Topeka Supporters of a bill that would ban smoking in indoor public places blew out 400 “birthday” candles on Wednesday to symbolize the lives that they said would be saved each year in Kansas through the reduction of secondhand smoke.
“Everyone has the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air,” Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby said during a rally that took place as the Legislature convened the wrap-up session.
Gay Cornell of Coffeyville, who works with the Cancer Action Network, said her father, Larry Conley, died at 34 from smoking. He had been a rodeo clown and bullfighter and “lived his life as a cowboy but died because he was the Marlboro Man,” she said.
House Bill 2221 — the Clean Indoor Air law — has been approved by the Senate but has been bottled up in the House.
Advocates are hoping that the House will vote on the measure during the wrap-up.
Supporters of the bill say too many people are forced to work in places where cigarette smoking is allowed.
“This issue’s time has come,” said state Sen. Jim Barnett, R-Emporia, who is a doctor.
Opponents of the measure say local jurisdictions should determine whether to ban smoking.