Friday night, my wife and I went out for a bite to eat. The hostess asked if we wanted the smoking or non-smoking section. We both said "non-smoking," and I excitedly added, "I hope that's the last time I say those words."
The statewide smoking ban in Pennsylvania takes effect tomorrow. To celebrate, we are joining another couple for dinner at that same establishment. (For the record, the nonsmokers at this restaurant were ushered to the back of the dining area and had to walk through the smoking section to exit the building.)
Of course, since our state government can't do anything right, there are loopholes in the smoking ban. State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, a Republican from eastern Montgomery County, wants to close those loopholes.
Greenleaf announced Wednesday he will introduce a bill in January to eliminate the exceptions to the smoking ban. The new law grants exceptions to some bars, hotel rooms, private clubs, casinos and nursing homes.
According to an Associated Press story, Greenleaf says lawmakers who opposed a stricter law will likely get pressure from their constituents to expand the smoking ban after it's been in effect for a few months.
Businesses that want to continue to allow smoking must apply to the state for an exception. Health Secretary Dr. Calvin Johnson says about 700 have applied so far.