smoking ban

Health
1:29 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

How Central Texas Cities Regulate (or Don't Regulate) E-Cigarettes

The State of Texas leaves regulation of e-cigarettes up to cities.
Shutterstock, KERANews.org

Update: The City of Kyle has banned the possession of e-cigarettes by minors.

The Kyle City Council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance – making it illegal for minors to use e-cigarettes and for businesses or individuals to sell or distribute them to anyone under 18.

The ordinance was researched and development by the Kyle Youth Advisory Council – made up of local high schoolers – who say they were concerned about the trend.

Those who break the rule could face a fine of up to $500 and be required to perform community service or attend a tobacco-awareness program.

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Health
4:46 am
Thu April 24, 2014

FDA Moves To Regulate Increasingly Popular E-Cigarettes

A woman tries electronic cigarettes at a store in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 2:33 pm

The Food and Drug Administration Thursday proposed regulating e-cigarettes for the first time.

The agency unveiled a long-awaited rule that would give it power to oversee the increasingly popular devices, much in the way that it regulates traditional cigarettes.

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Health
2:41 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

That Employee Who Smokes Costs The Boss $5,800 A Year

A man smokes outside an office building in New York City in April. Smoking breaks cost employers almost $3,000 per year per smoking employees, a study says.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 7:42 am

Smoking is expensive, and not just for the person buying the cigs. Employers are taking hard looks at the cost of employing smokers as they try to cut health insurance costs, with some refusing to hire people who say they smoke.

But figures on the cost of smoking have been rough estimates at best, with a very general estimate of $193 billion a year nationwide.

Researchers now say they're got much tighter focus on the number: $5,800 per smoker per year.

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Business
1:36 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

No Smoking Outside Starbucks Shops Starting Saturday

Don't sit down here and have a smoke with your coffee, Starbucks says.
Mark Memmott NPR

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 12:17 pm

Starbucks is moving its smoking ban outdoors.

Starting Saturday, according to signs posted in its more than 7,000 shops across the U.S. and Canada, "the no-smoking policy ... will include outdoor areas."

"Smoking will be restricted within 25 feet of the store and within outdoor seating areas," the notices read.

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Health
1:00 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

UT is Now Smoke-Free - But How Will the Policy be Enforced?

UT-Austin is now officially smoke-free, with all 15 temporary smoking areas going away.
flickr.com/smorchon

The University of Texas at Austin is now officially, 100 percent smoke free. 

The policy takes full-effect today. But it started last year when the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas announced it would not fund research for any institution that allowed smoking on-site. In April, UT set up 15 temporary smoking locations. But those go away today.

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The Lead
8:53 am
Wed January 30, 2013

The Lead: CPRIT-Funded Group Closes, County OKs Smoking Ban

State cancer agency CPRIT's biggest recipient is going out of business.
Texas Tribune

Good morning. The National Weather Service still has Central Texas under a Red Flag Warning until 6 p.m. tonight. The humidity will be low and the winds are high, meaning higher wildfire danger.

Austin’s in for otherwise nice weather today, with temperatures cooling to the 60s after this week’s warm streak.

Lead Story: The non-profit that got the biggest grant so far from the state’s troubled cancer-fighting agency is going out of business. The Clinical Trials Network of Texas says it has run out of money after the taxpayer-funded Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) began withholding payments.

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Health
8:38 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Smoking Ban Proposed For Patios - And Its Backers May Surprise You

A city official says the ban is aimed at protecting children.
courtesy flickr.com/lindseykone/

Fewer than 1 in 5 Austinites identifies as a smoker, according to the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. And those who smoke are finding it harder to do so -- Austin bars, restaurants and parks ban smoking. Major employers like UT and Samsung prohibit smoking on their campuses.

Now there’s a push to ban smoking at bar and restaurant patios as well.

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Health
11:39 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Smoke and Work for UT? Get Ready to Pay More for Insurance

A $30 monthly health insurance premium will soon apply to University of Texas employees who smoke.
Image courtesy flickr.com/jacockshaw

In July, University of Texas employees who use the UT SELECT Medical plan will have to declare whether they use tobacco. And if they do, they will have to pay a $30 dollar premium every month starting in September.

The same goes for spouses and children who are on the plan. The maximum charge would be $90 per month, per family.

“During Annual Enrollment, all UT SELECT Medical plan participants will need to declare whether they are or are not a tobacco user,” the university’s Office of Employee Benefits writes. Approximately 200,000 employees, spouses and children are enrolled statewide in the UT SELECT insurance program.

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Smoking
4:55 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

No Ifs, Ands or Butts: UT Officially Smoke Free

A new policy prohibits lighting up on the UT campus.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/perspective

The University of Texas at Austin has kicked the smoking habit.

The UT System Board of Regents approved the policy this week. So while there are no signs up yet – and ashtrays can still readily be found around the 40-acres – smoking is no longer allowed. UT-Austin Human Resource Services director Adrienne Howarth-Moore says those no-smoking signs will be up soon.

"We have already received an order of our tobacco free campus signs,” Howarth-Moore says. “And so we are developing a plan for implementing those exterior signs, so that they will be prominently displayed for not just our campus community but for the variety of visitors and the general public that come to our campus on a daily basis."

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Austin
8:19 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Top Morning Stories 2/10/12: A Smoke-Free UT, Inmate Health Care, New Hurdle for Austin Med School?

UT will need to kick the smoking habit completely to preserve millions in research funding.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/-jocelyn-

UT to Go Tobacco-Free?

Smoking is already banned in practically all indoor spaces on the UT campus, but to earn a sizeable grant, that ban could soon extend outdoors too.

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News Brief
7:05 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/15/11: State Water Plan, Final Vote on Austin Parks Smoking Ban

The Texas Water Development Board will vote on the 2012 Water Plan at their meeting today.
Photo by Reshma Kirpalani/KUT News

Vote Today on State Water Plan

We may not be thinking about the drought as much with the rain we've seen in Central Texas. But the prolonged dry spell is still going on, the state’s population is growing, and water supplies are getting tighter. Today the Texas Water Development Board is scheduled to vote on its 2012 State Water Plan. The report calls for billions of dollars in water infrastructure projects and conservation- to meet water needs over the next half century.

The board is limited in power. It does give out loans and grants to local governments, but it would ultimately be up to local officials to carry out the state water plan.

You can read the plan and check out a power point presentation on it here.

Final Vote on Parks Smoking Ban

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News Brief
5:22 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/08/11:Council Voting on Parks Smoking Ban, Water May be Cut Off for Farmers

Photo courtesy of Shannon Holman: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shannonholman/2830804591/

City Council to Vote on Permanent Parks Smoking Ban

The Austin City Council is scheduled to vote today on an ordinance to permanently ban smoking at all city parks. That includes athletic fields, nature preserves and swimming pools. Golf courses would be exempt from the ban. There could also be exemptions for some special events. The proposed ordinance includes several reasons for the ban including:

Tobacco related litter is the most common form of litter and over 40,000 cigarette butts have been collected from 39 Parks and Recreation Department sites this year. Cigarettes also pose a significant fire risk. According to the Austin Fire Department, 9 out of 10 fires along our roadways are caused by cigarettes and at least 25% of all wildfires have been caused by cigarettes.

Tobacco use is the number one cause of death and disability in Austin and Travis County. By restricting smoking in City parks, the Department is protecting the health, safety and welfare of community members

Smoking in city parks is prohibited right now because of a city-issued burn ban still in effect. But if this ordinance is passed, smoking would not be allowed at parks even after the burn ban is lifted.

While we're talking about parks, KUT's Matt Largey reported during Morning Edition, on the struggle state parks officials are having in funding state parks. Texas Parks & Wildlife says it needs more than $4 million to keep parks running.

TCEQ Approves Plan that Could Cut Off Water for Farmers

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austin city limits
3:34 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

ACL Smoking Ban May Be Loosely Enforced

ACL concert goers in 2010
Photo by Sean Murphy

The city really, really doesn’t want you to smoke if you plan to attend the Austin City Limits music festival. Austin Parks and Recreation director Sara Hensley even said “please” during a news conference this morning. But there will be no parks rangers at the festival, and ACL organizers’ private security guards may not be actively hunting down those who do light up.

“We’re not going after the smokers,” Austin Parks and Recreation spokesman Victor Ovalle clarified on the telephone this afternoon. “We’re asking them to please help comply with the smoking and the fire ban in the park.”

“We’re really not trying to ruin anyone’s experience,” he said.

Because the smoking ban in parks is not a city ordinance, people can’t be fined for lighting up. But they can be asked to leave the park. If the smoker refuses, he or she could be issued a criminal trespass notice and be banned from city parks for a year.  

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Health
11:42 am
Fri June 24, 2011

Should San Marcos Ban Indoor Smoking?

Photo by DucDigital http://www.flickr.com/photos/ducdigital/

San Marcos could hold a referendum this November on whether to ban indoor smoking in public places. The City Council moved a step closer to putting the question on the ballot at its last meeting on Tuesday. But not everyone is sold on the idea.

San Marcos deputy mayor Chris Jones says he’s concerned the measure could harm local business at a time when the city is still recovering from an economic downturn.

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