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Workplaces should nix nicotine

The newest development in the workplace-smoking ban passed in November found its way to the state Senate floor Tuesday. A bill passed in the House with an overwhelming majority is in front of the Senate now and calls for a total ban on smoking in all workplaces.

The Senate is attempting to add exceptions to the bill that will allow smoking in certain establishments and sections of businesses, where children are not often present. The Senate should uphold the House’s version of the bill and follow through with what voters agreed on in November.

The amendment was passed in order to protect people from secondhand smoke in public places. While some public places have already abolished smoking areas, tougher restrictions are meant to go into place July 1.

Among the tighter restrictions are no smoking in bars and restaurants. However, in the Senate’s version of the bill, in stand-alone bars, designated rooms in hotels and motels, and home businesses that don’t provide child care, according to a St. Petersburg Times report Tuesday, smoking would be allowed. While it may seem highly unfair for bars to have a smoking ban, it is easier for the enforcement of the bill if smoking is banned across the board.

While many smokers will no doubt protest the law due to its supposed infringement on their rights, for non-smokers, it is a welcomed change and a one long overdue. The enjoyment of going out to dinner and having a pleasant evening is often overrun by the incessant smell of smoke from cigarettes and cigars.

The amendment was passed in November by a majority of Florida voters. It is only fair for the bill to be upheld by the Senate and put into effect on time by July 1. Everyone has the right to enjoy an evening out, without coming home smelling like smoke.