To the editor:
The article regarding Chuck Magerl's testimony to the Kansas Legislature against a statewide indoor smoking ordinance is of interest.
In the first year after the ban was passed in July 2004, there were 16 new liquor licenses issued in Lawrence. These businesses ranged from chains to gourmet restaurants.
According to the Kansas Department of Revenue, the general sales tax for the first year after the ban passed was up 3.9 percent and the bar and restaurant sales tax was up 7.3 percent. That was the year we lost to Bucknell and our general March partying was squelched. There were six states at that time with comprehensive smoking bans; now there are 21.
This week's "Business Week" features a cover article regarding tobacco use and health insurance costs, "Since 2000, employment-based health insurance premiums are up 87 percent. Each year, employers pay $8,500 for a family's coverage."
You, my friends, bear the soaring health care costs of the thousands of Kansans who have no health insurance and suffer from smoking-related diseases. Please continue to support our local establishments, but let the bar and restaurant owners (and your legislators) know how you feel about the smoking ban. Health care costs are something we all bear. Smoking ordinances are a worldwide cultural change and Kansas doesn't have to be the last state in the union to join in the movement. We'll be back to the Kansas Legislature next year.
Kathy Bruner, chairwoman of Clean Air Lawrence,