Archive for Wednesday, January 9, 2008

State senators endorse smoking ban

Proposal would prohibit smoking indoors in public places

January 9, 2008


— A ban on smoking in public places got some added firepower Wednesday as five Republican state senators announced they would make it a top priority in the upcoming legislative session.

"Perhaps the single most effective thing we could do to improve the health of many Kansans and to reduce the cost of chronic disease is to eliminate secondhand smoke and to discourage smoking in general," said Sen. Roger Reitz of Manhattan, who is a physician.

"We have an opportunity to significantly improve the health of Kansans and reduce the cost of everyone's health insurance and monetary pressure on Medicaid," Reitz said.

Reitz, and Sens. David Wysong of Mission Hills, Pete Brungart of Salina, Jim Barnett of Emporia and Vickie Schmidt of Topeka said they would push for the ban in the session that starts Monday.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, also supports a smoking ban, noting that nearly half of the state's population is already affected by smoking bans.

The city of Lawrence has banned smoking in nearly all indoor workplaces for more than three years. The city ordinance was challenged and ruled constitutional in June by the Kansas Supreme Court.

Health expenditures related to tobacco use cost the state Medicaid program $196 million per year, according to the Tobacco Free Kansas coalition.

The smoking ban was one of 21 recommendations from the Kansas Health Policy Authority. Another one would increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 50 cents.

Lawmakers, however, have not warmed up to that idea.


Centrist 10 years, 3 months ago

Either make smoking illegal, or increase the cost to $50,000 a pack. Nickel and diming the smokers only encourages crime and creates hardship.

I'm ok with this ban, but that's also because I no longer smoke. Wish I never had done so, in fact.

However, I can see a constitutional challenge ahead. It seems ridiculous to legislate the Great Outdoors. Let's make it "no smoking within 50 feet of another human".

That makes much more sense.

KS 10 years, 3 months ago

I am not a smoker, but the State is a hiprocrite. If the State of Kansas wants to ban cigarettes, fine, but also ban the sales of the product and do not take any tax money from it. What a deal. Just another way of someone else controlling your life. Next it will be Twinkies.

texburgh 10 years, 3 months ago

BRAVO! Other states have done this with no negative consequences; and if Ireland, France, Italy and Germany - countries with a greater percentage of smokers than the US - can do this, then we can.

As for Twinkies, there is no reason to ban them. If you want to kill yourself with Twinkies or trans-fats or whatever else you can stuff in your body, go right ahead. But when your desire to kill yourself can also kill me because I happen to frequent the same restaurants or bars or have to work next to you, that's wrong and that should be stopped.

I say THANK YOU Senators Reitz and Barnett (physicians), Senator Schmidt (pharmacist), Senator Brungardt (optomotrist), and Senator Wysong (all-round good guy).

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