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Do you think Kansas would benefit from a statewide smoking ban?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on January 18, 2007

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Photo of Heather Rose

“I guess so, but I sort of have mixed feelings about it. I feel like it shouldn’t be prohibited in bars that don’t serve food.”

Photo of Scott McClure

“Yes. I guess I’m in favor of anything that promotes healthier people.”

Photo of Philip Chiles

“It could be a benefit in terms of public health, but I’m not convinced that secondhand smoke is as harmful as they say it is. It definitely wouldn’t benefit the businesses.”

Photo of Lauren Vossen

“I think it would, but it would probably benefit the nonsmokers the most.”


rollcar 11 years, 3 months ago

There are very few activities in which one can participate in public that have a disgusting and potentially dangerous effect on those around them, but smoking is one of them. If getting your precious nicotine fix is that important to you, let me introduce you to a little something called Skoal. Of course, then people will argue for their right to spit on my shoe.

KS 11 years, 3 months ago

It is a legal product. You want to ban smoking in public places, ban the sale! That will never happen. The state gets too much tax from tobacco. I am not a smoker. The State of Kansas is a hypocrite on this matter.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

Second hand smoke can kill, but there is no such thing as second hand eating. Why must people always combine the two as if they are one and the same? Other countries have shown they are willing to believe science -- why not our nation? Like evolution, I guess the jury is still out on cancer for some folks.

Not just Kansas, but the nation! Smoke at home if you want to. There are plenty of things you can do at home that you can't do in public, and smoking should be one of them.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 3 months ago

Landlords are banning smoking in some places maybe for insurance reasons.

southerngirl 11 years, 3 months ago

I am not a smoker and I don't like to be around someone who is smoking, but what is next? Will they ban my beloved diet cokes because they are bad for me? How about junk food? When and where does personal responsibility come in? Have a wonderful day everyone! d

doc1 11 years, 3 months ago


trinity 11 years, 3 months ago

ok is anybody ELSE ready for a new ots question?? is it just me or have we been beating this dead horse quite a bit lately?? aggggghhhhhhh!

ots question for today; what would YOU do for a Klondike bar?


sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

I have to agree with others: if you want to go this route, don't just ban the use. Ban the sale. Banning smoking but allowing the sale of cigarettes is just a weak halfway effort. It's not even a compromise.

This makes me think of the fireworks shops clustered around the Michigan/Indiana and Michigan/Ohio borders. You can buy "illegal" fireworks, but you have to promise not to use them in that state. (At least, that's how it worked last I knew. It has been a few years.)

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

Trinity, I would smoke in public in Kansas while voting for Obama for president ... for a Klondike bar.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 3 months ago

T, I would only post during working hours and not on breaks, being a "state" employee, for a Klondike bar.

OR I would buy *** some valium, for a Klondike bar.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

I think the benefit would come from extra taxes for special permits and fines for smoking in non smoking areas.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 3 months ago

What you said Buddha!!

America, Land of the Free*

*Some restrictions apply. Void where prohibited.

sharron5rs 11 years, 3 months ago

BIG BROTHER IS COMMING!!!!! The only thing I see from banning smoking is less income for establishments that they have already banned smoking in. Why not ban drinking? More people are killed from drunk drivers than secondhand smoke. I get tired of reading about smoking. Lets start a NEW subject already!!!

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 3 months ago

The non-smokers ARE staying away along with a large portion of the smokers, at least from the bars!! They may be frequenting the restraunts more, but that isn't doing anything for taverns whose businesses are truly suffering. I agree about non-smoking in restraunts, but not bars.

optimist 11 years, 3 months ago

There are tens of thousands of lives lost commuting to work each year. Should we ban automobiles? Let's stop using "public safety" and "public good" as an excuse for denying others their freedom. Those of you in favor of the government interfering in the personal decisions of average American's should at least have the courage to acknowledge that is what it is. For this reason extending to a statewide bane would be an even worse travesty.

I don't like being around smokers myself. I rarely if ever go out to eat at restaurants, especially those with bars as they tend to attract more smokers. That is however my choice as it is the choice of the restaurant owner to allow smoking and cater to that demographic. I don't believe I have the right to deny people the use of a legal product in a venue open to the public when allowed by the owner of the private venue. In that case the government acting on behalf of some or even a majority does not automatically make it a reasonable intrusion even for "public safety" reasons.

I caution all of you to take note that nearly every controversial decision undertaken by legislatures or the judiciary was passed under the pretense of "public safety", "public good" or "equal protection". Anytime these arguments are used we should be skeptical as the Constitution and its intent are slowly being eroded.

Roadkill_Rob 11 years, 3 months ago

I have mixed feelings about this issue but I wish people would stop using the argument: "Why don't they ban fatty foods, since it's bad for me too!"

That's not the point. It's a secondhand smoke issue; not a personal rights can walk 20 feet to the front door and smoke a cigarette outside w/out a problem.

I also don't like the argument, "If you don't like the smoke, don't go to the establishment!" Well, sometimes there is a band that comes to town and they don't play anywhere else. It's nice to be able to enjoy a show w/out watery eyes.

Like I've said before, I'm an ex-smoker and even when I did smoke, I preferred to go outside. It really isn't a big deal.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

Actually, I'd be all for a ban on Diet Coke. Can't stand it.

One time, a friend of mine ordered a Coke, and they brought him a Diet Coke. You should have seen the look of disgust on his face when he took a drink.

gyroduck 11 years, 3 months ago

Yes and as for what other people think, I just plain don't care.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

"I also don't like the argument, 'If you don't like the smoke, don't go to the establishment!' Well, sometimes there is a band that comes to town and they don't play anywhere else. It's nice to be able to enjoy a show w/out watery eyes."

You know, I'm not at all a fan of smoking, but that's not exactly a convincing argument. I don't think you have an overwhelming "right" to be able to see any show in town without encountering smoke.

I'm not saying smoking is a good thing; I'm just saying there are far better arguments and reasons than that one.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

So, if we ban smoking, and then allow establishments to buy a special permit that will allow smoking, and then put an additional tax on smoking products, we can increase tax revenue on smoking.

Also, we should ban all fast food places from serving anything that takes longer than 2 min. to cook. After all fast food should be fast and I hate standing in line for too long to get my food. I dont mind that it clogs my arteries and causes health problems I just want it the way I want it.

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

"You've come a long way baby......"

Washington state banned smoking in all establishments and 25 feet from any doors or windows.

Less freedom for smokers, but much more enjoyable to go out.

With the 25 foot restriction, no 'smoking area' second hand smoke in any building.

BorderRat 11 years, 3 months ago

Watch for the loopholes. I'll bet the ban will allow smoking in a Casino. Can you say State Tax Revenue?

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years, 3 months ago

There is a huge difference between someone choosing to smoke themselves and subjecting others to harmful second hand smoke. Just like alcohol, if someone chooses to use tobacco despite the health warnings, go ahead and make that personal decision. But don't make it for anyone else. It is no one's right to knowingly subject other's to these irreversable adverse health effects for a few minutes of nicotine pleasure. Just like it is illegal to drink and drive because you will harm others, but feel free to drink responsibly.

Don't ban the sale, but ban the effects from harming others in public.

ms_canada 11 years, 3 months ago

My city has had a total ban on smoking in any public place for 2 years now and it seems to be working. It started gradually. About 4 years ago a ban was placed on restaurants deemed family restaurants. Children allowed, smoking not allowed. Patrons could still smoke in restaurants but no children allowed. That worked ok and then came the total ban even in bars. All public places. We have a street in a certain location that is very trendy and popular with neat shops and neater bars. One enterprising pub rented a large bus and parked it out front on cold winter nights and pub crawlers could repair to the bus for a ciggy and then back inside. That worked ok, too. Haven't heard anything about it this year. In London, England there has been no smoking for many years in pubs, so the patrons spill out into the street with their glasses of bitter or lager in 1 hand and a cig in the other hand. It can be rather a nuisance for those passing by on the sidewalk. Otherwise it works ok.

JumporFall 11 years, 3 months ago

What I do not understand (maybe someone can explain) is why it is not up to the owner of the establishment whether or not smoking should be allowed. After all, it is their business, right?

ohjayhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Second day in a row where the OTS questions hits on a topic that has just been implemented in Ohio. So far, it has been a big mess. The latest hitch is that private clubs (i.e. VFW's) are not exempt from the law. If a private club has employees (either paid or unpaid), they must abide by the non-smoking ban. They are not too happy with that.

However, enforcement, once it begins (another hitch... enforcement was supposed to start Dec. 7, will be complaint driven. They will not be going out looking for violators. Someone would have to complain for a violation to be punished. Therefore, I imagine many private clubs (and some public establishments) will try to sneak under the radar and allow smoking.

And yes, sgt, it is still the case in Ohio that you can buy fireworks, but must "promise" you will set them off elsewhere... boggles the mind.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

Well, TOB, those who opposed the fireworks industry have found themselves waking up next to a lit fuse in a warehouse full of fireworks.

Ohjay, I always enjoy getting to the border and seeing the giant "FIREWORKS" signs next to those run-down buildings.

ohjayhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

T_O_B - The real kicker is that these fireworks stores aren't just on the borders. They are all through the state, meaning a person who buys fireworks there would have to travel about 2 hrs just to be outside the state!

ohjayhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

sgt - Yeah, the buildings definitely give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, don't they?

rollcar 11 years, 3 months ago

I am a property owner in Lawrence (my private residence). Is it up to a me as a property owner to decide whether to allow public urination on my property in plain view of passersby?

No, it is not. Peeing is a perfectly legal activity, but with certain societal restrictions, and rightfully so.

In the best interests of the public at large, there are matters that can not be left up to the discretion of property owners.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

TOB, "If you go with Bea's point, then just make cigs illegal." What the ...? I never said that. I think if someone wants to smoke, they can. Just don't do it near me. Smoke at home. Give the kids cancer. Whatever. Just don't do it where you could give me cancer. That is all.

optimist: "There are tens of thousands of lives lost commuting to work each year. Should we ban automobiles? Let's stop using "public safety" and "public good" as an excuse for denying others their freedom." So, are you opposed to the laws on the books now that govern how cars are to be safely used? If we don't ban cigs in public, should we get rid of laws about drinking and driving? Get rid of laws on speeding? It isn't making cigs illegal, just as cars aren't illegal. It is about making things safer for everyone. You can't drink and drive legally because it could cause harm to others, just as you shouldn't be allowed to smoke near others in a public area.

As always, I ask -- should smoking be banned while filling up at the gas station? Sure, people might blow up, but isn't it the station owner's business and shouldn't he decide? See how silly that argument is?

Roadkill_Rob 11 years, 3 months ago


I'm just saying, as a non-smoker, why do I have to find a different place to go b/c a place is smoky? There are numerous reasons I like to go to certain bars so why does a smoker have an "overwhelming right" to blow smoke in my face?

Why not go outside? It's not that hard to do. Like I said, nobody has to quit smoking in the city limits. People are acting like they're being put in concentration camps over this issue.

This will soon be a nationwide ban so you might as well get used to it. I'm sorry, I guess I don't get too sympathetic for smokers, even though I was one.

C'mon, guys, is it really a big deal to step outside?

deec 11 years, 3 months ago

Actually the act of smoking a previously lit cigarette while fueling up is a low risk action. Back before they put stickers on the gas pumps, people smoked while pumping gas frequently, and there was no epidemic of exploding gas stations. Ditto cell phones. Many regulations are more about liability than safety, such as the one I saw once about not using the newly-purchased hammer to hit one's fingers.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

Rob, I know what you're saying. My point is that you're taking the argument well out of the health concern arena -- which does have some validity -- and into the "because I want to go there, that's why" arena, which really goes both ways. You want to go somewhere without smoke; maybe someone else wants to go somewhere with smoke. Do you see what I'm saying? That argument just says you want something, and others could level that same argument right back at you. We all want something.

Again, I'm not arguing that smoking is good; I'm just saying your argument is not the right one.

stupidsystemwithphoneynames 11 years, 3 months ago

Worried about the chemical in cigarette smoke?

Want to ban the Alkanes (linear, branched or cyclic); Aldehydes and other carbonyls (e.g. formaldehyde, acrolein, etc) Alkenes (e.g. 1,3 butadiene) Aromatic hydrocarbons (e.g. benzene) Polycyclic romatic hydrocarbons Inorganic gases (carbon monox -ide, nitrogen dioxide) Heavy metals (some detected in both mixtures) and Acids (mostly organic acids)?

THEN DO IT BAN THOSE CHEMICALS - but you just banned your gasoline burning car and don't forget the diesels which also spew out the same chemicals as tobacco (Aza-arenes and N-heterocyclic amines)

Guess you will QUIT DRIVING right? Stop pollutting the air with those nasty chemicals that cause cancer?

Over 600,000 people die annually from obesity and its related illnesses (diabetes, heart disease etc) and the number is going up expontentially each year. About 40,000,000 million people smoke and less than 1% (400,000) die from respiratory illnesses due to smoking. 20% of people with lung cancer never smoked - guess it was caused by your car's exhaust then, eh?

Guess we better ban potato chips, fried food, gravy, pop, candy and all the junk those obese couch potatoes suck down.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

Instead of banning smoking, why not put a $5.00 fee on all lighters and matches.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

TOB: "Hugs and Kisses."

Are you distributing Hershey's chocolate now? If so, you are my hero for today.

Roadkill_Rob 11 years, 3 months ago


I see what you're saying, but if I want to be at the same place as a smoker, why do they get the leverage by claiming it's their personal right. Yeah, we both want to have our way, but I don't think it's that much to ask a smoker to have some common courtesy and go outside.

Most smokers don't have the common courtesy and don't go outside even w/out a ban.

I guess I'm kind of sick of smokers' rights. If I want to take a 5 minute break at work every hour, I'm looked upon as lazy whereas a smoker is excused. Yeah, those poor smokers are so repressed.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 3 months ago

RI, if the weather in KC cooperates, I'll be back from my 16 day junket to Bangalore on and the spousal unit can go on a date then.

ip, beat a dead horse? I'll one up you. I'll beat a dead trap-door buffalo for a Klondike bar. :P

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

Rob: you're the one asking for leverage right now. Not the smokers. You want the leverage to point them out the door. I think it's worth noting that you're asking for superior leverage over smokers, not equal leverage.

That said, I don't enjoy frequenting smoky venues, so I tend to avoid them. I understand what you want, and I'm not entirely against it; I just don't want to pound my fist, raise my voice and make my demands simply because they're my demands.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

I want to open a bar and restaurant in a lovely, free-standing wooden structure. Since I love the freedoms of my country so much, I want to put on a patriotic dinner show that includes shooting off fireworks. Indoors. The customers will like it and they, along with the potential employees, say they don't mind the health risk of possibly dieing from second-hand fire. Should I be allowed to open according to this business plan? If not, why not, and how does this differ from allowing smoking -- except for the obvious expediancy of death from second-hand fire over second-hand smoke? Should people be allowed to bring their children into my "Fireworks for Freedom" bar and grill? Should the fireworks only be allowed in the bar section of the establishment, or can they be in the family part of the restaurant? We also serve dinner on lead-based painted plates, all on the up and up. My business, my rules -- right?

If I own a business, should I have to take any precautions, ever, for the long and short term safety of customers and employees? Where do you draw your line?

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

Second-hand fire. I love that.

Also, bea, I think your comparison would be better if you had it so you allowed customers to bring their fireworks into the bar and set them off.

I'm just saying.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

With all the talk about illegal unions and local burger, I seem to have lost time to worry about people smoking.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

sgt, customers bringing in their own fireworks ... Brilliant! You know, I could use a business partner, and with your keen mind ...?

Only problem I'm now having is trying to find an insurance carrier.

sc: "You can drink yourself to death, or go and get in your car and kill a bunch of people, so should they ban drinking in bars?" No, but they should "ban" drinking and driving, which, in fact, they have. Same goes with smoking in public places.

Luxstarness 11 years, 3 months ago

Yes I do think there should be a state wide smoking ban. Why do I have to suffer when I leave my house due to someone else's problem? I should not have to smell like stinky smoke when I leave a restaurant, or a bar or anywhere. The smokers made the choice to smoke and therefore should deal with the repercussions of that habit. They should not be able to oppose there habit on me, because lets face it if you smoke you are not only affecting yourself but every single person that walks by and that's being selfish. I also think that smokers who throw their nasty butts on the ground or out their window should be fined and given a ticket. Look what their habit does... Its sure beautiful walking downtown or on campus until you look down at the ground, littered by all the cigg butts of people who are so irresponsible that they could not just put it out and place in the trash. So YES to a smoking ban, and YES to no smoking everywhere!

Roadkill_Rob 11 years, 3 months ago


How is requiring a smoker to go outside "superior leverage?" The smoker only has to stay outside the duration of the cigarette (5-7 minutes) then they can come back in.

However, in the opposite case, I have to deal w/ personal misery the entire duration I'm in the smokey bar.

Is going outside too much to ask? I don't think so.

ohjayhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

bea - If you take T_O_B's advice and decide to "buy Ohio", I'd be happy to pick up some fireworks for you! Of course, getting them to you brings up a whole bunch of other issues since most carriers (UPS, FedEx, USPS) ban the transportation of fireworks. :(

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

I think business owners should be able to buy a permit, just like a liquor license, and allow tobacco in their establishments.

Proper ventilation, clear signage, etc.

Employees who don't like smoke, won't choose to work in those establishments.

People opposed to nudity don't usually apply at The Flamingo Club to work.

jonas 11 years, 3 months ago

Oh man. . . . . infuriating.

I don't have the energy to be this angry. I'll catch you all later.

I'm still quit, by the way. If I didn't smoke in the last 30 hours, then I think I've got it licked.

swamp_rat 11 years, 3 months ago

sun-sue goes to show, when you're on vacation, you're not really away! Aaah, technology. Have fun with your dolphins.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

TOB, I prefer "smack-down" rather than "outburst."

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

Rob, as long as you believe that your comfort in a place you simply want -- not need -- to go is paramount in this discussion, we will not see eye-to-eye.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

TOB, it was just a general statement, not a matter of my mind set here.

I think RI needs a hug. (RI)

mr_daniels 11 years, 3 months ago

I am smoking as I write this. And I will enjoy a cool menthol anytime I want and blow kool smoke rings whenever I f'n wish. Come and get me all you PC Liberal Swine! If ya dare!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 3 months ago

ip, I've been offered the chance to buy many things here in Bangalore...and what the hubby was offered in "the men's room" left me laughing for a good long while!

deec 11 years, 3 months ago

Worse than stepping in a big loogie-stepping on a used condom.

Liberty 11 years, 3 months ago

People should not be servants to government. Governments are to be the servants of the people.

Since the government is the servant of the people, the Kansas government can only make laws from the authority given them by the people of Kansas, which are within the scope of the Kansas Constitution (the rule book for the Kansas State Government). Since the Kansas Constitution does not authorize the authority to government to create any bans, any such attempt would be considered illegal and unconstitutional by the people of Kansas, who is the authority of the State of Kansas government.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago


The politicians dont want to get rid of smoking. Think of the tax revenue the get from allowing the sale of smokes. They only want to tell you when and how you can smoke.

A smoking ban will require additional taxes, additional permits, allow for tickets to be written for breaking ordinances, these tickets will increase income for the cities and county governments.

Anyone who thinks smoking will ever be illegal is wrong. They will even be able to write you a ticket for smoking in your car. Imagine having to close your windows and blinds to smoke in your house. They know smoking is an addiction. Addictions can be taxes and regulated

gc610588 11 years, 3 months ago

Big Brother rises again!

We have a similar problem here in Indiana, regarding smoking bans in our local restaurants and bars.

Some of the business owners, (and thank God) are fighting this useless law in court!

For one, alcohol and cigarettes are legal. (the logic behind this still overwhelms me) But nevertheless, it is!!! It's just another legal "wet dream" for the attorneys to get together, and once again, blow the taxpayers money to kingdom come!!! Here in Hoosierland, we have had smoking/non smoking rooms in our restaurant and bars, for a great number of years now, with no major complaints.

Secondly, I wonder how much the government is doing to help business owners pay their taxes on their establishments, help find affordable health care for their employees, paying for the maintenance and upkeep on their premises each year. I'm sure most business owners would like to concentrate "solely" on growing their business, instead of needlessly ducking the almighty hand of big brother!!!

Just remember, your local businesses are the key to your local economic engine. There are still several communities around this country that accept people for who they are. (and they just might take their business somewhere else!!!)

I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs!!! But I sure as hell wouldn't tell my local business owner how to run his/her business EITHER!!!

If the business owner thinks it's a good idea, let them make the decision...NOT BIG BROTHER!!! i'M SURE THEY HAVE ENOUGH WORRIES OF THEIR OWN!!!

p.s. make sure you buckle up too!!!!


denak 11 years, 3 months ago

As someone who is severely allergic to cigarette smoke, I am all for the ban. I have lived in this town for 10 years, and before the ban, going into a resturant was always a risk. There were several times where I could not finish a meal with my family because of the effects of the smoke even though we were seated as far away from the "smoking" section as possible. Now, I don't have to worry about that. My allergies do not stop anyone from smoking but smoking stops me from enjoying time with my family and friends. The ban on smoking isn't as detrimental to your quality of life as your smoking is to my quality of life.

As for buisness "hurting" because of the smoking ban. Since the ban went into effect, I haven't heard of one bar or resturant that has gone out of buisness, stictly and solely, because of the ban. There are all kinds of safety, sanitary and establishment laws that bars and resturants have to abide by in order to operate because those laws, however cumbersome, are for the good of the general public. People who want to go out to bars are still going to go to a bar. People who want to go to a resturant are still going to go to a resturant.
It is that simple.

As for the whole "obesity/junk food" debate, it isn't really comparable.

People are obese for a number of reasons. The primary one in this country is our lack of movement. We don't excerice or even move a lot anymore. Our towns aren't built to encourage walking and outdoor activities. That is the primary reason people are fat in this country.

Secondly, there are genetic and hormonal disorders that contribute to a person being obese.

Smoking is a choice. However, for some, getting "fat" isn't.

Furthermore, unlike cigarette smoke, I have never heard of anyone getting sick because there was a fat person sitting across the room from them. Smoke travels through the air. Fat doesn't. Maintenance people spend half their day picking up cigarette butts that have been thrown on the ground. Haven't heard of anyone picking up gobs of fat.

As I have walked down Mass. street, I have been hit with cigarette butts. I've never been hit with fat.

Smoking is a choice. And contrary to what some belive, the government does have a right to step in and regulate in the interest of public health. (ie the FDA, OSHA, mandatory vaccinations for children)

As far as I'm concerned, this ban doesn't present any undue hardship on the bar owners nor on the smokers themselves. If a person wants to smoke, they can step outside or simply abstain until they lhe or she leave a resturant.

So I am all for the smoking ban and I would favor it being state wide.


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