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News Summary

Panel eyes exemptions to state's smoking ban

Publication Date: 2010-03-18
  • Publication:Witchita Eagle

Less than a week after the governor signed an indoor smoking ban into law, House committee members were considering changes to the prohibition.

House Bill 2741 would move the date when most of Kansas would go smoke-free back six months to Jan. 2, 2011, from the current July 1 date.

The bill, which had a sparsely attended, last-minute hearing Wednesday in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, would also reduce the distances people had to be from entryways and windows to smoke at some bars to 3 feet instead of the current 10 feet.

The measure also would create an exemption for nonprofit organizations to hold cigar- or smoking-related events, such as Father H. Setter's annual fundraisers in Wichita.

The changes "would weaken the bill and reduce the public health benefit we were anticipating," said Chris Masoner of the American Cancer Society, who testified Wednesday.

Some provisions in the new bill, which was introduced on Monday by the House committee, could create more problems, he said.