigarettes,” Smith said.
Others though think the bill is a violation of their rights as Americans.
According to 24-year-old Jack Preston of Gainesville, he wouldn’t go out to any place if he couldn’t smoke, and that includes even going out to a bar.
“Smoking is a freedom of choice,” he said. “I think this bill is a bunch of crock. (The government) gives us these freedoms and rights, and now they want to take those rights away.”