By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — State lawmakers heard testimony Monday on a bill that would eliminate most of the exemptions in the 2008 Pennsylvania law that banned smoking in public places.
The sponsor of the bill, Philadelphia and Montgomery County Republican Thomas Murt, says in order to get the smoking bill passed in 2008, the legislature agreed to many compromises.
“Presently, Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act contains far more exemptions that any other neighboring state,” he says.
Murt’s bill would eliminate exemptions other than those for private residences, cigar bars, tobacco shops, and the designated outdoor smoking area of certain public buildings. Murt’s bill would also add e-cigarettes to the smoking ban, something opposed by Bill Godshall, founder of Smoke-Free Pennsylvania.
“Public health benefits every time a smoker vapes instead of smoking a cigarette,” says Godshall.
But others cited chemicals in e-cigarette vapor as they testified in favor of adding them to the smoking ban.