Kansas and regional news

Kansas and regional news

Ban could snuff smoking statewide

June 28, 2006


— State health officials are considering a push for a statewide ban on smoking in public places while they encourage cities to enact their own restrictions in the wake of a national report on secondhand smoke.

The report Tuesday from the U.S. surgeon general concluded that even a small exposure to secondhand smoke is harmful and that ventilation systems or separating smokers from nonsmokers does not provide enough protection.

Anti-smoking groups and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said the report should help move public opinion - and elected officials - toward banning smoking in public places.

Lawrence adopted such a ban in July 2004. It prohibits indoor smoking at most public places.

But KDHE Secretary Rod Bremby was careful during a news conference not to call for an outright statewide ban, noting the report was only hours old.

"We will continue to monitor that as a policy alternative," Bremby said. "It's definitely something under consideration."

A House committee had a hearing in 2005 on a bill to ban smoking in public places starting in 2007. It died in committee with legislators saying the issue should be settled by local governments.

Eleven cities, including Lawrence and Salina, ban smoking in at least some public places. Such bans often generate opposition from bar and restaurant owners, who fear their businesses will be hurt.

Dr. Doug Iliff, of Topeka, acknowledged that proponents of such bans face criticism that they're restricting smokers' rights. Because officials must consider concerns about personal liberties, enacting measures to protect public health can take time.

No smoking here

These cities in Kansas ban smoking in at least some public places, such as bars and restaurants: Abilene, Bel Aire, Concordia, Fairway, Hutchinson, Lawrence, Lyons, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Salina and Walton. Source: Kansas Department of Health and Environment

"The end result is not in doubt," Iliff said. "As a society, we will do the right thing in the end. The question is, how quickly do we get to that end and how much damage will be done while we wait?"

Bremby said he was not sure how far the department could go in restricting smoking statewide. The department had considered banning smoking in hospitals, which it also regulates, but the effort stalled when legislators balked.

For now, health officials are encouraging action by local officials, hoping their enactment of smoking bans will build support for the idea.

"Just looking at the panorama of American medical history and world medical history, you see that good ideas eventually get implemented," Iliff said. "The inherent tension between the public good and the private right is one that is very important in America. You've got to arrive at a democratic solution, and that just takes time."


Lawrence Burton 11 years ago

How many jobless democrats are going to jump on this "ban"wagon.

quigley 11 years ago

This sounds like a good sollution , make the "Statewide ban". People will always go to bars, if the whole state made people smoke outside, people would go outside, they arnt going to drive to Oklahoma on a wed night when they want a few beers. I understand that its tough on lawrence bars, when people could choose to go to KC on the weekend. So lets level the playing field, the bars of Kansas could have equal smoking rules, and people as a whole are healthier because they will get less unwanted second hand smoke.

craigers 11 years ago

Sweet, I could go anywhere in the state without having to breathe second hand smoke and smell like smoke for the rest of the day.

Scott Drummond 11 years ago

Yeeee hawwwww. Drive all the drug addicts outside!! Maybe they'll die a little sooner from heat stroke or a tornado will come along and get them. When even anti-science Bush's administration agrees that second hand smoke kills, you know something has to be done. Now, no doubt, Rush Limbaugh and that usual crowd will come back with the usual limp response, but a drug addict is a drug addict and I say screw them, let them suffer outside while us non-drug addicts can breathe a little easier indoors.

mom_of_three 11 years ago

Why not ban alcohol while they are at it?? Aren't there too many innocent people being killed by drunk drivers and people dying from liver problems?

Kathleen Christian 11 years ago

I suppose now that incense smoke or 2nd hand incense smoke is deadly too?

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

man o man you can burn the flag pee onit murder some one and who know what else around here and people will jump to your defence, but smoke oh no this city and state is full of goody goodys that do not do that it is so evil and vial please save the whole world. ban everything

Centrist 11 years ago

I was stoopid enuff to smoke for several years. I've been clean for almost a decade and now I see how foolish I was. Now I see what I was doing to others, how much I stank, how "unhealthy" I felt all the time. I'm actually in better health now than I was when I was younger.

yES! yES! yES! I'm all for banning smoking in public establishments statewide. Get rid of this ridiculous thing we do to ourselves and others.

Alcohol is a choice ... you can drink and it won't affect my personal space .. but smoking affects everyone within range.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

Drinking will certainly affect your personal space when the car of that drinker suddenly ends up in your lap in a head-on collision on the highway.

allmine 11 years ago

people around here just like to control everything and everyone I think they should all get a life.

chzypoof1 11 years ago

It's kind of funny how sheltered our state is. Especially our city. Other large areas, including the state of CA if I'm not mistaken, have state-wide bans. This is not a backwards anti-science biggotry issue. It's about what's best for the health of the nation.

And don't compare liquor to cigarrettes. Many more people die from lung cancer and heart disease than alcohol releated death...

BabyJay13 11 years ago

This ban isn't about trying to control people or taking away your rights. It is about providing a healthier enviroment for the people of this state. People that smoke don't realize how bad they stink and how bad they feel all the time. Until you quit smoking you don't see it. What about the kids that have to inhale it, they don't have a choice in the matter and it isn't fair to them. Maybe the smokers should think about that too before they start bashing the ban on smoking in public places.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

well I do agree with the ban in most locations not in bars, not in casinoes or a place anyone under 21 is not allowed. Then it really is a matter of adult choice unlike a resturant where there are so many familys. And you could make a bar a non smoking bar and still have a bar where people who smoke can go.l I am sure there are always ways to accomodate everyone but these issues always are all one way of the other.

Scott Drummond 11 years ago

"Oh goody. Another attempt to expand the nanny state. Please, God, protect us from those who want to protect us."

No sir, just protect me from the drug addicts who have no concern for my health. That is, after all, one of the reasons for the government, is it not. To protect me from those who would do me harm?!

Jim Fisher 11 years ago

All for a smoking ban in public places. Private businesses on the other hand should be left the freedom of choice. If I want to patronize these places is my choice.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

what do you consider private? a resurant is private but I do not think you should be able to smoke in there but a bar should be ok. so is this ban gonna include your house or car?

BDitty 11 years ago

It is about controlling rights. What about the right of a business owner to provide an enviroment for his customers. Where is the harm in letting the individual business choose whether to be smoking or non-smoking. That way the people who don't want to be around it know where they can go and where they should'nt. I find it ridiculous when people complain about coming home from a bar smelling like smoke... YOU WERE AT A BAR!!!! I don't complain about seeing naked women when I get home from a strip club, or complain that my ears are ringing when I get home from a concert, or complain that I get fat from eating too much McDonalds. Accept the consequences of the choices you make. You choose to go to a bar where there is smoking so deal with it. As smokers we know the dangers and choose to do it. All you non-smokers know the danger so choose to stay away from it.

Jamesaust 11 years ago

Colorado has a statewide smoking ban that takes effect this Saturday.

Given this week's report on the dangers of secondhand smoke inhalation, government has all the ammunition it needs to take such "health & safety" measures.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

"don't complain about seeing naked women when I get home from a strip club,"

Strip clubs are among the most highly regulated of clubs, and anyway, the sight of a naked woman hasn't been shown to have negative effects on health.

"complain that my ears are ringing when I get home from a concert"

Ear plugs easily mitigate or eliminate the effects of loud noise on hearing-- no such remedy exists for second-hand smoke.

"or complain that I get fat from eating too much McDonalds"

There is no such thing as "second-hand obesity."

All that said, I think there should be a few smoking venues allowed under any smoking ban for those who are so addicted that they can't wait more than five minutes between administration of their favorite nicotine delivery system.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

I argure with the obesity issue, if a parent spends all thair time eating unhealthy they teach that habit to their child. so the saying monkey see monkey do has a little play. now do not get all upset over the saying it is after all just words. People in the world should learn to compromise an issues but we never will so.

BDitty 11 years ago

Bozo- that fact still remains, why can't the business choose. It's a win-win for everybody. You know where not to go, and I know where I am welcome.

Liberty 11 years ago

Well, since they tried it at the city level and no one stood up against the power grab, now they want to try it at the State level and see if they can get away with another power grab state wide.

The GDP (generally dumb public) is going along with it as long as they think that it benefits them personally, but they lack the intelligence and principles that restrain government to a safe operating level. The more overreaching authority they give government, the worse things are going to get.

Jim Fisher 11 years ago

Salina has a smoking ban in restraunts until 9:00, after which most kids should be home. This gives them time to air out overnight.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

so when are all the reformed smokers gonna tell people when they no longer smoke in their own houses cars and yards??

BDitty 11 years ago

and just to defend myself: strip clubs- negative effect on societies moral values (I'm still going though) concerts- "noise polution" fast food- rise in obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure= higher health care costs for everyone. everything affects everything.

allmine 11 years ago

Reformed smokers are worse than reborn christians. You all think you are better than anyone else on the planet and your sh*t does not stink. Well stop stepping on my rights for a change. Stay home and play with yourselves.

Scott Drummond 11 years ago

"Bozo- that fact still remains, why can't the business choose. It's a win-win for everybody. You know where not to go, and I know where I am welcome."

While I agree generally on the point that it should be for the businesses to decide, the problem is that most do not decide at all. They try to have it both ways by having a so-called "smoking section" where the drug addicts are allowed to spew their exhaust in to the atmosphere that is inevitably shared by the non-drug addicts. If a business was required to choose one or the other (all smoking, or all clean air) then I think things would be fine and the marketplace would decide. So long as the businesses are allowed to straddle the fence, most will in hopes of gaining the greatest number of customers and thus the insidious harm of tobacco pollutants is inflicted on the non-drug addicted members of the public. Let the business choose to be either smoking or non-smoking and the vast majority will quickly line up to serve the non-smoking majorities.

Scott Drummond 11 years ago

" Reformed smokers are worse than reborn christians. "

No, smokers are far worse. You are inconsiderate drug addicts that also stink. Worse still, whenever called on these facts, you huff and you puff (pun intended) about your so-called rights. Go sit in a sealed room and breathe all the toxic carcinogens you care to, but do not dare to continue to inflict your nasty addition on the rest of us.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

dang I go do some stuff come back and all he** has broken loose.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

so scott a smokers right is not as important as yours? like I have stated there is always a way to compromise. It will not happen in this case, and that is as bad. You have choosen not to smoke that is fine, BDitty choose to smoke, So why can there not be places for smokers in this town? And no I do not mean resturants, or movies and places like that. But you can have smoking bars non smoking bars and dare I say mixed bars. then no one has their rights taken away and non smokers can still go out and not be offended.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

just a quick poll because allmine brought it up, how many people in here are ex smokers?

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

U.S. Surgeon General Urges Ban on Smoking in Public Buildings

The U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona is urging lawmakers to ban smoking in all public buildings because of the dangers of secondhand smoke. The government estimates 50,000 non-smoking Americans prematurely died last year because of secondhand smoke. Carmona also urged parents to stop smoking inside their homes because, he said, children are especially vulnerable. Recent studies have linked secondhand smoke to heart disease and lung cancer as well as breast cancer, childhood cancer, nasal sinus cancer, ear infections and asthma. Scientists have also established a clear link between second hand smoke and sudden infant death syndrome. Some tobacco companies have rejected these claims. A statement on the RJ Reynolds website reads: ''It seems unlikely that secondhand smoke presents any significant harm to otherwise healthy nonsmoking adults."

BDitty 11 years ago

Go away merrill. Evidence is not proof. Why can someone smoke for 40+ years and never get cancer while another person smokes for only a couple of years, developes lung cancer and dies? Genetics play a much larger role in cancer than anyone cares to admit. Why? Because it won't help their agenda.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

I thought smoking in all public buildings had already been banned? Would you like to show me one single courhouse, police station, fire station, city hall, school, etc., anywhere, where smoking is still allowed?

Scott Drummond 11 years ago

"so scott a smokers right is not as important as yours?"

Smokers have no right to inflict damage on me as a result of their drug addiction. Please read the post that immediately precedes the one that you are responding to & you will see that I have no problem with these drug addicts harming themselves. My problem arises when their filthy drug addiction impacts my health/comfort/safety/enjoyment, etc. Tobacco addicts have no right to do so, so quit whining about how unjust I am.

Scott Drummond 11 years ago

"Why can someone smoke for 40+ years and never get cancer while another person smokes for only a couple of years, developes lung cancer and dies? Genetics play a much larger role in cancer than anyone cares to admit. Why? Because it won't help their agenda."

BDitty, you are, of course, correct. Genetics does play a large role. But please answer why a tobacco addict should be allowed to inflict ANY harm on another person, even if that person is genetically susceptible to the harm?

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

"Why can someone smoke for 40+ years and never get cancer while another person smokes for only a couple of years, developes lung cancer and dies? Genetics play a much larger role in cancer than anyone cares to admit. Why?"

Diet could also play a role. My Father smoked until the day he died at the age of 84...no apparent cancer. He was diet and exercise aware. Would this work for everyone...who knows.

He was not allowed to smoke in their apartment at Prairie Commons so he went to their garage and socialized.

Godot 11 years ago

This is not a backwards anti-science biggotry issue. "

Apparently science is now a "protected" class. And reading, writing and comprehending English is not.

robinrander 11 years ago

When are you anti-ban people going to start bringing lawsuits to stop the "nanny state" from regulating health and safety codes. Why does the state have to require restaurants to prepare food in minimally sanitary conditions when we could simply just choose to patronize the places where the kitchens are clean while letting the others just fade away.

After all, consumer dollars are the only reguations we need, right?

Michael Birch 11 years ago

If I said it once, I've said it again! If ya wanna smoke

go outside!


Berserk 11 years ago

Here comes the Bible-beater Right Winger wagon again!

Let's do "gods will".

Just another politician trying to make thier own news and justify thier existance agan.

justsomewench 11 years ago

just a quick poll because allmine brought it up, how many people in here are ex smokers?<<

i am now, but i think a state-wide ban is a bit ridiculous. we're not living in a pristine environment anymore. go take a dip in the kaw. i dare ya.

welcome to reality. just because i quit doesn't mean i am entitled to go phelps on those who haven't. i won't go where i don't want to be. that's pretty simple in the grown up world.

pierced_daisy 11 years ago

Damnit I just moved out of lawrence and to kansas city and was so happy to finally be able to smoke inside while enjoying a beer at the bar. Way to go lawrence for your stupid laws following me everywhere I go. Way to go. X|

Jhawk35 11 years ago

i am a smoker and i don't mind the smoking ban, actually i think i like it better. I smoke less when i go out, i meet new people outside that i never would have talked to sitting at the same table with my friends all night, and i don't have to feel guilty about second hand smoke when i am only around other smokers.

i'm not sure that i agree with taking away the rights of business owners to make the choice of owning a smoking or non-smoking establishment, but seeing as how not many business owners choose the non-smoking route in fear of lost business, i feel that it is a fair compromise.


i do wish that non-smokers could be a little more forgiving of us smokers. We know that we are making a bad decision and don't need to be reminded of that every day. We are surprsisingly well informed about the health affects of smoking :)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.