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Area legislators split on smoking ban legislation

Publication Date: 2008-11-12
  • Author:Austin Kaus
  • Publication:The Daily Republic

Many area legislators are expecting some incarnation of a smoking ban to appear in the upcoming legislative session, but varying answers about support for such a bill could mean the issue will be contentious.

Of the 21 legislators in The Daily Republic coverage area, eight said recently that they will support or will likely support a tighter ban on smoking, while seven said they will oppose it or will likely oppose it. Another five said they want to see the legislation before forming an opinion, and one could not be reached for comment.

Current state law prohibits smoking in most places of employment and indoor public areas, but makes exceptions for lodging, businesses primarily used for the sale of tobacco or alcoholic beverages, and businesses where alcohol is served. The Associated Press reported last week that the South Dakota Tobacco-Free Kids Network had launched a campaign to ban smoking in all businesses in the state.

Sen. Dave Knudson, R-Sioux Falls, said he has been working with the South Dakota Tobacco-Free Kids Network and intends to co-sponsor legislation that would remove exceptions for bars, restaurants and casinos. He was undecided on whether or not an exception for hotels would be included.

"I've had a longtime interest in the public health aspects of controlling tobacco use," Knudson said.

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