Archive for Thursday, June 5, 2008

Smoking ban bill to be back in 2009

June 5, 2008

To the editor:

Senate Bill 660, a statewide indoor smoking ban bill, was approved in the Kansas Senate Ways and Means Committee on March 24. Although it did not get debated or voted upon again in the Legislature this session due to time constraints, a new version will again 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 is 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 costs due to those same diseases.

The Surgeon General's study defines very well the problems of secondhand smoke. Also, with both a national and international trend of indoor smoking ban laws, it is time for Kansas to join those ranks.

David Wysong

Senator, 7th District, Mission Hills

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