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Keep public smoking ban in Kansas

Publication Date: 2011-05-10
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Kansas City Star

The progress Kansas made last year to prohibit smoking in public places should not be thwarted by lawmakers at the tail end of the current legislative session.

Kansas already was behind many other states when it banned smoking in restaurants, bars and many other public spaces in 2010. Unfortunately, that bill still allows smoking to harm workers and customers in selected private clubs, tobacco shops and on gambling floors of state-owned casinos.

This year some legislators hope to expand the list of exemptions to include hundreds of bars and restaurants in cities and counties without strong local smoke-free rules — such as Kansas City, Kan., and Wichita. Any new exemptions, though, would not affect Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa and other cities that have their own tough laws.

Carving out more exemptions is not warranted. The ban is protecting the public’s health across the state while not financially damaging most bars and restaurants. Lawmakers should reject any step to weaken the smoke-free law.