In past years, supporters have pushed the proposal as a health issue. But with the state facing $1 billion deficit by the end of the next budget year, the focus is on saving money.
Sen. David Wysong, a longtime supporter of a smoking ban, said studies show a statewide ban on smoking would save the state millions in Medicaid costs. The Republican from Mission said the state spends $200 million a year for Medicaid treatment for tobacco-related illnesses.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)