The Kansas State House of Representatives passed House Bill 2221, a bill prohibiting indoor smoking for a majority of public places in the state, on Feb. 26.
The bill, more commonly called the Kansas Clean Indoor Air Act, states that “no person shall smoke in an enclosed area or at a public meeting including, but not limited to, public places, taxicabs and limousines, restrooms, lobbies, hallways and other common areas in public or private buildings, and any place of employment.”
Gov. Mark Parkinson is expected to sign the bill in Topeka tomorrow and perform ceremonial signings in Kansas City and Salina on Monday. In a statement released by the governor’s office, Parkinson said that he was happy the bill had passed. The law will go into effect on July 1.
“This is a victory for workers, families, businesses and future generations,” Parkinson said. “Today’s success took many years and many struggles, but thanks to a bipartisan coalition in the legislature, the tireless efforts of our state’s health advocates and the support of the Kansas people, this legislation will soon become law.”
While Emporia already has a comprehensive smoking ban in effect, the statewide ban has the final say if any discrepancies occur.
According to Ryann Summerford, Kansas Grassroots Manager for the American Cancer Society, the ban is several years in the making.
“We at the American Cancer Society have been working towards a clean air bill for a long time,” Summerford said. “Through our Grassroots program, which works within the Kansas Congressional districts, we have sent petitions, and emails promoting Bill 2221.”
Summerford works with around 8,000 volunteers throughout the state.
“I am proud and thrilled that our legislature had the courage to pass a secure state-wide smoke-free bill. 380 people die each year due to complications brought on by second-hand smoke,” Summerford said.
According to Summerford, the bill makes Kansas the 29th state in the union to implement a comprehensive indoor smoking ban. The bill also allows for individual cities in Kansas to pass regulations involving stricter indoor smoking bans, but the state-wide ban remains the bare minimum required of towns with no smoking ban.
Cody Grauberger, junior English major, said he feels that the ban is restricting the rights of smokers.
“I don’t smoke very much, a cigar here and there, but I think that any discriminatory action is immoral,” Grauberger said. “No matter how you candy coat it you are still forcing an entire group of people to abide by others regulations. My father has been a smoker for the better part of his life, and continues to this day. Though I do not agree fully to what he does, I stand strongly for his and others right to choose their habits.”
However, Jake Tannehill, sophomore English major, expressed that he views the smoking ban as a positive thing for the state.
“I smoke cigars occasionally, but when I do it is always outside… I guess I don’t see the benefit of smoking indoors,” Tannehill said. “It just makes it uncomfortable for those inside who don’t smoke. So I see (the smoking ban) as a good thing, a kind of win-win situation, because I don’t see a problem with smoking outside.”
The bill lists certain businesses that are exempt from the ban, including outdoor areas of any building, private homes or residences, which are not being used as a daycare home, up to 20 percent of the rentable rooms in a hotel or motel, the gaming floor of a gambling or racetrack facility, an area of an adult care home designated as a smoking area, tobacco shops and private clubs.
The fine for the first violation of House Bill 2221 is up to $100. The fine for the second violation within a one year period of the first violation is up to $200. For the third violation, and all subsequent violations within a one year period of the first violation, the fine is up to $500.