Smoking ban healthy step for Fort Worth

Fort Worth took a step in the right direction with the expansion of its smoking ban, which went into effect Jan. 1.

The ban outlaws smoking in most public places, including restaurants, restaurant bars, office buildings, bingo parlors, bowling alleys and within 20 feet of a primary entrance or exit of any of those facilities, according to the City of Fort Worth Web site.

The ordinance only allows smoking in places classified as bars, which it defines as “establishments that are licensed by the state and that have more than 70 percent of their annual gross sales in alcoholic beverages for consumption by guests on the premises.”

The ban is a good idea because 37,000 to 40,000 people die each year from heart and blood vessel diseases caused by other people’s smoke. Smokers have an increased chance of getting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, many cancers and atherosclerosis, or fatty buildup in the arteries, according to the American Heart Association.

If a smoker wants to subject himself or herself to being the victim of one of these diseases resulting from a silly choice, that’s fine, but others don’t need to be brought into it.

Other cities in the area have come to this conclusion too. Benbrook, Dallas, Arlington, Plano and Frisco also have similar ordinances, according to an Oct. 17 Skiff article.

Some businesses are worried the ban will bring a cut so big, they will have to close. Although Ed Wilsberg, executive director of the Benbrook Chamber of Commerce, told the Skiff last semester that smoking bans have actually helped business in some places because smokers don’t stay as long, and new customers can have the tables more quickly.

With the negative effects of smoking known and the negative effects of the ban unlikely, health was the correct option for Fort Worth.