Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Committee considers smoking ban

February 13, 2008


— Supporters of banning smoking in restaurants, bars, casinos and most other public places got a quick lesson Tuesday in practical politics when they urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to rewrite the bill.

They didn't like a provision of an anti-smoking bill mandating a Nov. 4 vote in each county on whether residents want to be part of the statewide ban. In counties that opt out, municipal governments still could enact their own smoking bans.

"We can expect millions of dollars in expenditures by the tobacco industry to defeat the initiative county by county," said Terri Roberts, Kansas State Nurses Association executive director.

Mary Jane Hellebust, director of the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition, said in written testimony that the move was unusual.

"Statutes usually passed by the Kansas Legislature do not ask local constituents to ratify matters affecting the public health," she said.

Leon Vinci, Johnson County public health director, suggested alternatives, such as having the ban become effective statewide when 50 percent of the state's population votes to approve it.

But Sen. David Wysong, the lead sponsor, said the provision was included out of political necessity.

"We wouldn't get it out of committee without the county vote," the Mission Hills Republican said.

He sponsored a smoking ban bill last year that was amended to give counties the option to vote, and many supporters wanting a stronger bill balked. Senate leaders shelved the bill because its passage was doubtful.

Thirty-one states have some type of statewide smoking ban.

Committee Chairman John Vratil said the panel will hear from opponents today and will debate the bill and vote on it next week. The Leawood Republican said he believes there are enough votes to send the measure to the Senate.

Dr. Roy Jensen, Kansas University Cancer Center director, said about 1,500 Kansans die each year from lung cancer and 89 percent of lung cancer cases are among smokers. He said the annual health care cost in Kansas caused by smoking is $927 million.


Flap Doodle 10 years, 1 month ago

snap writes:








hopper 10 years, 1 month ago

Smoking not only hurts you it hurts others who are around you.

johnwoods 10 years, 1 month ago

The state legislature is playing politics too much on this issue. Counties already have the ability to ban smoking! They don't need the state's approval in a state wide election.

Either ban it state-wide or don't. Legislators should quit wasting time on political games and stand up and take a stance. If it doesn't get out of committee so be it.

misseve 10 years, 1 month ago

It never fails someone feels the need to bash the liberals... the conservatives and neo-cons are just as bad... but anyway

As to this article, I do not and have not supported smoking bans especially in places like bars that cater to those over the age of majority, as a non smoker I made the choice to frequent places that allowed it, i also (as a mother) avoided the places like restaurants, when i was with my children. Just something for us to have a CHOICE of doing. Blanket bans IMHO is not the answer.

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