Topeka — A bill that would ban smoking in most public places in Kansas could help in the effort to attain national designation for the Kansas University Cancer Center.
That’s according to Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center.
“It’s helpful in that it confirms that the Legislature is thinking about the problem of cancer in Kansas from a very comprehensive standpoint,” Jensen said. KU plans to apply in 2011 for cancer center designation from the National Cancer Institute.
On Tuesday, the state Senate voted 26-13 for the bill that would apply a statewide prohibition of smoking in bars, restaurants, workplaces and government buildings.
But the bill’s prospects are iffy in the Kansas House.
Jensen acknowledged that the legislation faces stiffer opposition in the House, but said, “It’s important to keep moving the ball forward.”
Health officials said that 4,000 Kansans die each year from smoking-related illnesses and about 300 of those are from secondhand smoke.