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News Summary

Alaska Senate passes smoking ban bill

Publication Date: 2016-03-30
  • Author: Austin Baird

S.B. 1 passes 15-5, still needs approval from House, governor

Alaska on Wednesday took one step closer to becoming the thirty-first state with a statewide ban on smoking in public places, as the Senate approved S.B. 1, 15-5.

Under the measure sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, smoking tobacco or using e-cigarettes is prohibited in any enclosed public place, including places of employment, apartment buildings, hotels, and at schools and universities.

"The number one health issue that we treat in the State of Alaska are tobacco-related illnesses," Micciche said in an interview. "We're asking Alaska employers to protect their employees."...

But in the end, three-quarters of senators supported expanding the restriction, along with various public health groups.

A survey of 1,345 registered Alaska voters, conducted by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network from December 30 to January 7, suggested that 69 percent favor prohibiting smoking indoors in public places compared to 28 percent in opposition.

Dr. Paul Ho, a Fairbanks cardiologist writing on behalf of the American Heart Association, said that state healthcare costs would decrease and businesses would benefit from the change...