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Anti-smoking proponents want to use the lottery to enact more bans

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Anti-smoking proponents want to use the lottery to enact more bans

Man calls lottery sales in smoky store 'discrimination' 

The Texas Lottery Commission's sale of tickets in stores that allow smoking could be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the attorney general's office said.

Lewisville resident Billy Williams complained to the commission in 2006 that he had an asthma attack after buying a ticket at a smoky store. He said his rights were violated because the store allowed smoking.

After Billy J. Williams drove to a salvage yard 100 miles south of his Lewisville home last year to pick up a part for his broken-down 1946 Chevy pickup, he stopped to gas up at the Whitney Short Stop.

Far from home and feeling lucky, he bought a lottery ticket.

On the way home, he suffered an asthma attack that he says was triggered by smoke inside the store. Now, Williams, 77, is taking on the state, trying to get the Texas Lottery Commission to stop allowing ticket sales in stores that permit smoking.

"I'm tired of having asthma attacks, and I'm tired of not being able to go into places," said Williams, a retired airplane mechanic. "It's just a shining example of discrimination in state services."

Williams says people with breathing disabilities should have the same access to buying lottery tickets as people with other disabilities.

Attorney General Greg Abbott weighed in this week, warning that the state's practice of allowing tickets to be sold in places that permit smoking may be a lawsuit waiting to happen.

But the Texas Lottery Commission isn't planning to change its policy.

"We're not questioning his disability whatsoever," commission spokesman Bobby Heith said. "We've got over 16,000 retailers, and there are a number in his area and on his travels that day that he could have stopped at" that restrict smoking.

The agency does not have a smoking policy for its retailers, Heith said. It's up to local governments to decide whether to ban smoking in public places.

Williams, a sporadic lottery player, said there's a nonsmoking convenience store near his house where he can buy tickets. But the self-described civil rights activist — who quickly rattles off legal precedent related to his cause — said he's concerned for other Texans.

"If they have to make it accessible for people in wheelchairs, shouldn't they have to do it for people with every disability?" he asked.

When Lottery Commission officials in August 2006 denied Williams' request to restrict ticket sales to nonsmoking locations (they invited him to visit nonsmoking outlets), he turned to state Sen. Rodney Ellis.

The Houston Democrat, who has been trying to get a statewide workplace smoking ban passed, requested a formal opinion from the attorney general.

"A court would probably find that the Texas Lottery Commission violates the Americans with Disabilities Act if it fails to provide Texas residents with 'meaningful access' to state services," Abbott wrote Wednesday to Ellis.

Heith said the Lottery Commission requires retailers to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and conducts inspections when it receives complaints.

Mark Gottlieb, executive director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, said Abbott's decision is important because "it basically puts the Texas Lottery Commission on notice that they need to have a nonsmoking policy in place to avoid potentially violating the ADA."

When people can't get work because of discrimination, they stand to recover monetary damages under ADA. But under the part of the ADA that deals with access to services, the best someone making a claim could hope for would be a court order to provide access — and maybe reimbursement for legal fees — but not monetary damages, Gottlieb said.

"It's a bit of a long shot," said Gottlieb, who has met Williams at health conferences. "There's very little incentive for lawyers to make these cases, so here comes Mr. Williams ... who steps in here and fills the void."

Ellis commended Abbott's opinion.

"It's time we took the steps necessary to protect our citizens from one of the largest known causes of cancer we have: secondhand smoke," he said.

Williams' 1946 Chevy pickup still doesn't run. And as for the lottery ticket he bought at the Whitney Short Stop, it wasn't a winner.

American-Statesman, Lottery Post Staff

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19 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by GASMETERGUY.
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Clairvoyance's avatar - eye storm.jpg

United States
Member #26882
November 23, 2005
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Posted: November 12, 2007, 9:15 am - IP Logged

ChairOMG-------Unreal!!!!!!

I bought a lottery ticket in a store filled with stinky human gas (farts) I want farting banned in all stores that sell lottery tickets, because I could not breathe properly! LOL

What is this world coming too?

    Avatar
    NY
    United States
    Member #23835
    October 16, 2005
    3475 Posts
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    Posted: November 12, 2007, 11:15 am - IP Logged

    You seem to have missed the point of the story, and how incredibly stupid it really is. I'm all in favor of banning smoking in public places, but for these morons the "solution" for people with asthma is to allow smoking but not sell lottery tickets. 

    "Williams says people with breathing disabilities should have the same access to buying lottery tickets as people with other disabilities."

    Yeah, and what better way to do that than to reduce the number of places that can sell lottery tickets?

      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
      mid-Ohio
      United States
      Member #9
      March 24, 2001
      19831 Posts
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      Posted: November 12, 2007, 11:22 am - IP Logged

      I know where he's coming from.  The stores in my area won't sell anything to anyone who doesn't wear clothing on the top half or their body and have shoes on their feet even if they're in a wheel chair.  If that's not discrimination against a disability then I don't know what is.Leaving

       * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
         
                   Evil Looking       

        Avatar
        Kentucky
        United States
        Member #32652
        February 14, 2006
        7322 Posts
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        Posted: November 12, 2007, 11:44 am - IP Logged

        Looks like somebody has way too much time on his hands and is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

        "After Billy J. Williams drove to a salvage yard 100 miles south of his Lewisville home last year to pick up a part for his broken-down 1946 Chevy pickup, he stopped to gas up at the Whitney Short Stop. Far from home and feeling lucky, he bought a lottery ticket."

        That happens to me all the time; I always feel lucky when I fill up my gas tank at over $3.00 a gallon.

        "On the way home, he suffered an asthma attack that he says was triggered by smoke inside the store. Now, Williams, 77, is taking on the state, trying to get the Texas Lottery Commission to stop allowing ticket sales in stores that permit smoking."

        He had to go into the store to pay for the gas, probably noticed a lottery terminal, and bought a ticket. I've heard about lots of people complaining when their ticket is a loser but never heard anybody blame it on secondary smoke.

        "Attorney General Greg Abbott weighed in this week, warning that the state's practice of allowing tickets to be sold in places that permit smoking may be a lawsuit waiting to happen."

        We have a law that bans smoking in public building and if a store "allowed" smoking, the store owner would be in violation not the people selling their products in that store. They don't have that law in Texas so basically Abbott wants to use the Americans with Disabilities Act instead of putting the smoking issue on the ballot and "allowing" the citizens of Texas to vote "yes" or "no".

        "A court would probably find that the Texas Lottery Commission violates the Americans with Disabilities Act if it fails to provide Texas residents with 'meaningful access' to state services," Abbott wrote Wednesday to Ellis."

        Abbott must have a reading comprehension disability because,

        "When Lottery Commission officials in August 2006 denied Williams' request to restrict ticket sales to nonsmoking locations (they invited him to visit nonsmoking outlets), he turned to state Sen. Rodney Ellis."

        When you think about it, we have one state lottery that changed its drawing methods, where people bought lottery tickets that had no chance of winning and the state Attorney General was mute. But in Texas when somebody complains about smoke in a store that happens to sell lottery tickets along with thousands of other products, its Attorney General leaps into action.

          justxploring's avatar - villiarna
          Wandering Aimlessly
          United States
          Member #25360
          November 5, 2005
          4461 Posts
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          Posted: November 13, 2007, 11:39 pm - IP Logged

          ChairOMG-------Unreal!!!!!!

          I bought a lottery ticket in a store filled with stinky human gas (farts) I want farting banned in all stores that sell lottery tickets, because I could not breathe properly! LOL

          What is this world coming too?

          I won't get into a rant about this subject.  There's another board where I already did that!  Smiley

             (Todd sighs with relief...)

          However, smelly farts aren't filled with toxic chemicals that have been proven to be carcinogenic.  I hope not, or I'd be committing suicide every time I eat black beans & rice or broccoli!

          If someone lives in a rural area and there is only one place for miles where he can purchase a ticket, then I might side with the player who is bothered by second hand smoke.  Otherwise, he should just go somewhere else. Maybe they should have a drive-by window.

            JAP69's avatar - alas
            South Carolina
            United States
            Member #6
            November 4, 2001
            8790 Posts
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            Posted: November 13, 2007, 11:56 pm - IP Logged

            Probably following a big rig emitting diesel exhaust.

            MAGA

              Guru101's avatar - rw6jhh
              Indiana
              United States
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              January 7, 2007
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              Posted: November 13, 2007, 11:58 pm - IP Logged

              The sad part is, he's actually serious.Crazy

              Gonna win.Big Smile

                JAP69's avatar - alas
                South Carolina
                United States
                Member #6
                November 4, 2001
                8790 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: November 14, 2007, 12:00 am - IP Logged

                Williams, a sporadic lottery player, said there's a nonsmoking convenience store near his house where he can buy tickets. But the self-described civil rights activist — who quickly rattles off legal precedent related to his cause — said he's concerned for other Texans.

                Takes just one to tell a million others what to do.

                MAGA

                  Avatar
                  Amarillo/Austin
                  United States
                  Member #1424
                  April 25, 2003
                  696 Posts
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                  Posted: November 14, 2007, 12:44 am - IP Logged

                  Maybe they also shouldn't sell lottery tickets to stupid people, either.  Oh, I'm sorry, the Texas Lottery Commission would go out of business if stupid people didn't buy lottery tickets.

                  Seriously, I am increasingly offended by idiots who are offended.  We can't build a risk-proof world and remain free men and women. 

                  If you can't stand cigarette smoke, don't patronize that business.  If you are offended by a TV or radio show, don't watch or listen to it.  How far can the minority push the majority until the majority pushes back????

                  Orangeman 

                    justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                    Wandering Aimlessly
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                    Posted: November 14, 2007, 12:59 am - IP Logged

                    Orangeman, I said I wouldn't rant, and I won't. (well, not for long. lol)  I also agree that this man should just go somewhere else to buy his tickets.  But I've got to write this.

                    A lot of people I talked to a few years ago when Florida proposed a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants & the workplace used the same exact reasoning you do when you write

                    "How far can the minority push the majority until the majority pushes back????"

                    Funny that when the no smoking ban was put on the ballot, over 71% voted to pass it. You can check my numbers if you don't believe me.  So that means that either most registered voters, or at least the people who bothered to get off their rear ends and vote, are non-smokers or it's not the majority who find second hand smoke offensive and invasive. 

                      Avatar
                      Kentucky
                      United States
                      Member #32652
                      February 14, 2006
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                      Posted: November 14, 2007, 5:00 pm - IP Logged

                      Maybe they also shouldn't sell lottery tickets to stupid people, either.  Oh, I'm sorry, the Texas Lottery Commission would go out of business if stupid people didn't buy lottery tickets.

                      Seriously, I am increasingly offended by idiots who are offended.  We can't build a risk-proof world and remain free men and women. 

                      If you can't stand cigarette smoke, don't patronize that business.  If you are offended by a TV or radio show, don't watch or listen to it.  How far can the minority push the majority until the majority pushes back????

                      Orangeman 

                      The reason we have non-smoking bans is because some smokers have no common sense in where they fire up. Is it really necessary to smoke the 5 or 10 minutes you're in a store buying lottery tickets?

                        Avatar

                        United States
                        Member #1826
                        July 11, 2003
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                        Posted: November 14, 2007, 5:14 pm - IP Logged

                        Just let the smokers kill themselves in peace.

                        (insert signature here)

                          tntea's avatar - Lottery-059.jpg

                          United States
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                          June 30, 2004
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                          Posted: November 14, 2007, 5:23 pm - IP Logged

                          why not post a warning sign on the door as they do with stores that have microwave.  If you are suppose to stay away from smoke. Don't buy your gas there or tickets for that matter.  Ok.. take away the store's abiltiy to sell tickets... demand the pumps be self pay...

                          We have customers who drive up and call us on their cell phones to deliver their tickets to the car, since they don't want to drag out the wheel chair and use the accessible equipment we provide.

                          Oh well.. I don't mind helping others ....

                               OLD/Vtrac   Lottery Bible         Double Warnings      Thumbs Up TN F34/F44

                            Avatar
                            NASHVILLE, TENN
                            United States
                            Member #33372
                            February 20, 2006
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                            Posted: November 14, 2007, 9:27 pm - IP Logged

                            If second hand smoke is as dangerous as some people think it is, then Texas should use cigarettes to execute their death row inmates.