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News Summary

House passes broad smoking ban; exempts casinos

Publication Date: 2008-02-19

Legislation stamping out smoking in most of Iowa's public places and businesses passed the Iowa House tonight.

Smoking would still be allowed in casinos — a controversial point that caused spirited debate among lawmakers. An effort to include state-regulated casinos in the smoking ban failed.

The proposal was approved 56 to 44. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

"Today is one of those days where we can take a step forward for workplace safety and improving the public health of all Iowans," said Rep. Tyler Olson, a Cedar Rapids Democrat.

House File 2212 would ban tobacco use in almost all public places except for casinos and a few other places, such as some hotel rooms, private homes and tobacco retail shops.

The legislation would also prohibit smoking in enclosed locations that are places of employment. Violators could be fined up to $500.

Lawmakers rejected provisions that would specifically exempt farm operations from the smoking ban as well as in restaurants and bars during times when only people 18 or older are admitted.

Groups such as the American Lung Association of Iowa support public smoking restrictions but, this week, expressed disappointment that the proposal exempts casinos.

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