Indoor smoking ban for the entire Lone Star State?

Soon, the entire Lone Star State could become a smoke free zone.

An amendment to Senate Bill 1811 is calling to eliminate smoking in bars and restaurants.

Smokers are up in arms about the possibility, calling it discrimination.

Elvia Espiritu said she likes to go to a bar, have a drink and smoke a cigarette.

"If you don't like second hand smoke then don't go to a place where people are allowed to smoke," said Espiritu.

She's not a fan of Senate Bill 1811's Amendment 53.

"I think it would be very unfair," said Espiritu.

The amendment would ban smoking inside restaurants and bars across the state.

"Do not discriminate of the places where you are already allowed and then make it a smaller entity of choices where we can smoke," said Espiritu.

Whether it's to celebrate a big day or to socialize, smokers said they should have places they can go where they can smoke indoors.

One exclusion to the amendment would be a tobacco shop or bar like Casa Petrides in McAllen.

The company has been around since 1905.

The marketing director said the owners are five generation smokers.

"Of families of second hand smoke and no one has developed lung cancer no one has had problems and have lived more than their 90's," said Laura Garcia.

But the amendment claims millions of taxpayer dollars could be saved by eliminating medicaid costs that result from second-hand smoke.

"If you chew tobacco or if you snuff, it affects your dental, it affects your mouth, the smoking affects your lungs, the second hand smoke affects everyone else, so to us in the public health community, a smoke free environment is the healthiest environment," said Eddie Olivares with the Hidalgo County Health Department.

Garcia said those buying a carton of tobacco pay $14 dollars in taxes, and she doesn't believe medicaid costs should be blamed on secondhand smoke.

The amendment would exclude outdoor patios in restaurants or bars, but if a city ordinance also bans smoking there, then the city ordinance rules.

Click here for a link to the amendment


Click here to see the status of the Senate Bill 1811