Two big health issues are moving forward in the Texas Legislature. One deals with those who smoke and the other deals with what restaurants feed us.
-S M O K I N G B A N-
The House State Affairs Committee has approved a smoking ban bill, a watered-down version of the original bill.
The committee approved the measure 8-4 on Friday. Advocates for
a statewide ban, led by the coalition Smoke-Free Texas, praised the
fact that a bill emerged from committee but said it has concerns
that the original intent of Republican Rep. Myra Crownover's
legislation would be destroyed in what was approved.
The intent was to eliminate smoking and the dangers of
second-hand smoke in workplaces and public places. But the
substitute measure would exempt some places.
Members of Smoke-Free Texas include the American Cancer Society and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Another smoking ban bill remains stalled in a Senate committee.
- G E T B A C K F A T -
The Texas Senate today voted to ban the use
of most trans fats in restaurants -- for health reasons.
But, fearing a backlash from the sweet tooth lobby, the
lawmakers provided an exemption for trans fats used to make cakes,
pies and other bakery items.
Other exemptions involve food served by grocery stores, fire
departments and certain caterers, and the ban would be slowly
Initially, it would impact only chain establishments. It would
apply to all Texas restaurants by late 2011.
Another loophole - for nonprofit organizations - was inserted in
part to ensure that corn dogs and other fried goodies served at
rodeos and state fairs could still be cooked with trans fat.
A 2008 America's Health Rankings study by the United Health
Foundation found nearly 29 percent of Texans are considered obese.
That's up from about 26 percent in 2007.