"Smoking is an option. Breathing is not," said Phil Atkinson to members of the Senate Health Committee Thursday morning.
Atkinson, whose sister died of an illness incident to cigarette smoking, urged that the committee adopt SB88, which would ban cigarette smoking in all restaurants except those that hold beer or alcohol licenses.Restaurant and lodging lobbyists said they oppose the bill because they believe it hurts small businesses, particularly those in rural communities.
And one man, dressed in a red, white and blue Smokers Rights T-shirt, said smoking was a personal choice. "What I choose to do my do with my body is my business," said Jerry Ingarra of Utah County.
But medical evidence is clear that second-hand smoke is of danger to non-smokers, said Dr. Kenneth Buchi, associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah.
Debate on the bill will resume Monday.