A statewide ban on smoking in indoor public places, which appeared dead in recent days, was revived Monday.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved the smoking prohibition on a 9-2 vote to send the measure for a possible vote by the full Senate.
State Sen. David Wysong, R-Shawnee Mission, sponsor of Senate Bill 660, said the proposal may win approval of the full Senate but likely would get stopped in the House.
"I don't think it really has a good opportunity this year in the Legislature, but I believe now this will be one of the three or four top issues during the election cycle," Wysong said.
Under the proposal, smoking would be prohibited in public places such as restaurants, bars and businesses.
Exemptions were made for commercial vehicles, tobacco shops, a proposed casino in southeast Kansas, veterans and soldiers nursing homes and designated smoking areas in other adult long-term care facilities.
State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, testified in support of the bill, saying the smoking ban in Lawrence has been a success. Sales taxes collected from food services and drinking places in Lawrence have increased since the ordinance took effect in July 2004, she said.
But Philip Bradley, representing the Kansas Licensed Beverage Association, said liquor sales in Lawrence have lagged the rest of the state since the ordinance took effect.
Dr. Roy Jensen and Dr. Karen Kelly, director and deputy director of the Kansas University Cancer Center, supported the bill, saying it would save lives of people who get cancer from second-hand smoke.
"The irrefutable scientific evidence is that second-hand smoke is not just an annoyance, but is a very serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease," Jensen said.