Archive for Friday, February 12, 2010

Smoking battle may hit House floor next week

February 12, 2010, 2:05 p.m. Updated February 12, 2010, 2:06 p.m.

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— A tense legislative stand-off over a statewide indoor smoking ban may erupt next week.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said Friday that supporters of a ban may try to override a proposal in a House committee that contains numerous exemptions that would allow smoking in public, indoor places.

To do that, supporters of a ban will try to pass a motion in the House to concur with a tougher ban that has already been approved in the Senate.

“The votes are very close,” in the 125-member House, Davis said.

Davis said supporters of a ban have become concerned over the “watered down” House bill.

House Bill 2642 would allow businesses, such as restaurants and bars, to allow indoor smoking if they had separate ventilation systems for smoking sections and paid a nominal fee. Clean air advocates say the bill also would overturn more than 30 local ordinances that have tighter restrictions, including the one in Lawrence.

The Senate bill would ban indoor smoking. But supporters of the House bill oppose a provision in the Senate bill that would allow smoking in state-owned casinos. They say that’s unfair to private businesses.

Gov. Mark Parkinson has said that he’s not crazy about the casino provision but said the Senate bill is far superior to the House bill, which he called a “fraud” and said he would veto.

Comments

kewlb 5 years, 6 months ago

just as i really dont care to smell somebodies farts,and other people dont wana smell mine.i dont wana smell cancer stick smoke.take it outside.i worked in the medical feild for 12 years delivering oxygen to patients,and atleast 90% were from smoking probs.I dont smoke,but i do fart occasionally,i dont expect other people to sit and smell me,and farts do not cause cancer or other health risks that smoking causes.

rewag 5 years, 6 months ago

i guess if u wouldnt go looking for farts to smell you probably wouldnt smell them.....same for cigarette smoke......i cant see how something legal to use can be made illegal.....i feel if a city passes a smokeing ban the shouldnt collect any tax dollars on the sale..lets tax something everyone uses.....toilet paper maybe? say $1.00 per roll tax......hhhhhhhmmmmmmmmm youd probably just steal it from public restrooms then

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Listening to music is legal, but not if it interferes with another's right to quiet enjoyment of their home.

Free speech is legal, but inciting to violence is not.

Swinging your hand around in public is legal, but not if it connects with someone else's face.

Etc.

There are many examples of activities which are legal in themselves but become illegal when they interfere with another's rights.

snowbird 5 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

"As to the annoyance of smoking, a compromise between smokers and non-smokers can be reached, through setting a quality standard and the use of modern ventilation technology."

There is a very good compromise available-- if you get the urge to smoke while in a public space, go outside.

That said, I think there should be an allowance in smoking bans made for a limited number of nicotine dens. They should have limited seating capacity (say 50 or less,) prohibited from selling food or having live music, and there should be a prohibition of any employee being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Sheila Martin 5 years, 6 months ago

If you want to avoid second hand smoke, stay out of places that allow smoking. OWNERS, based on the free market, decide what they want to offer in their business. As long as the State makes a fortune from tobacco, and grant sponges get a fortune in grants from nicotine replacement companies, (including KU) this hounding won't end. The object of this hysteria is, after all, NOT to ban the selling of tobacco, but to demonize users onto the products of Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer. Who also make big campaign donations.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

harley,

When the exercise of one person's freedom affects others, that is a perfectly sound place for legal/government involvement.

Our society attempts to protect all of the citizens' rights, not just yours.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Michael,

You really think the "anti-smoking" group is the one to worry about, not the "pro-smoking" one?

Tobacco companies have for years obfuscated, minimized and flat out lied in order to pretend that their products aren't addictive and harmful.

Their profits are quite high.

The fact that many are concerned about the ill effects from smoking, and being exposed to others' smoke is nothing to be alarmed about.

The fact that some companies will in fact make a little bit of money from helping folks stop smoking (if they want to) is nothing compared to the ongoing profits of the tobacco industry.

After all, when someone stops smoking, they'll stop using those products. Cigarette smokers will smoke for their entire lives - some will even continue once they get lung cancer.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

MIchael,

I completely disagree, of course, and don't think we'll change that.

Smoking has clearly been shown to be dangerous to one's health and the health of others who inhale the smoke.

I submit again that the amount of money made on helping people stop smoking pales next to the amount of money made from selling cigarettes to addicts.

And, btw, if people need to keep using those products, that is a clear indication of how addictive cigarettes are.

If you don't like how much government is making from cigarette sales, you should be glad that people are quitting(and support the products that help them do so).

I'm not sure what the comparison with fast food chains is supposed to mean.

Having grown up in a house with two heavily smoking parents, I can personally attest to the ill effects of second hand smoke.

Also, my mother died of lung cancer.

If you want to argue that people have the right to kill themselves, that's fine.

But to try to pretend that smoking, and second hand smoke, aren't harmful, is just stupid.

cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 6 months ago

Yet another chapter in the battle between the people who choose to use their freedom to put what they want into their bodies, and the people who hate them for it.

To imply that cigarrettes are not unhealthy is dishonest. To imply that smokers are unaware of this is equally dishonest.

McFadden has it right on the head. Contrary to popular belief, we do not have a constitutional right to be safe wherever we go. If I have a peanut allergy, I'm sure as heck not going into Five Guys anytime soon, but I can't sue them to make them stop giving out peanuts. They are hazardous to my health, and I avoid them as a consequence. Likewise, consumers should and will avoid smoking establishments if they choose, but it is up to the businesses to decide whom they will cater to, just as Five Guys decided that no one with a peanut allergy would ever be able to set foot in their establishment (to my knowledge, there are no outrage campaigns to take away Five Guys right to allow peanuts). We inhale more carcinogens from walking along a busy street than ever from any one second hand smoke source in the same time period. Where are the outrage campaigns for this issue? Where is the legislation that must put sidewalks at a minimum 20 feet from a street? It's right there on the floor with my anti-peanut agenda: worthless attempts to change behavior that I don't agree with.

My final 2 cents is an anecdote, and not meant to offer evidence to support any claim: I know multiple people who have been chewing nic gum for 10 + years, and are now developing dental problems from it! The ads are right, they can stop you from smoking, but they won't stop you being addicted to nicotine.

By the way, I am a lifelong non-smoker. I simply believe that freedom is more important that my comfort.

MJM: reading about your book on Amazon. Consider another copy sold!

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Michael,

I don't have any more time to spend on this.

The fact that smoking, and exposure to cigarette smoke, are harmful to one's health is clear to me.

I believe people have the right to destroy their own health, but not others.

The issue from a public policy standpoint is that certain activities are harmful not only to those who engage in it, but also those who are exposed to it.

Another example would be playing extremely loud music.

Many Americans seem very aware that our country was founded on an attempt to preserve individual rights and freedoms, but less aware that in the attempt to preserve these for all, sometimes individual freedom must be curtailed.

There are many instances in our society of this - it's illegal to incite to violence, for example, even though our First Amendment protects our right to free speech.

cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 6 months ago

Jafs: by the logic in your last post, you would then join me on my anti-peanut crusade at Five Guys, correct? The logic in the two viewpoints is almost identical, and it meets your criteria ( as I interpreted them) as a public health crisis:

-5 Guys uses their rights to endanger my health by distributing peanuts. -It doesn't harm those who engage in it, but only harms those exposed to it (does this make it worse than smoking? At least smokers get a dose of their own medicine, literally.). -5 Guys individual freedom must be curtailed to protect the public health of peanut allergy sufferers.

So, can I count on your support at the first anti-peanut5guys rally? If not, why not?

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

ct,...

Well, your analogy is somewhat flawed.

  1. Businesses do not possess individual rights, since they're not individuals.
  2. Cigarette smoke has a variety of carcinogenic substances in it - breathing it is bad for all of us, even if we don't have sensitivies or allergies.

A better analogy would be if a bunch of people wanted to go around in public grinding up peanuts and throwing the dust in the air - seems kind of silly, doesn't it?

And it still would only affect those who are sensitive/allergic to peanuts.

But, if I were trying to figure out the peanut issue, I guess I would try to look at how many people were affected adversely, and what freedom would be curtailed by restricting that.

By the way, although there is no specified right in the Constitution to go out to a restaurant without breathing cigarette smoke, there is also no specified right to smoke.

cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 6 months ago

"A better analogy would be if a bunch of people wanted to go around in public grinding up peanuts and throwing the dust in the air - seems kind of silly, doesn't it?"

Amazingly silly, but I don't think that my original idea is flawed. Businesses that serve peanuts can have peanut debris end up a good distance away, and for some people even contact with a peanut shell can trigger a lethal reaction. For the purposes of this analogy, I would argue that the effective 'range' of peanuts is at least equal to smoke, and probably greater.

"And it still would only affect those who are sensitive/allergic to peanuts."

So? Don't they have a right to breathe the same public air that you do, and enjoy the right to do it safely? Very insensitive to allergy sufferers.

"But, if I were trying to figure out the peanut issue, I guess I would try to look at how many people were affected adversely, and what freedom would be curtailed by restricting that."

Well, what freedoms would be curtailed are the freedom of a business to provide goods and services within the law. After 5 guys goes down, then we could stop any bar from serving peanuts, then we could go after the grocery store, and finally we could stop peanuts from being farmed in America for good! This is the only real way to %100 stop the suffering of peanut allergy sufferers. The entire point of the peanut tirade was to demonstrate how legislation like this is actaully not an issue of public health, but an issue of modifying behavior that some find objectionable. It is the law saying 'You'll be better off if you just think like me.' That such a message is so mainstream in a country that pretends to be a democracy is alarming. It's a one-sided war against those who want to eat peanuts, and those who hate them, just as smoking is a one sided war against people who choose to ingest what they want, and the people who hate them for it simply because they find it repulsive.

"By the way, although there is no specified right in the Constitution to go out to a restaurant without breathing cigarette smoke, there is also no specified right to smoke."

Um, by the way, this is a ridiculous and frankly alarming argument. There is no specified right for me to sit naked in my living room and eat green jello while watching Bambi, is there? If I do it, am I a criminal?

cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 6 months ago

Some important reading for barryp. I know it has lots of big words, but just stick with it! http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/deec/...

Now, can the adults with the mental capacity to construct a logical argument please talk?

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 6 months ago

The national people who swoop in on this topic remind me of a local Pretentious Cow.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

ct...

You seem to have missed my points.

I submit that the analogy between restaurants serving peanuts and smoking in public is flawed.

  1. Businesses aren't individuals and don't possess individual rights.
  2. Smoke from cigarettes is harmful to everyone, not just those who are sensitive to it.

It is still an issue, of course, if people are in serious danger while walking down the street.

And, the question of whether people should have the freedom to subject others to inhaling harmful substances while in public is most certainly a public health issue.

My last comment was in response to those who claim there is no Constitutional right to be safe while out in public, ie. at a restaurant.

That may be true, at least in a very narrow way, but it is also true for smoking.

The difficulty is in applying the principles of the Constitution to situations/issues that have come up in modern times with which the framers/founders were unfamiliar.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Michael,

I feel no need to discuss this further with you.

Smoking is harmful to smokers, and cigarette smoke if inhaled is harmful to non-smokers.

There is no legitimate issue here to debate.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

A personal story:

My mother, who was an otherwise intelligent woman, chose to smoke heavily for 30-40 years. During that time, she argued that science cannot prove "causality" - ie. that smoking "causes" lung cancer.

She got lung cancer, and even though she quit immediately after her first operation, died from it eventually.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

One more:

I grew up in a house with two heavily smoking parents.

When I became an adult and left, I lived in almost exclusively non-smoking houses, and never smoked myself.

A few years ago, I went to a chiropractor for some allergy treatments. After one of them, I smelled like cigarette smoke for several days thereafter. It seemed as though there had been some kind of residue stored in my body that was being released through my pores.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Michael,

Thank you for your comment about my mother.

Wow - that's a pretty hateful site you directed me towards. And I'm not sure why - I simply reported my experience honestly - ask my wife.

I didn't read any of your links, and based on the site I just looked at, I'm not likely to do so.

There is no legitimate issue here.

It is well known that cigarette smoke contains carcinogenic substances. When you breathe cigarette smoke, you are inhaling those substances.

To claim that breathing cigarette smoke is not harmful is to claim that inhaling carcinogenic substances is not harmful - it's an absurd proposition.

Calliope877 5 years, 6 months ago

If you know a place allows smoking, don't go there. A business should be allowed to choose for itself whether or not to permit indoor smoking.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Michael,

Again, given the hateful nature of the site I looked at from you, I'm not particularly interested in any of your other sites.

I agree, by the way, that the dangers of various toxic substances will probably vary with the levels of exposure - that's simply common sense.

However, given the levels of pollution in our air/water/earth, I see no need to increase the carcinogenic substances that I am exposed to on a daily basis.

You know, in Chicago, they had a water report that showed low levels of radioactive particles which were under the allowed maximum. Frankly, I don't think any radioactive substances should be allowed in our water supply.

It is very hard to measure/test the results of long-term exposure to a variety of harmful substances, each of which may be low in level in absolute terms.

Having breathed second-hand smoke in a variety of settings, I find it unacceptable. Based on my experiences, it seems clear to me that it is not good for one's health.

The very act of smoking in public involves putting smoke into other people's lungs - I'm not sure why anyone thinks this is ok to do.

For example, it is generally illegal to play music so loudly that others can hear it if they don't want to. This is even less of a health issue, and more of a simple comfort one. If we think that people have the right to not hear loud music, why on earth wouldn't they have the right to breathe air without cigarette smoke in it?

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Michael,

I will apologize if I misstated your position as soon as you apologize for directing me to an extremely offensive site that attempted to paint me as narcissistic, paranoid, etc. My experience with smelling like cigarette smoke was real - I am neither narcissistic nor paranoid.

My "claims" as you call them, are based on personal experience and common sense.

Laws against loud music are most definitely based on some notion of personal comfort - our society recognizes somehow that we should be able to walk down the street in public without being assaulted by loud music.

Given that, it seems reasonable to propose that we have the right to eat at a restaurant without being assaulted by cigarette smoke.

Just out of curiousity - do you smoke?

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Michael,

I apologize for inadvertently misstating your position.

  1. I have never smoked cigarettes.
  2. The chiropractic treatment was not massage.
  3. My wife called the smell to my attention.

You are free to believe it or not, but it happened - I was as surprised by it as you are.

If I (and others) have the right to eat at a restaurant without be assaulted by music or smoke, why is it wrong to ban smoking in restaurants?

And, yes, I'm not surprised to find out that you do, in fact, smoke. And it does affect your arguments, in my opinion.

  1. Smoking is known to be unhealthy, yet smokers engage in it.
  2. Smoking is highly addictive.
  3. Smokers feel (due to the addiction) that they "need" to smoke, despite the fact that there is no actual need for that.
  4. In their pursuit of filling that "need", they seem to justify activities that they most likely would not justify under other conditions.

As a group, I would possibly argue that smokers, by virtue of their addiction, and the ways in which it affects them physically and mentally, are less likely to think clearly about the issue than non-smokers.

Personally, I recommend that you quit, for your own health, and, if pertinent, for the health of your family.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Another personal story:

After my mother's death, I was staying with a lifelong friend who smokes.

He commented in passing "lung cancer sucks", and when I looked at him and said "Yes it does, so don't die from it" with the implication that he should quit smoking, he said "f*** you".

That's the kind of strange attitude smokers seem to have - my mother had just died from the disease, he commented on how it sucked, and yet when I, a lifelong friend, out of concern for him, made my comment, that was his response.

Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

missy00876 5 years, 3 months ago

Once upon a time we all had choices. We could choose to smoke, we could choose to not wear a seatbelt, we could choose to use our own free will. Thanks to the radical people and those lemmings that follow them we now have very limited choices. If I were a rational adult and knew a place I wanted to patronize allowed smoking, and I didn't want to be around it, I would logically NOT go there. How hard is it for people who don't like smoking to avoid places that still let you smoke in them? Is it not that simple, are there not hundreds of other businesses that would welcome a non-smoker? Is everyone so sensitive and crybaby like nowadays that we are so afraid they will get their feelings hurt we cower to them? If I had an alcoholic family member and didn't like drinking could I choose to not go into establishments that offered alcohol? Hmmmm, now there's a thought. I LIKE to smoke, I choose to smoke, I make choices everyday with everyone else's best interest in mind. I don't smoke around my children nor grandchildren, I don't smoke in places that allow it but others aren't smoking, I try to use some common sense. But I do NOT like that I am being discriminated against because I choose to do something that others are "sensitive" to. If you don't like it then choose not to be around it, it's quite simple don't you think?

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