Kansas lawmakers puffing about smoking ban
The Kansas City Star
The Kansas Legislature shows signs of regressing.
About a dozen House members are co-sponsoring a bill that would roll back the excellent statewide ban on smoking in public buildings and most private businesses. Their effort, House Bill 2690, would leave it up to business owners to decide whether smoking should be allowed, as long as the clientele was 21 or older.
This is moving in the wrong direction. As Mary Jayne Hellebust, executive director of the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition, told a legislative committee, lawmakers should be moving toward the exemptions written into their 2010 smoking ban law. I’d put the state-operated casinos at the top of that list. There is no reason they should be allowed smoking privileges when private businesses aren’t.
Nationally and in Kansas, research consistently shows that smoking bans dramatically improve air quality and health outcomes. Preliminary studies on the first year of the smoking ban have shown it has not overall resulted in a slippage of business for bars and restaurants. Some proprietors have moved from opposing it to applauding the ban.
Let’s hope the Kansas Legislature is too busy mulling some of Gov. Sam Brownback’s more radical proposals to move this bad idea along.