Next week will be an important one for proponents of smoke-free bars, restaurants and other public places in Kansas. On July 1, a statewide smoking ban will go into effect covering those areas. Governor Mark Parkinson signed the ban in March earlier this year. The law was the work of a bipartisan coalition in the House and Senate, as well as numerous doctors, nurses and health professionals.
Hotels will still be allowed to permit smoking in 20 percent of their guestrooms. That is bad news for the housekeepers who will have to clean those rooms. Many studies have proven the danger of secondhand and thirdhand smoke. Health officials in Kansas estimate that 4,000 Kansans die from smoking-related disease every year, about 300 through secondhand smoke. The Kansas Health Policy Authority estimates the smoking ban could result in more than 2,000 fewer heart attacks and a $21 million reduction in hospital charges for heart attacks alone. Unfortunately, the state exempted state-owned casinos from the smoking ban.
As of April of this year, 38 states and the District of Columbia had local laws in effect that require 100 percent smoke-free workplaces and/or restaurants and/or bars.