Wednesday, January 10, 2007
New speaker orders House to butt out
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- If House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, quits smoking, he might have to thank his political rival.
In one of her first acts as the new head of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, has banned smoking in the Speaker's Lobby. The room, right off the House floor, has been one of the last refuges for lawmakers and journalists to light-up during votes.
"The days of smoke-filled rooms in the United States Capitol are over," Pelosi said Wednesday in a statement released by her office. "Medical science has unquestionably established the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke, including an increased risk of cancer and respiratory diseases. I am a firm believer that Congress should lead by example."
Boehner and other lawmakers often smoked in the lobby. But the new ban will not put that much of a hardship on the smokers. They can walk a few steps to the balcony and still light-up.
-- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston