Topeka Gov. Mark Parkinson on Friday said he would veto a House bill that would establish a statewide ban on smoking in indoor public places but allow numerous exemptions.
Parkinson called House Bill 2642 “a ridiculous piece of public policy that is nothing but a fraud.”
Parkinson said he wants a statewide ban on smoking in public places like one already approved by the Senate.
A hearing on the House bill is scheduled for Wednesday before the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Under the measure, restaurants, bars and clubs could continue to allow smoking if there are separate smoking and non-smoking areas. Also, businesses could purchase exemptions. In addition to allowing exemptions, the bill would also overturn local anti-smoking ordinances, such as the one in Lawrence.
Parkinson said he expected a “meaningless” smoking ban to be introduced during the legislative session, but that this one was even worse than he imagined.
“The most meaningful thing the Legislature can do this year is pass a real smoking ban,” he said.
Parkinson’s comments came during and after a news conference on National Wear Red Day, which tries to raise awareness about heart disease among women.
State health and American Heart Association officials noted that a recent study showed that communities with smoking bans see a decrease in heart attacks.
In 2008, more than 4,200 women died of cardiovascular disease in Kansas — nearly 1 out of 3 of all female deaths. Risk factors for heart disease included exposure to tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes.
A national study released Friday re-affirmed that indoor smoking bans increase the health of Americans.
“Exposure to secondhand smoke must be eliminated,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. “Smoke-free laws are one of the most readily available and cost-effective methods to reduce health care costs, and prevent heart attacks and heart disease–related illness and death.”