A proposal to ban smoking in public places has fired up at the Statehouse again.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee heard Monday from those for and against a ban, before sending a measure on to the full Senate for debate.
The bill would ban smoking at most public places, including restaurants, taxi cabs and at least 80-percent of a hotel's rooms. Exceptions include a yet to be opened casino in southeast Kansas and designated smoking areas of adult care homes.
The Kansas Health Policy Authority, which included a statewide smoking an among its health reform recommendations, applauded the committee's decision.
“Tobacco-related illness generates nearly $930 million in health care costs every year in Kansas; $196 million of that amount is within the Medicaid program alone. But the monetary cost is not the biggest price we pay - each year, 4,000 of our fellow Kansans die from the use of tobacco," KHPA said in a statement. "Considering that the implementation of the ban will be of virtually no cost to the State, the Senate Ways and Means Committee has shown a great deal of foresight in planning for a healthy Kansas."
The ban is more restrictive than a bill still sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee. That bill was amended to include an exception for bars. It also required each county to vote on whether to be included in the ban.
A date for Senate debate is not yet set.
The smoking ban proposal is SB660.