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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

Confrontation 5 years, 11 months ago

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

introversion 5 years, 11 months ago

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

redmoonrising 5 years, 11 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.

jafs 5 years, 11 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.

madameX 5 years, 11 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.

Clickker 5 years, 11 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.

notajayhawk 5 years, 11 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?

d_prowess 5 years, 11 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?

notajayhawk 5 years, 11 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).

notajayhawk 5 years, 11 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.

kmat 5 years, 11 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.

kmat 5 years, 11 months ago

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

notajayhawk 5 years, 11 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.

notajayhawk 5 years, 11 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.

Left_handed 5 years, 11 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.

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 11 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.

gogoplata 5 years, 11 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.

gogoplata 5 years, 11 months ago

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

beatrice 5 years, 11 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.

notajayhawk 5 years, 11 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.

jafs 5 years, 11 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.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

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

gogoplata 5 years, 11 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.

notajayhawk 5 years, 11 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.

kmat 5 years, 11 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.

Aiko 5 years, 11 months ago

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

gogoplata 5 years, 11 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

gogoplata 5 years, 11 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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