Two bills’ effect on cigarette usage would contrast

An editorial from The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Two measures are winding their way through the Legislature, one of which would roll back restrictions on where smokers can light up, and the second which would substantially raise the per-pack tax on cigarettes.

The first bill would allow smoking in places where it is currently banned: veterans halls, casinos and other gaming spots, and private clubs.

 While we are supportive of allowing private businesses the right to determine how they are run, we believe this would be a step back from hard-won laws protecting people from the dangers of second-hand smoke.

Some are claiming — especially lawmakers with casinos in their districts — that this is an economic issue, insisting there are hordes of would-be gamblers who are sitting at home playing solitaire because they can’t gamble and smoke at a casino. So that makes it all about jobs.

That’s a dubious argument, we think.

What isn’t arguable is that the problems smoking causes are a public health issue in West Virginia…


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