Decision rests with the Utah House of Representatives Last week, the Utah State Senate paved the way for Utah to become the nation’s 8th smokefree workplace state, joining California, Delaware, New York, Conneticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. By a vote of 15-14, the Senate passed a bill that would give all Utah workers a safe, healthy, smokefree workplace.
The bill now goes to the Utah House where it’s expected to face a similar close vote. The vote was decided when Senator Chris Buttars reversed his position and decided to endorse the proposal. “I’m very much against smoking,” Buttars said.
“And I’m not going to support something that’s killing people, like cigarettes.” Utah was one of the nation’s first states to require clean indoor air for restaurant and office workers, but excluded similar protection for bar and nightclub workers. Several states have introduced smokefree workplace legislation this year, including Maryland, Minnesota, and Georgia. Washington State is expected to have a voter referendum on the issue.
“It’s obvious that ALL states will eventually adopt smokefree workplace legislation,” says Joe Cherner, founder of BREATHE (Bar and Restaurant Employees Advocating Together for a Healthy Environment), because no worker should have to risk getting cancer to hold a job.
“The only question remaining is which states will be leaders and which states will be last.” Utah residents can send a letter of support at www.smokefree.net/UT