Archive for Thursday, June 5, 2008

Indoor smoking ban needed

June 5, 2008

Senate Bill 660, a statewide indoor smoking ban measure, was approved March 24 in the Kansas Senate Ways and Means Committee. Although it did not get debate or a vote in the legislative session just completed because of time constraints, a new version of the bill will be introduced on the first day of the 2009 session.

A letter by me, along with a copy of a letter written to each legislator by past U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona and a reference map of what neighboring states have legislated was mailed to each Kansas legislator after adjournment. The letter requested that each legislator spend some time understanding the issue and that smoking was no longer a social issue, but one of health.

Eighty percent of Kansans do not smoke, yet $1 billion is spent by them on tobacco-related diseases each year. As well, $200 million in taxpayer dollars is spent on Medicaid cost because of those same diseases.

Many major proponents of S.B. 660 work in healthcare-related fields.

A U.S. Surgeon General's study defines very well the problems of second-hand smoke. Also, with a national and international trend of indoor smoking bans, it is time for Kansas to join those ranks.

David Wysong

Kansas senator, 7th District

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