Politics & Government

May 1, 2012

Bill seeks to allow smoking in bars in Kansas

TOPEKA – A move to allow smoking in bars and other places where only people age 21 and up are allowed has been revived, drawing immediate criticism from the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association.

TOPEKA – A move to allow smoking in bars and other places where only people age 21 and up are allowed has been revived, drawing immediate criticism from the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association.

The House State and Federal Affairs Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would allow smoking in private businesses that allow only patrons and employees who are at least of legal drinking age.

The bill heads to the House floor next. But Bel Aire Republican Rep. Steve Brunk, who is chair of the committee, said it’s unlikely it will become law this year because it is so late in the legislative session and still needs approval from the House, a Senate committee and the full Senate.

Brunk, who doesn’t smoke and doesn’t like smoking, said he supports the bill for two reasons: to be consistent with state law that allow smoking in state-owned casinos and to provide for private property rights.

“Don’t take the hypocritical step to say it’s OK to smoke in state-owned- and -operated casinos if the state gets revenue from it but it’s not OK for the private sector,” he said.

Kansas banned smoking in most private businesses in 2010, and it was viewed by many in the medical community as a victory for public health. Polls have shown consistent support for the ban.

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