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Lottery juggling whether to ban smoking at ticket outlets

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Lottery juggling whether to ban smoking at ticket outlets

The Texas Lottery Commission is considering a ban on selling tickets in stores that allow smoking after a recent attorney general's opinion suggested the practice could open the state to civil rights lawsuits.

Anti-smoking and civil rights advocates urged the commission at a meeting Wednesday to re-evaluate how it licenses vendors and to not allow smoking where tickets are sold.

They are concerned that secondhand smoke prevents people with disabilities or illnesses related to smoke from buying tickets at some locations.

"Texans should not have to gamble with their health when they purchase lottery tickets," said state Rep. Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat.

The issue has been smoldering since 2006 when Billy Williams, 77, of Lewisville, complained to lottery officials that he suffered an asthma attack after buying a lottery ticket at a store in Whitney that allowed smoking.

Williams argues the federal Americans with Disabilities Act protects him and others from having to buy tickets at smoky stores.

"Smoking (in stores) causes me not to have access" to the lottery, he said.

Lottery officials said the ADA does not bar sales at smoking establishments and invited Williams to buy tickets at the 58 retailers in the Lewisville area. The commission requires vendors to comply with the ADA in terms of building design to allow people with disabilities, such as wheelchairs, to enter.

Dissatisfied with the lottery's answer, Williams turned to state Sen. Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat, who has pushed for a statewide ban on smoking in the workplace. Ellis asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, for his opinion.

Abbott wrote last month that a Texas court "would probably conclude that (the lottery) would violate the ADA if it fails to provide Texas residents with meaningful access to state services."

That was enough to get lottery officials to consider the issue, although any decision probably won't come until early next year.

Wayne Krause, legal director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, said the purchase of lottery tickets could be considered a state service.

If someone can show a disability or lung ailment that is aggravated by the secondhand smoke in a store that sells lottery tickets, they could have a case against the retailer and the state, Krause said.

Krause was unaware of any smoking-related lawsuits filed against the lottery.

On Wednesday, a lottery staff attorney told commissioners the state could adopt a smoking ban as a matter of public health policy.

That might not be a popular idea considering the recent legislative battles over smoking at the state Capitol.

Although nearly two dozen Texas cities, including Houston, Austin and El Paso, have adopted comprehensive smoking bans, a proposed statewide ban was bitterly debated in the Legislature and ultimately died.

According to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke in the U.S. is responsible for an estimated 35,000 deaths from heart disease and 3,400 lung cancer deaths and myriad other serious health problems in adults and children nonsmokers. A 2006 Surgeon General's report found no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Lottery Commission Chairman Jim Cox said the panel's review was just beginning and officials want to consult with retailers who were not represented at the meeting. Lottery staff is also studying how many of the 16,000-plus lottery retailers allow smoking.

Commissioner David Schenck questioned whether placing warning signs that a store allows smoking or providing a list of alternative vendors would solve the problem.

Schenck, a Dallas appeals attorney who was recently appointed by Gov. Rick Perry, disclosed at the meeting that he has previously represented tobacco companies in his private practice.

He said he hasn't represented tobacco companies in more than 10 years and that a staff attorney assured him it did not create a conflict of interest.

AP

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12 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by Stack47.
Page 1 of 1
chasingadream's avatar - Archangel 01.jpg

United States
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May 3, 2006
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Posted: December 6, 2007, 12:29 pm - IP Logged

whats next.... the recovering alcoholics not wanting tickets sold in liquor stores because they might be tempted to have a sip?

Oogle  waiting patiently for my jackpot

    ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
    Idaho
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    Posted: December 6, 2007, 12:42 pm - IP Logged

    This seems silly. Isn't there hundreds of stores that someone can go t to buy tickets that don't allow smoking? There is not one store that I buy tickets from that allows people to smoke, but maybe that is because I'm not in Texas.

      psykomo's avatar - animal shark.jpg

      United States
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      May 30, 2004
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      Posted: December 6, 2007, 2:37 pm - IP Logged

      I Agree!>>>>>>with this recent opinion of

      the .......A. General o!o^

      "if"   this law not 

      passed now and in a HURRY>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      the Great State of Texas may be in more DANGER than all KNOW

      because,.................................he has the vision to see how much 

      the people of TEXAS really needs his POWER to PROTECT them!

      He want and can't tell the citizen's of Texas about the up cum'in 

      law suit from Mexico to return all territory back to the citizen's of

      that great country>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      It will be his greatest battle,... therefore

      he is using this SMONKING BAN example to proove how sfart... he

      really is & what vision he project's for YOUR GREAT TEXAS!!!!!!!!!!

      LOL

      PSYKOMO 

        justxploring's avatar - villiarna
        Wandering Aimlessly
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        Posted: December 6, 2007, 2:54 pm - IP Logged

        whats next.... the recovering alcoholics not wanting tickets sold in liquor stores because they might be tempted to have a sip?

        No comparison!  I do agree with ScaryChick that there are probably dozens of stores in which to buy tickets, at least where I live. So even if smoking was allowed in retail establishments, I would have a choice of where to go.  However, not everyone has that choice. I don't see why people need to light up during the 2 minutes they're in a store anyway. Even though it's banned here, people still do it as they're exiting and I don't like inhaling their toxic fumes. Sometimes I have to walk by a store where employees are taking a break and smoking in front of the door.  I can't tolerate the smoke, so I keep my distance.  Except for a restaurant or bar, I can't imagine losing customers because a store doesn't allow smoking.  After all, people go shopping at Walmart and Target everyday and aren't allowed to smoke in the stores as far as I know.

        This isn't about someone's right to smoke at all. I don't care what someone smokes, eats, drinks or who sleeps with whom or what they watch on TV.  It's about my right not to get headaches or have trouble catching my breath.  At least if someone farts in front of me, there's no scientific evidence that second hand flatulence causes cancer (global warming perhaps!) 

          Avatar
          NY
          United States
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          October 16, 2005
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          Posted: December 6, 2007, 3:22 pm - IP Logged

          No comparison!  I do agree with ScaryChick that there are probably dozens of stores in which to buy tickets, at least where I live. So even if smoking was allowed in retail establishments, I would have a choice of where to go.  However, not everyone has that choice. I don't see why people need to light up during the 2 minutes they're in a store anyway. Even though it's banned here, people still do it as they're exiting and I don't like inhaling their toxic fumes. Sometimes I have to walk by a store where employees are taking a break and smoking in front of the door.  I can't tolerate the smoke, so I keep my distance.  Except for a restaurant or bar, I can't imagine losing customers because a store doesn't allow smoking.  After all, people go shopping at Walmart and Target everyday and aren't allowed to smoke in the stores as far as I know.

          This isn't about someone's right to smoke at all. I don't care what someone smokes, eats, drinks or who sleeps with whom or what they watch on TV.  It's about my right not to get headaches or have trouble catching my breath.  At least if someone farts in front of me, there's no scientific evidence that second hand flatulence causes cancer (global warming perhaps!) 

          The idea is ridiculous, but since conventional medical opinion now considers alcoholism to be a disease, it's a perfectly good comparison to asthmatics and smoking. The alcoholic, the asthmatic, and people who just want to avoid secondhand smoke presumably all have other options for where to buy lottery tickets. They also have other options for where to buy any of the other items that are sold,  but the common issue is that what is permitted in stores shouldn't be the lottery commission's problem.  The state should either enact a ban on smoking in stores (and presumably other public places), or not. I find it mindboggling that in this day and age there apparently isn't even a ban on smoking in the workplace in Texas,but it's up to the legislature and the people who (re)elect them to decide how important that is. I think there's a much better argument that it's the state of Texas a a whole that violates the ADA by allowing the emission of hazardous materials in stores, whether they sell lottery tickets, alcohol, or anything else.

          As far as violating the ADA, the lottery commission  has absolutely no authority to regulate smoking or other activities in stores. Their only authority is to use smoking policies (or any other criteria) to decide who will be allowed to sell tickets. I think anyone with sense should see that their choices are therefore to reduce the number of ticket outlets by  prohibiting sales in stores that allow smoking, or maximizing the number of outlets by only requiring that outlets comply with applicable state law, and whatever requirements the lottery believes are necessary to keep the games fair and honest.

            Avatar
            Kentucky
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            February 14, 2006
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            Posted: December 6, 2007, 10:45 pm - IP Logged

            No comparison!  I do agree with ScaryChick that there are probably dozens of stores in which to buy tickets, at least where I live. So even if smoking was allowed in retail establishments, I would have a choice of where to go.  However, not everyone has that choice. I don't see why people need to light up during the 2 minutes they're in a store anyway. Even though it's banned here, people still do it as they're exiting and I don't like inhaling their toxic fumes. Sometimes I have to walk by a store where employees are taking a break and smoking in front of the door.  I can't tolerate the smoke, so I keep my distance.  Except for a restaurant or bar, I can't imagine losing customers because a store doesn't allow smoking.  After all, people go shopping at Walmart and Target everyday and aren't allowed to smoke in the stores as far as I know.

            This isn't about someone's right to smoke at all. I don't care what someone smokes, eats, drinks or who sleeps with whom or what they watch on TV.  It's about my right not to get headaches or have trouble catching my breath.  At least if someone farts in front of me, there's no scientific evidence that second hand flatulence causes cancer (global warming perhaps!) 

            "So even if smoking was allowed in retail establishments, I would have a choice of where to go."

            I can't remember the last time I saw someone smoking in any stores that sell lottery tickets. I wonder how many hundreds of stores they went to before they finally found somebody smoking so they could have something to complain about. And it's possible the person smoking wasn't even buying lottery tickets.

            "It's about my right not to get headaches or have trouble catching my breath."

            Where do you buy your tickets?

              cv844's avatar - Lottery-049.jpg
              texas
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              Posted: December 6, 2007, 11:41 pm - IP Logged

              I dont know where they buy their tickets at , but every store that I buy my tickets at dont allow smoking in the store , the clerks stand outside of the store and smoke.

                Avatar
                Kentucky
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                Posted: December 7, 2007, 10:32 am - IP Logged

                I dont know where they buy their tickets at , but every store that I buy my tickets at dont allow smoking in the store , the clerks stand outside of the store and smoke.

                Have you ever heard anybody say they get their lottery tickets at a certain store because they have the option of smoking the 2 or 3 minutes they are in the store?

                If the lottery commission really wants to protect their players from secondary smoke, they should stop selling tickets in any stores that sell tobacco products.

                  justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                  Wandering Aimlessly
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                  Posted: December 7, 2007, 4:43 pm - IP Logged

                  "So even if smoking was allowed in retail establishments, I would have a choice of where to go."

                  I can't remember the last time I saw someone smoking in any stores that sell lottery tickets. I wonder how many hundreds of stores they went to before they finally found somebody smoking so they could have something to complain about. And it's possible the person smoking wasn't even buying lottery tickets.

                  "It's about my right not to get headaches or have trouble catching my breath."

                  Where do you buy your tickets?

                  Stack, I never said I have a problem buying lottery tickets.  Did you read a word I wrote? To answer your second question, I buy tickets at a lot of places including Publix, Albertsons & Sweetbay (supermarkets) Mobil, Shell & Sunoco.  Publix is the place I go more often since I buy my groceries there 90% of the time.  In brief, I purchase my tickets where I happen to be at the time.  It's rare that I drive somewhere just to buy a lottery ticket, although I've done that a few times. Then I go to 7-11 since it's down the block. 

                  Anyway, there is a statewide ban on smoking in FL so I don't have problems inside any stores.  That doesn't mean I can't post on a thread about stores in TX.   I had a major problem with smoke when I worked in stores where the manager didn't give a crap about the law, and I also don't like walking past employees who smoke in front of a store entrance. There's usually a back door leading to an alley or parking lot which is where they should take their breaks. I once managed a store and it looked unprofessional when the salespeople sat outside and socialized as clients walked in, so I asked them to go out back.  It had nothing to do with my attitude about smoking.  I've written many times that I don't care if people smoke in their own space as long as they don't blow it in the air I need to inhale and don't litter. 

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                    Kentucky
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                    Posted: December 10, 2007, 3:25 pm - IP Logged

                    Stack, I never said I have a problem buying lottery tickets.  Did you read a word I wrote? To answer your second question, I buy tickets at a lot of places including Publix, Albertsons & Sweetbay (supermarkets) Mobil, Shell & Sunoco.  Publix is the place I go more often since I buy my groceries there 90% of the time.  In brief, I purchase my tickets where I happen to be at the time.  It's rare that I drive somewhere just to buy a lottery ticket, although I've done that a few times. Then I go to 7-11 since it's down the block. 

                    Anyway, there is a statewide ban on smoking in FL so I don't have problems inside any stores.  That doesn't mean I can't post on a thread about stores in TX.   I had a major problem with smoke when I worked in stores where the manager didn't give a crap about the law, and I also don't like walking past employees who smoke in front of a store entrance. There's usually a back door leading to an alley or parking lot which is where they should take their breaks. I once managed a store and it looked unprofessional when the salespeople sat outside and socialized as clients walked in, so I asked them to go out back.  It had nothing to do with my attitude about smoking.  I've written many times that I don't care if people smoke in their own space as long as they don't blow it in the air I need to inhale and don't litter. 

                    I thought you were talking about Billy Williams.

                    Ohio is a non-smoking state too but the voters decided that, not the Ohio Lottery. Texas seems to believe they could lose a lawsuit to Williams using the Americans with Disabilities Act because they sell tickets in places where smoking is allowed.  I'm wondering what would happen if the took their machines out of all those smoking stores.

                    Many of the Cheers like bars in Ohio are closing because everybody "that knows your name" are smokers.

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                      Northern California
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                      Posted: December 11, 2007, 7:13 pm - IP Logged

                      I thought you were talking about Billy Williams.

                      Ohio is a non-smoking state too but the voters decided that, not the Ohio Lottery. Texas seems to believe they could lose a lawsuit to Williams using the Americans with Disabilities Act because they sell tickets in places where smoking is allowed.  I'm wondering what would happen if the took their machines out of all those smoking stores.

                      Many of the Cheers like bars in Ohio are closing because everybody "that knows your name" are smokers.

                      Folks all over the country have already used suits against lotteries as the foil to make retailers provide access under ADA - hardly the purpose approved of by any voter I know.

                       

                      I AM NOT saying that disability laws should not be enforced - I just think its inappropriate to try to leverage the lottery or have the lottery be the ADA enforcement arm of government. Lotteries are (or should be) sales and marketing (revenue generating) entities. If businesses hold a license to conduct commercial acitivities there are more appropriate agencies to ensure they comply with laws. Lots of retailers in TX have those neon signs...maybe they could come up with somethign that could hang from the sign stating whether the store is non-smoking or not. Of course, who would pay to have them made and hung, replaced when necessary, etc?

                       

                      Texas doesn't allow sales where drinks are consumed (bars/restaurants). Some of the retail locations I've been to in the Houston area have bullet holes in the walls...second-hand smoke was the least of my concerns.

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                        Kentucky
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                        Posted: December 11, 2007, 9:42 pm - IP Logged

                        Folks all over the country have already used suits against lotteries as the foil to make retailers provide access under ADA - hardly the purpose approved of by any voter I know.

                         

                        I AM NOT saying that disability laws should not be enforced - I just think its inappropriate to try to leverage the lottery or have the lottery be the ADA enforcement arm of government. Lotteries are (or should be) sales and marketing (revenue generating) entities. If businesses hold a license to conduct commercial acitivities there are more appropriate agencies to ensure they comply with laws. Lots of retailers in TX have those neon signs...maybe they could come up with somethign that could hang from the sign stating whether the store is non-smoking or not. Of course, who would pay to have them made and hung, replaced when necessary, etc?

                         

                        Texas doesn't allow sales where drinks are consumed (bars/restaurants). Some of the retail locations I've been to in the Houston area have bullet holes in the walls...second-hand smoke was the least of my concerns.

                        "I just think its inappropriate to try to leverage the lottery or have the lottery be the ADA enforcement arm of government. Lotteries are (or should be) sales and marketing (revenue generating) entities."

                        I Agree!

                        "Some of the retail locations I've been to in the Houston area have bullet holes in the walls...second-hand smoke was the least of my concerns."

                        I wouldn't be shocked if I read a story where somebody had an asthma attack while robbing a store and then sued that store because it didn't provide a smoke-free environment.