Thursday, January 29, 2009

A sport celeb wants a Texas smoking ban

Lance Armstrong supports a smoking ban in Texas, and this is the first time I saw a person from the world of sports supporting a smoking ban anywhere. He must be an antismoker.

I just hope he ain't using his fans to support him although I see he has a lot of supporters with him already.

I sure would like to see if he can beat a smoker in a race...with the smoker being on a Harley instead. LOL


Cyclist Lance Armstrong joined forces with anti-smoking groups Thursday, urging Texas lawmakers to pass a statewide ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and other indoor work and public places. "This is an important idea, a bold idea for Texas," Armstrong said after a rally with more than 100 supporters outside the state Capitol. Armstrong, who battled back from testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain to win the Tour de France seven times, recently came out of retirement to race again. He also pledged that his comeback would take his cancer awareness campaign with him around the world.

That included the stop at the Texas Legislature, where a similar anti-smoking measure failed two years ago. "This is something that is very, very personal for me," Armstrong said. "Having lived this life as a cancer survivor for the last 12 years, I think I know it personally and deeply and I think I have a pretty understanding of how you go about defeating cancer."

According to the Smoke-Free Texas coalition, which includes the American Cancer Society and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, secondhand smoke kills 53,000 nonsmoking Americans every year and is a known cause of lung cancer, heart disease, low birth weight and chronic lung ailments. Two dozen states have already enacted some smoke-free laws with 14 others considering them, the group says. Last week, College Station became the 28th Texas city to pass a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance.

According to a poll conducted for the smoke-free group and released Thursday, 68 percent of Texans support banning smoking in all indoor and public places. Nonsmokers were much more likely to support the ban than smokers, the survey found. The bill has met resistance from civil libertarians and some restaurant and bar owners who worry their business will suffer. About 50 feet from where Armstrong stood at the podium addressing the crowd, a small group held a counter-demonstration. Arthur DiBianca of the Travis County Libertarian Party held up a sign that said "Go Back to France, Lance."

"Smoking bans in general and a statewide smoking ban are a further encroachment on the rights of business owners and property rights," DiBianca said. Rep. Myra Crownover, a Denton Republican who has authored the House version of the bill, acknowledged some lawmakers question whether the bill violates property rights and individual liberties. She said the ban would protect the rights of employees to not have to work in an atmosphere filled with toxic smoke and is not an attempt to ban smoking altogether.

In 2007, a weakened version of the ban passed the House and was never considered by the full Senate. Its prospects this year remain uncertain, although it has clearly gained some momentum. Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said it still faces an "uphill battle" to be passed into law this year. He expects it to face fierce resistance from tobacco companies and bars. With nearly half the states already enacting some form of smoking ban and cities across the country adopting them, Armstrong predicted Texans 20 years from now will wonder why there was even a fight over the issue.

"As a parent and as a citizen, I don't think it's fair to subject other people to secondhand smoke," Armstrong said.

1 comment:

dumpstermcnuggets said...

What's especially scary is that Lance Armstrong also came up to Madison to campaign for the state smoking ban proposal in Wisconsin that failed to pass last year. I'm hardly surprised to see he's going to campaign for this same BS in Texas.

It'll be interesting to see if the Texas statewide ban fails in the end to pass, due to the fact his schedule isn't as free as it was last year(and won't be available to campaign for the bill in the later months of the Texas 2009 legislative session), now that Lance has decided to resume his bicycling career.