"The strictest smoking ban in the nation": A retrospective case study of the political factors that enabled the passage of El Paso's Clean Indoor Air Ordinance

Xochiquetzalli Gamboa, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The purpose of this report is to describe, using archival print media sources, the factors that influenced the passage of the controversial El Paso Clean Indoor Air Ordinance in 2001. Although public health professionals had had more than 50 years of evidence proving the dangers of tobacco consumption, very few municipalities were concerned with implementing bans of any type on indoor smoking in public places ten years ago. ^ El Paso, TX, made national history when it introduced and approved what was then called "the strictest smoking ban in the nation" (Falgoust, 2004). How was such a progressive measure enacted in El Paso so much earlier than other cities in Texas and in the United States? Moreover, if there were no other "comprehensive" ordinances in place in the Paso del Norte border region in 2001, how did El Paso develop theirs? What brought about the need to enact such a strict local policy? ^ Although an existing case study provides a chronological account of the events that lead to the passage of the ordinance, this resource does not provide a clear understanding of the social, cultural and political factors that influenced its passage. Accordingly, this report analyzes these factors using as evidenced through 191 regional newspaper accounts and associated documents detailing the ordinance enactment. The main factors included: 1.) an organized coalition 2.) a liberal ideology, 3.) public support, 4.) media attention, 5.) personal experience, 6.) knowledge of research, and 7.) fiscal implications. This study provides insight into factors that enhance or impede municipal level public health policy in general, and specifically in regard to smoking. Advantages and disadvantages of the methodology are also discussed. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Public Health|Sociology, Public and Social Welfare

Recommended Citation

Gamboa, Xochiquetzalli, ""The strictest smoking ban in the nation": A retrospective case study of the political factors that enabled the passage of El Paso's Clean Indoor Air Ordinance" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1512569.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1512569

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