Let state voters decide public smoking issue
Knowing the potential deadly effects that secondhand smoke causes should be incentive for Alabamians to demand that the Legislature allow a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban smoking in restaurants and bars.
Secondhand smoke isn't just the smoke that smokers emit. It includes smoke coming from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. It contains at least 60 substances that cause cancer, respiratory tract infections and heart disease.
Separating smokers and nonsmokers within the same air space isn't the answer to the problem. Doing that may reduce, but will not eliminate, nonsmokers' exposure to secondhand smoke.
The state Senate this week passed a proposed constitutional amendment to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, except on outside decks and patios. It would also permit smoking in private clubs.
Now, the House should give its blessing to the proposed legislation.
The public, not hardcore smokers, should decide this health issue. It doesn't take a researcher with a fancy college degree to know that separating smokers and nonsmokers in the same air space isn't effective.
Smokers should have the right to smoke, but not the right to inflict secondhand smoke on others.
Thus, let's get this constitutional amendment before the voters. They will pass it overwhelmingly.