Archive for Thursday, May 3, 2012

Jensen urges legislators to reject bill to weaken indoor smoking ban

May 3, 2012


— Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the Kansas University Cancer Center, on Thursday tried to snuff out a proposal to weaken the public indoor smoking ban and other tobacco-related measures.

Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center.

Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center.

Jensen said weakening the smoking ban could hurt KU's efforts to get National Cancer Institute designation for the Cancer Center.

And, he said, it would be bad for the health of Kansans.

"We simply cannot go backwards," Jensen said during a briefing of legislators on KU's application for NCI designation.

Earlier this week, the House Federal and State Affairs Committee approved a bill that would allow smoking in Kansas bars. The measure, now before the full House, would allow smoking in any private business that has only patrons and employees who are at least of legal drinking age.

Kansas banned smoking in most private businesses in 2010. "Tobacco cessation has clearly been identified as the No. 1 thing we can do to improve the health of citizens," Jensen said.

The committee also has recommended at the urging of tobacco lobbyists that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment study whether the state should promote smokeless tobacco products as a way to reduce cigarette use.

Asked by legislators if smokeless products could be seen as safer than cigarettes, Jensen said "hogwash."

Of requiring KDHE to conduct a study, he said, "That would be a pretty silly waste of everybody's time."

Jensen was also asked his opinion about electronic cigarettes, which use a battery powered tube that looks like a cigarette to dispense nicotine to the user. He said nicotine produces cardiovascular problems and that electronic cigarettes are "gateways" to tobacco products.

The Senate has approved a bill that would make it illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to minors.

On the issue of NCI designation for the Cancer Center, Jensen said he was cautiously optimistic about KU's chances. Getting the designation, he said would increase the amount of research that the Cancer Center could do.

He said a committee will give the Cancer Center a score this week from its site visit earlier this year.

The NCI will probably decide this summer on whether the Cancer Center receives the designation, he said.

He said his most immediate concern was over federal budget problems and whether that would impact NCI decisions.


smartin1955 1 year, 11 months ago

The medical insurance industry supports the smoking ban because the legal discrimintion of smokers lets them jack up the prices on that group. Obese people are next, as J&J sell Splenda and the most popular lap band procedure. Then KCUU will lobby for that also, as they get grant funded by J&J thru their "Robert Wood Johnson Foundation". J&J's "war" on smokers started the day they cornered the market on Nicoderm, Nicorette, NIcotrol, and NIcoderm CQ. The "war" on sugar started the day they bought Splenda.

I would expect people in, a town full of geniuses, to do the simple math here!


smartin1955 1 year, 11 months ago

If KUCC does not deserve the designation WITHOUT being blackmailed to lobby by the NCI then KUCC doens't deserve the designation.


observant 1 year, 11 months ago

Would be nice if there was a way for business owners to determine how much potential business they lose versus how much potential business they keep due to smoking policies. Might change a lot of minds. Sales tax revenues might be a good indicator. As for myself, if I walk into anywhere and get asked smoking or non-smoking, I simply leave, so they just lost my potential business.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

Drifting smoke does in fact invade the privacy of others. Drifting smoke anywhere knows no barriers.

KCMO news interviewed some bar/grill owners who formerly argued against any ban but now after investing so much money providing outdoor smoking space they will not support any new changes. Additional comments suggested they have come to appreciate leaving work without smelling of tobacco smoke.

If my memory serves me well McCoys of Westport cut off smoking on the outdoor deck somewhat recently.

I believe the medical insurance industry backs a smoking ban. They know of the carcinogenic dangers.


toe 1 year, 11 months ago

Government is desperate to mandate human behavior. Cancer center conditioned on state smoking laws. What a joke.


Bob Harvey 1 year, 11 months ago

I knew it would come to this at some point. I have been smoke free for over 4 years and I love it. Hate the smell and thankfully keep a heck a lot of money in my pocket. That being said, I can't be a hypocrite. I believe that bar owners should have the right to determine if their establishment allows smoking. It is the patrons right to decide whether they visit that establishment.

If I looked back I am not sure if I commented those many years ago when the ban was being discussed but it would have still been my decision. There is nothing good that comes from smoking...absolutely nothing. But if I change my song now it simply would not be right.


greenworld 1 year, 11 months ago

The guy in the photo looks like Jerry Fitzgerald to me.


George_Braziller 1 year, 11 months ago

I smoke and don't have any issues with indoor smoking bans. However a lot of businesses ignore the reality there are people who smoke. It pisses me off when they don't even provide a trash can and I have to leave it in the gutter because there isn't any other place to put it.


Patricia Davis 1 year, 11 months ago

Secondhand smoke becomes a problem for everyone. The diseases of cigarette smoking is a national burden. If NYC and Dublin can ban smoking in bars, certainly Kansas can.


distant_voice 1 year, 11 months ago

For more than 50 years, I had to hack and wheeze my way through work places, restaurants, bars, and other establishments buried in a fog of smoke. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into a bar, the morons in our legislature want to re-institute smoking. Isn't this the same group who won't allow wineries in Kansas to deduct the tools of their business as farm implements? Hypocrisy reigns supreme. What else is new?


reality_check79 1 year, 11 months ago

I enjoy the occasional smoke when I am out having a drink and I don't mind stepping outside for a few minutes... It is nice walking into bars and not seeing the cloud of smoke that used to hover just above the lights...


JackMcKee 1 year, 11 months ago

The guy lighting up the cig in the cover photo...he's actually only 28 years old. Smoking ages you fast.


MichaelJMcFadden 1 year, 11 months ago

It's sad that a University cancer expert would call the notion that smokeless tobacco could be safer than smoking "hogwash." I wonder if Dr. Jensen would care to share with us how many lung cancer deaths in the US last year were due to snuff or chew products? I'll agree with him on one thing though: doing a study to determine IF smokeless tobacco is safer than cigarettes IS a waste of time.

It's interesting that he talks about "going backwards." That's the same sort of sound bite that was used by the Heart Association guy who claimed making the ban more reasonable "would set us back 10 years. It's possible he missed the lessons on calendars in grammar school, but I somehow don't think the bar ban in Kansas has been in place for 10 years.

But I understand they want the ban to stay in place, so I have a suggestion for the politicians and advocacy groups wanting the imposed ban to remain in place: Simply sign legal documentation guaranteeing from your own personal and organizational pocketbooks that you will cover any of the business losses that you swore wouldn't happen because of the ban. Go ahead, ACS, AHA, SFK, and the policritters pushing the ban: you can keep it safe and prove to the world that you tell the truth simply by putting your own money on the line instead of that of the small business owners, workers, and taxpayers.

If you're telling the truth you have nothing to lose. If you've been lying ... well ... then you'll run like a little girl from a pack of tarantulas.

My money is on the tarantulas.

Michael J. McFadden Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"


OonlyBonly 1 year, 11 months ago

Hey Jensen, If you don't like cigarette smoke do NOT, I repeat NOT, patronize locations where it is permitted. Plain and simple. Jeezzzzzzz, trying to claim a weakening of the ordinance would jeopardize the Hospital's hopes for a title is absurd - if their chance of getting recognition hinges on KS being a smoke free state they're in pretty shaky shape......


Jayhawk1958 1 year, 11 months ago

Well they say education in really poor in the rural areas...


JackMcKee 1 year, 11 months ago

What is the typical education level of the average Kansas House Member? Did any of them graduate high school?


optimist 1 year, 11 months ago

This is all about economics. Why no discussion of the healthcare and pharma lobby making money from tax payers. The department's of health from around the state purchase tons of smoking cessation patches and other products to provide free to smokers wanting to quit. The smoking ban drove this business. Sounds like profiteering to me, especially when the tax payers are footing the bill for others wether we like it or not.

What really bothers me is the lack of discussion about the role of government and it's intrusion into the lives of individuals and private business. I hate smoking and hardly ever went to restaraunts because of the smoke but I would never impose my will on others. It's simply inconsistent with American traditional values.


Orwell 1 year, 11 months ago

But… but… what about our freedom to burden the health care system and our loved ones, then die prematurely? Next thing you know, they'll be taking away our freedom to do an inward two-and-a-half from an overpass into the path of a school bus!


patkindle 1 year, 11 months ago

haters got to hate An energy businessman is donating a record $35 million to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History to build a new dinosaur hall on the National Mall, the museum complex announced Thursday.

The donation by David H. Koch, the executive vice president of Koch Industries Inc. of Wichita, Kan., is the single largest gift in the museum's 102-year history. The Smithsonian Board of Regents voted Monday to name the new dinosaur hall in Koch's honor

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