Lawrence city commissioners need to take the needed steps to preserve provisions in the city’s existing smoking ban that aren’t included in the state ban that goes into effect July 1.
The Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act is similar to the local law but there are some important differences. For instance, Lawrence has to accept the stricter state provisions on smoking near building entrances and the percentage of rooms a motel can designate for smoking.
However, if Lawrence simply repeals its law and accepts the state law, several important restrictions will be lost. Among those are the existing smoking bans in adult day cares, long-term care facilities, some private clubs and outdoor recreation facilities, such as country clubs. The state’s smoking ban also fails to cover smoking vegetation other than tobacco and may open the door to more businesses qualifying for exemptions granted to tobacco shops.
At their Tuesday meeting, commissioners will consider the differences in the state and local laws and look at their options. The best option appears to be amending the local ordinance to include provisions in the state act while maintaining the current enforcement system through the fire department and Municipal Court.
Some changes are required to conform with the state law, but we shouldn’t lose provisions in the local law that is working well for Lawrence.