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News Summary

Smoking ban near, but rules aren't set

Publication Date: 6/25/2008
  • Author:Jason Clayworth
  • Publication:DesMoinesRegister.com, IA

A legislative leader said it is ridiculous that state health officials have not finalized rules to govern a statewide public smoking ban set to take effect Tuesday...

Health officials blamed the delay on statewide flooding and said the rules probably would be approved Friday.

The ban applies to almost all indoor public places. Smoking on restaurant patios would be included. According to a draft of the rules, the patio ban would apply to many bars. Smoking would be allowed only on patios of bars that serve food that is incidental to the consumption of alcoholic beverages, including ice, prepackaged snacks, popcorn, peanuts and reheated prepared foods that do not require assembly, such as frozen pizza.

But those rules have yet to be approved and could still be altered.

Gov. Chet Culver signed the ban April 15, and it was sent through the state's rule-making process, the objective of which is to spell out details of enforcement.

The standard rule-making process takes at least 108 days and frequently lasts six months or longer. Because the smoking ban was designed to take effect July 1, state officials accelerated the process.

Health officials were expected to vote June 11, but the meeting was canceled. Don McCormick, a spokesman for the health department, said Tuesday that the meeting has been rescheduled for Friday.