The sound of loud applause, Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson signed into law a statewide smoking ban Friday that goes into effect July 1.
Smoking will be prohibited in all restaurants, bars and workplaces - except state-run casinos.
Parkinson said signing the bill was one of his happiest moments as governor.
"Today we proved the system can work," he told a gathering of lawmakers and citizens who came to watch him sign the bill. "... Kansas won, the special interests lost, and Kansas got the clean air is deserves."
He thanked the lawmakers who worked for years to slowly advance the smoking ban, giving special congratulations to former Sen. David Wysong, a Mission Hills Republican who made the smoking ban a personal crusade. Wysong, who left the Senate last year, stood next to Parkinson when he signed the bill this morning in the Statehouse.
"This pen belongs to Sen. Wysong," Parkinson said.
Wysong said he promised himself that he would make the smoking ban a priority after his sister-in-law passed away from smoking-related cancer. He just didn't think it would take nearly five years to pass.
"It was the hardest thing I ever did," he said of his efforts to pass the ban. "... This will save hundreds and hundreds of lives."
Parkinson, speaking with reporters after the signing, said he personally dislikes the exception for state-run casinos, but has no current plans to push to close the loophole.
"I think it's hypocritical," he said.