Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Contact 90.5 WESA with a story idea or news tip: news@wesa.fm

10 Years After Passage Of Clean Indoor Air Act, Lawmakers Want To Close Exemptions

cigarette_smoking_tobacco.jpg
Gerald Herbert
/
AP

State Rep. Dan Frankel and state Sen. Jay Costa, both Democrats from Allegheny County, are calling on their fellow lawmakers to pass bills that would close exemptions to the state's Clean Indoor Air Act. The law was passed 10 years ago and bans people from smoking tobacco in most esetablishments.

However, the law does not apply to some bars and casinos, and Frankel said it's time that changed.

"We've given the law a decade to work, and we know it does," Frankel said. "Now it deserves to work for absolutely everybody in Pennsylvania."

A primary concern for opponents to the exemptions is exposure to second hand smoke for both workers and patrons. There are more than 7,000 chemicals in secondhand tobacco smoke and 250 are known to be harmful, according to the National Cancer Institute. 

Frankel said the exemptions were made because there was a lot of pushback against the law at the time of its passing.

"We had to compromise," Frankel said. "But I think as time has gone by, we understand those exemptions are putting people at risk."

More than 2,300 establishments in Pennsylvania still allow indoor smoking, according to the Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco.

Two bills, one in the state House and the other in the state Senate, would close the loopholes. Both are awaiting action by lawmakers. 

"What we need to do is expand the definition of public places that would not be permitted to smoke," Costa said. "We know and recognize that we have a lot more work to do going forward."

Kathleen J. Davis covers news about just about anything at WESA. She’s also the primary reporter and producer of WESA’s weekly series Pittsburgh Tech Report. Kathleen originally hails from the great state of Michigan, and is always available to talk about suburban Detroit and Coney Island diners. She lives in Bloomfield.
To make informed decisions, the public must receive unbiased truth.

As Southwestern Pennsylvania’s only independent public radio news and information station, we give voice to provocative ideas that foster a vibrant, informed, diverse and caring community.

WESA is primarily funded by listener contributions. Your financial support comes with no strings attached. It is free from commercial or political influence…that’s what makes WESA a free vital community resource. Your support funds important local journalism by WESA and NPR national reporters.

You give what you can, and you get news you can trust.
Please give now to continue providing fact-based journalism — a monthly gift of just $5 or $10 makes a big difference.