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Archive for Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Legislators hear new reason for why a smoking ban is good for Kansas

Supporters say it would save money

January 20, 2009

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Proponents of a statewide smoking ban have come up with a new selling point for legislators trying to close a massive budget deficit: A ban would save the state money.

Legislation banning smoking has been considered in past years but has never gone very far. Businesses complain that prohibiting smoking in nearly all public places goes too far, and when proponents of a ban have tried to make concessions, they've lost the support of health advocates.

"It's a budget issue now. This is an initiative that saves money," Sen. David Wysong, a Republican from Mission and longtime supporter of a ban, said Tuesday.

Wysong said the state spends some $200 million a year in Medicaid care for people with tobacco-related illnesses. A statewide ban would save the state millions of dollars, he said.

Studies in other states have shown that heart ailments decrease after a statewide smoking ban is enacted, Wysong said.

The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee plans hearings next week on a bill that would impose a statewide ban with few exceptions. The chairman is Republican Jim Barnett, an Emporia physician, who supports the ban.

Wysong said the measure would allow local ordinances to take precedent if they were stronger than the state law.

A Kansas Department of Health and Environment report released last year said 26 cities and counties had passed clean indoor air laws, covering about 28 percent of the state's population. The department says about 3,900 Kansans die each year from cigarette smoking and an additional 290 die from secondhand smoke.

Proponents contend a statewide ban is the only way to create a uniform policy on clean indoor air throughout the state. Opponents maintain it would hurt businesses and is an example of the state intruding on local governments.

At least 22 states require all public places to be smoke-free and nine others impose restrictions that exempt restaurants or bars in varying degrees.

Comments

gogoplata 5 years, 2 months ago

I am for the legalization of marijuana.I am for the freedom of non-smokers to open thier own bar or restaurant where they make the choice as private business owner to not allow smoking at that location.Thank you.

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logrithmic 5 years, 2 months ago

If you love liberty, then you are for:1) The legalization of marijuana2) The freedom for non-smokers to enter the bar or restaurant of their choosing without having their health affected.Thanks!

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gogoplata 5 years, 2 months ago

You are missing a key distinction. In the examples of harm you mention, the drinking is not the direct cause of the harm. A person's decision to imbibe certainly lowers their inhibitions to the point that they are less likely to listen to that voice inside telling them not to drive, fight, walk out on a roof without a railing…etc. However, a person's decision to drink does not A) guarantee that they will drink to the point of intoxication that would lead to these types of events, or B) guarantee that if they reach that level of intoxication, that they will engage in these behaviors.A cigarette smoker, on the other hand, is harming those around him/her by taking a solitary puff of the cigarette. There is no secondary action that must be taken (like picking a fight or getting behind the wheel, etc) in order to cause harm.Furthermore, the harmful actions you mention are illegal in their own right. It is illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired, be it by alcohol or some other substance. It is illegal to engage in a fight in public.It's not about “potential” to harm others, it's about the inevitable harm to others. Smoking a cigarette will inevitably harm bystanders. Taking a drink will not inevitably harm others.___________Good points. I can see that it is not the exact same thing. But I still think it is useful to look at the similarities. I can't get past the fact that if you go into a smokey bar or restaurant you are the one making the choice to do so. You are putting youself "at risk". Smoking a cigarette in a bar can only hurt someone who chose to go there. You can choose not to go some place where there is secondhand smoke. But instead of doing that the people who are in favor of the smoking ban are using the government to force others to change thier behavior to take away the risk when they already have the option of taking away the risk without using government force by simply avoiding places where people are smoking. I have no problems with urging, pleading, reasoning, etc with people to get them to personally stop smoking or stop allowing people to smoke in thier private business. It just goes too far when the government is used to force this change. But I love liberty. And I understand that there are plenty of people who don't. When we start using government to force changes on others it eventually cuts both ways. “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. Government is force; like fire it is a dangerous servant -- and a fearful master.” —George Washington, 1797

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none2 5 years, 2 months ago

kmat (Anonymous) says…"...People need to learn to differenciate between pot and drugs like heroin, cocaine, etc…. There is a huge difference..."====================================Obviously the Swiss don't agree with you:http://www.acus.org/atlantic_update/swiss-expected-vote-down-cannabis-legalization.Perhaps you need to start attending NA meetings to get over your denial.

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Aiko 5 years, 2 months ago

Let's ban buffets and put a limit on portions of food in restaurants! Obesity kills!

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Windlass 5 years, 2 months ago

thusly, smoking ban could not be applied.

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logicsound04 5 years, 2 months ago

"So lets outlaw public drinking then beatrice. No drinking at bars, restaurants, etc. Because we know that leads to drinking and driving, bar fights, and other dangerous behaviors. If you want to drink at home and harm only yourself fine. But no public drinking where your drinking has the potential to harm others."--------------You are missing a key distinction. In the examples of harm you mention, the drinking is not the direct cause of the harm. A person's decision to imbibe certainly lowers their inhibitions to the point that they are less likely to listen to that voice inside telling them not to drive, fight, walk out on a roof without a railing...etc. However, a person's decision to drink does not A) guarantee that they will drink to the point of intoxication that would lead to these types of events, or B) guarantee that if they reach that level of intoxication, that they will engage in these behaviors.A cigarette smoker, on the other hand, is harming those around him/her by taking a solitary puff of the cigarette. There is no secondary action that must be taken (like picking a fight or getting behind the wheel, etc) in order to cause harm.Furthermore, the harmful actions you mention are illegal in their own right. It is illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired, be it by alcohol or some other substance. It is illegal to engage in a fight in public.It's not about "potential" to harm others, it's about the inevitable harm to others. Smoking a cigarette will inevitably harm bystanders. Taking a drink will not inevitably harm others.

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Windlass 5 years, 2 months ago

There are two White Houses. Which one are you talking about?

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Windlass 5 years, 2 months ago

Oh man, a big ol' light bulb jis' went off in my brain. That light told me, jis' now, that ALL politicians blow all our money right down to where they can say, "We have to start cutting education, school lunches, social programs, healthcare for those who can't afford it"....yak, yak, and more yak. So what that light told me is how ALL politicians never manage to blow every dime to where THEY have to endure hardships. Interesting. The CIA budget never needs cut. The FBI budget never needs cut. The Defense Department budget never needs cut. The Pentagon budget never has to be cut. Congressional leaders' salaries never have to be cut. Funny how our politicians manage to never, never blow enough to form a circle back to them.

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kmat 5 years, 2 months ago

notajayhawk - You need to go smoke one and chill. Your points about pot are completely wrong. Tolerance is different from addicition. You consume enough of anything and your tolerance goes up. The great thing about pot is that you can't O.D. on it. Not one single person ever has died from smoking pot. No approved medical uses????? Maybe in KS. Smoking gets it into your bloodstream quicker and states that allow medical pot sell it for quick relief of upset stomach and migraines. It has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. It's much better on your body to use a natural substance instead of man created chemicals.You go on fighting that war on drugs, which does no good.People need to learn to differenciate between pot and drugs like heroin, cocaine, etc.... There is a huge difference. But those that never got high have no clue and lump them all together. You need to take a vacation to Amsterdam and indulge yourself and I bet you'd change your opinions.

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Windlass 5 years, 2 months ago

Can we just get beyond the "saving money" hoax here? Who really believes these politicians? Our politicians have "saved money" to the tune of 1.2 trillion in the red.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 2 months ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says… "Isn't it ironic that those rightwingers that advocate so ardently for the ability to participate in addicitive behavior ..."log, pal, I realize you're operating in a different reality than the rest of us, but perhaps you'd like to point out a single example from this thread, from a right or left winger, that ardently advocates for the right to indulge in "addicitive" behavior of any sort?Other than yours, of course.

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logrithmic 5 years, 2 months ago

Isn't it ironic that those rightwingers that advocate so ardently for the ability to participate in addicitive behavior that is a threat to the health of not only the user, but those who are innocent bystanders, are adamant in keeping a non-addictive product (pot) illegal to use in the privacy of one's own home? These same rightwingers, that so profess their love of liberty, have persecuted up to 90 million who have "inhaled" marijuana simply because the government told them to do it or they have an inherent dislike of the counterculture and all things associated with it. Obama has used marijuana. So has Bush. Anyone denying this is a fool.And remember rightwingers - you voted for Bush even though you knew he was guilty of DWI. Now that's really funny. All your protestations against drunk drivers and yet you vote for someone who drove around in his 30s drunk as a skunk. God bless!

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gogoplata 5 years, 2 months ago

So lets outlaw public drinking then beatrice. No drinking at bars, restaurants, etc. Because we know that leads to drinking and driving, bar fights, and other dangerous behaviors. If you want to drink at home and harm only yourself fine. But no public drinking where your drinking has the potential to harm others. I really couldn't be more against either of these ideas. I'm just pointing out that drinking is more dangerous to the public than smoking. So the same reasoning about public health should apply to both.

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jafs 5 years, 2 months ago

And, for the record, I don't smoke, drink an occasional glass of wine, and don't use illegal drugs.

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jafs 5 years, 2 months ago

The question is when a personal behavior affects other people to the degree that it should be regulated.I believe all behavior which doesn't hurt others should be legal.If the government legalized and taxed drugs, we'd have an excellent source of revenue, in addition to cutting costs in the form of capture, trial, and incarceration of drug users.Since drug use is a felony, a 3 time drug user serves a life sentence, while a 2 time murderer/rapist/etc. can get out on parole. Does this make sense?The trouble of course is that drug use by an individual does affect those around them, so it isn't easy to sort out.However, if we are allowing alcohol and cigarettes to be legal, we should expand that to drugs as well. Both alcohol and cigarettes are clearly addictive, affect others as well as the user, and have negative health consequences.We have eliminated the gangs/violence that sprouted up during Prohibition - we could do the same with the drug trade.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 2 months ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says… "Pot is not physically addictive and is known to be a medical remedy for certain conditions."You need only one of two conditions to add the specifier "with physiological addiction" to a diagnosis of cannabis addiction - either tolerance or withdrawal. While cannabis, at least at the moment, does not have a set withdrawal pattern (recent research is beginning to suggest otherwise), long-term heavy users do indeed develop a tolerance. And there is no approved medical use for the smoked form of marijuana. That's why it's still a Schedule A.But please don't let the facts stop you from your amusing posts.

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jimjones 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm all for the ban if it keeps Obama from coming to Kansas.

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DouglasCountySucks 5 years, 2 months ago

Let each business decide if its smoke free. Non smokers can shop in another business.It is that simple. If a ban is put in place i will file suit to recover my part of the $200.000.000. from the cig suit.I will use it to quit smoking and pay my heath insurance from here on out.That is only fair.F A C T More non smokers die every day than do smokers. Sleep on that fact non smokers.Most heart disease is from poor diet not smoking, ask a D R. he will tell you this.The top 3 oldest ever living people in the last century smoked Hows that for a study return.....??????It is a fact jack.Doesnt that just blow your smoking issue right out of the water ? I dont drink so, but i do feel some laws need to change about drinking, but i am not the one to force the issue.Bars need to do more to stop people from getting trashed and driving, serve less to them or ? I dont have the answer, but i do hate drunk drivers.

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beatrice 5 years, 2 months ago

gogo, if you drink, that is your business. You can drink a quart of scotch a day while sitting next to me, and my liver won't be effected. The same is not true regarding your smoking and my lungs. (not saying "you" actually drink or smoke -- don't know, don't care) So drink away if you must. However, if you try to include driving with your drinking, there are laws, people do care and are opposed to your endangering others in this manner. It isn't outlawing drinking, it is outlawing drinking when it effects others. Same here with smoking. Smoke away at home as much as you want, but when you endanger the lives of others that is when it must be stopped. I don't see how it is even a question.Oh, and I am for legalizing pot, but it would require the same restrictions as alcohol when it comes to driving.

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logrithmic 5 years, 2 months ago

Exactly. Alcohol is promoted on every sportscast. Billions change hands over it. And while many drink "responsibly," a great many do not. And beyond that, alcohol is physically addictive. All of us know people who have been busted for DWIs. Imagine the potential for vehicular manslaughter for driving under this condition.But how do you evaluate the deleterious impact of nictotine addiction or alcohol consumption? And how do you compare the two? It's very difficult.Which brings me to the consumption of pot. Pot is not physically addictive and is known to be a medical remedy for certain conditions. Yet is remains illegal! And users risk jail time. Even if one were to suggest that both alcohol and smoking should be regulated beyond what is currently the law, why should pot be singled out as being illegal? It makes no sense whatsoever.Have a nice day!

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gogoplata 5 years, 2 months ago

Why is smoking being singled out over alcohol? Alcohol is a greater danger to society than smoking.

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gogoplata 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm pro liberty. Liberty = Less Government.Let the business owner decide if they want to allow smoking. If you really want to save money shrinking the size of government is the way to go.

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logrithmic 5 years, 2 months ago

The rightwing is not fictional. Only a fool would believe that. It can be found at the intersection of three basic beliefs:1) The government should not regulate or restrict the ownership of guns.2) Jesus Christ is our only salvation and all who do not believe are second class citizens whose votes should not count and whose behavior must be regulated by the state.3) The market should be unregulated and people should be able to sell anything they want, regardless of who it hurts.That is the rightwing. And many who post on this forum believe all three propositions. What is interesting is that point three can conflict with point two, but the rightwing does not care. This is because they are incapable of recognizing their own irrationality, as they are so steeped in double think and indoctrination.Their is a fourth belief, call it unquestioning patriotism (because only a true patriot would not question his/her government's policy, especially in time of war). But this is not universal, and in fact, the rightwing does question the government under all three of the beliefs annunciated above). Yet, this applies most notably to rightwing notions of America (land of the free) and its God given right to impose its will on other lesser nations. One policy, the restriction of travel to Cuba, illustrates this well. Why, if Americans are truly free, do we risk jail time or heavy fines for simply visiting a foreign country we are not at war with? Of course the same could be said for smoking a doobie. And this brings me back to my point that many pot smokers would welcome with open arms the restrictions being considered for nicotine addicts. Yet they do not even have those rights!Have a nice day!

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Boston_Corbett 5 years, 2 months ago

I just think we should adopt a ban because it will drive Marion beyond bonkers and he will rant on-and-on about the end of the world.

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Liberty_One 5 years, 2 months ago

logrithmic goes on again about some boogeymen called the "rightwing." It's pretty easy to make a good argument against a fictional person.

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logrithmic 5 years, 2 months ago

Banning nicotine is not the answer. Sure it's addictive and destructive. But one should be pemitted such victimless crimes if it is in the privacy of one's own home and car. Where it cannot be abided by is in the public square.Regards marijuana, it is illegal everywhere. That's the point. While nicontine addicts whine about how their rights are being restricted because they can't light up in a bar or restaurant, those that indulge in the occassional joint anywhere face jail time. I would say the vast vast majority of pot smokers would welcome restrictive use of marijuana (such as legal to use at home but not while driving or in the public arena). Unfortunately, the rightwing continues to think of marijuana as some evil weed that leads folks to damnation.On a more amusing footnote, they recently discovered a grave of a person that was 2700 years old and in it was a stash of marijuana. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28034925/I wonder if 2700 years ago people faced jail time for simply lighting up an herb in the privacy of their own home?Think about it... if you can think!God bless!

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Left_handed 5 years, 2 months ago

Enough with the half measures. If smoking is so terrible then ban the stuff outright. That eliminates all the other problems. Why won't they do it? Because they're cowards and hypocrites who want the tax revenue.

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Larry_The_Moocher 5 years, 2 months ago

If smokers on medicade is the problem... address it directly and cut them off. Insurance companies have the ability not to take the risk of those who live risky lifestyles and the states sets the laws for them.... Seems pretty simple to me. Why should responsible people pay for those who seek substance abuse or are not smart enought to manage their money?

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notajayhawk 5 years, 2 months ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says…"Pot smokers on the other hand would gladly, gladly welcome the restrictions being proposed for nicotine addicts."Uh, log - pretty sure it is already illegal to smoke weed in public. Maybe you forgot.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 2 months ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says… "I find it awfully amusing the way smokers cry and whine because their addiction is being threatened."I find it awfully amusing that you can interpret any post on this thread as crying or whining.But by all means don't let that keep you from doing so.

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kmat 5 years, 2 months ago

Amen logrithmic!If it was legalized, the tax revenue would be insane. What deficit? It was eliminated by all the pot heads!

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Liberty_One 5 years, 2 months ago

logrithmic, I never know who these boogeymen are that you always talk about. Your daily rants about "rightwingers" are about as relevant as someone bemoaning "commie leftwingers" or some other strawmen.

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logrithmic 5 years, 2 months ago

I find it awfully amusing the way smokers cry and whine because their addiction is being threatened. They simply fail to consider the idea that their addiction threatens the health of innocent bystanders. Pot smokers on the other hand would gladly, gladly welcome the restrictions being proposed for nicotine addicts. In fact, they'd welcome even more restrictions on their use as long as it was legal to smoke in one's own home. But the rightwing continues to deal with marijuana as a highly addictive substance when there is no proof that marijuana is either addictive or the so-called "gateway" drug to more lethal drugs. In fact, it is nicotine that is the true gateway drug. Here's an interesting article on marijuana and why it should be legal. http://www.counterpunch.org/wasserman01152009.htmlLet's hope that Obama sees the error of the "war" on drugs (why do rightwingers like that word war?).Enjoy and god bless!

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kmat 5 years, 2 months ago

I quit smoking. The ban in Lawrence helped me to decide it was finally time. Prior to quitting, I would have never said there should be a ban. BUT, now that I don't smoke and actually smell how darned disgusting it is to those that don't smoke, I have to change my opinion.notajayhawk says - "First of all, a correlation can not prove causation. While it seems intuitive to say if you put in a smoking ban, that is the cause of fewer heart attacks, it is not quite so simple - it may be that an increase in health-consciousness (including better diet and exercise, for instance) leads to both fewer heart attacks and more willingness to enact/accept smoking bans."I must say that once you quit smoking and can actually breath and taste again, you do start getting yourself in better shape. You become more health-conscious and actually want to exercise because you can do it without feeling like your lungs are about to get coughed up. So, banning smoking, which will get some to quit smoking, will end up in many cases leading to people taking better care of themselves.I must say to anyone that is thinking of quitting that Chantix is the bomb. That little pill makes it sooooo much easier. I smoked for over 20 years and was never able to kick the habit on my own. Magic little pills.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 2 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says… "What about all the lost tax revenue from the cigarettes that aren't being smoked?"I mentioned that, and there's something else which is not so obvious - if the state were to somehow save $200,000,000 in healthcare payments (some of which comes from the Fed anyway), how much would the loss be in income taxes from physicians, hospitals, etc.?If these physician/legislators are going to try to sell a ban based on saving money in Medicaid costs, someone really needs to do a thorough cost-benefit audit instead of swallowing this BS hook, line, and sinker. If they're really serious about improving people's health, then ban the sale of cigarettes in the state and take the loss. And criminalize possession of tobacco. But you aren't going to see that happen.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 2 months ago

d_prowess (Anonymous) says… "Maybe I am wrong, but did the cost savings being mentioned by a state-wide ban relate to the immediate decrease in state health insurance payments rather than the eventual saving that MIGHT come from less people subjected to smoking's adverse effects?"There wouldn't BE any savings in insurance payments until after there were less people subjected to smoking's effects (if ever).

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Liberty_One 5 years, 2 months ago

What about all the lost tax revenue from the cigarettes that aren't being smoked?

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d_prowess 5 years, 2 months ago

Maybe I am wrong, but did the cost savings being mentioned by a state-wide ban relate to the immediate decrease in state health insurance payments rather than the eventual saving that MIGHT come from less people subjected to smoking's adverse effects?

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bobberboy 5 years, 2 months ago

Da Legislators - Ahh because it's bad for you. !?

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trinity 5 years, 2 months ago

preach it, notajayhawk. i concur.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 2 months ago

I have a couple of problems with this.First of all, a correlation can not prove causation. While it seems intuitive to say if you put in a smoking ban, that is the cause of fewer heart attacks, it is not quite so simple - it may be that an increase in health-consciousness (including better diet and exercise, for instance) leads to both fewer heart attacks and more willingness to enact/accept smoking bans.Second, it's ludicrous to think a smoking ban is going to save that whole $200,000,000. Smokers will still smoke, they'll just do it outside or in their cars or wherever. If it cuts in half the number of people who die from second-hand smoke (some of them get exposed in other-than-public places, too), you aren't going to see $200,000,000 in savings.The only way you're going to see a huge savings is if a ban resulted in a significant number of people quitting smoking. But that brings up questions too: 1) How many of those people are on Medicaid? There are a lot of people smoking, getting sick, and dying that don't cost the state a dime.2) If it does make a significant dent in smoking, how much is the state going to lose in cigarette taxes? Enough to offset any savings in Medicaid?And I thought that huge settlement from the cigarette companies was supposed to be used to offset the cost of healthcare for smokers? What happened to that money?

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Clickker 5 years, 2 months ago

I always love it when a person makes a statement " I dont smoke, but I am agianst regulating smoking on principal X, Y, of Z..."yeah..right.

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tjhoops69 5 years, 2 months ago

yeah jafs, but they arent trying to stop drinking in public places......

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Liberty_One 5 years, 2 months ago

Big Brother knows best. Brothers and sisters, put out your cigarettes. OBEY.

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Gootsie 5 years, 2 months ago

red, I think you do smoke, don't you?

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madameX 5 years, 2 months ago

Some of us aren't pro smoking in public per se, just pro business being allowed to make their own decisions and customers being allowed to not patronize them if they don't like those decisions. If we got the chance to vote for or against a smoking ban I'd probably vote no on principal but with the hope that business owners realize that that there is a market for non-smoking establishments.

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jafs 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure where you find a total lack of concern about drinking.Most folks I know who are concerned about health are concerned about both smoking and drinking.

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redmoonrising 5 years, 2 months ago

I don't smoke or drink but it always amazes me the self-righteous attitude towards smoking and the total lack of concern about drinking. To me, both are equally harmful, it's just that the drunk kills quicker, you don't stand a chance of getting out of his/her way. I can always walk away from a smoker. And I wonder about the message being sent to young people about acceptable social behavior. Just a quirk of mine.

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introversion 5 years, 2 months ago

Who is pro-smoking in public in 2009? Seriously. Got kids? Know any?

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Confrontation 5 years, 2 months ago

There's no benefit to smoking or being around smokers. Bring on the ban!

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XD40 5 years, 2 months ago

None of this ever proves out in the long range studies. Generally its the opposite: smokers die earlier costing the state less.

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