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Kansas Governor Endorses Statewide Public Smoking Ban

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By Kamika Dunlap on March 02, 2010 7:15 AM

Public health advocates hope they can continue to rely on support from Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson to boost their ongoing campaign for a statewide public smoking ban.

During his most recent annual State of the State address, Gov. Mark Parkinson gave his endorsement of a strong statewide public smoking ban.

The Kansas Health Institute reported that Gov. Mark Parkinson's supported such a measure, defending it as not a radical idea, and noting the many states that have enacted similar bans.

Last year, Topeka banned smoking in bars and restaurants but not tobacco.

The smoking ban was one of three policy initiatives Parkinson will promote this year.

Still many hurdled before a bill was passed this year.

Kansas legislators have seriously considered statewide rules on smoking for the past five years as local governments have enacted ordinances.

But some residents see a ban as too much meddling in their lives. Moreover, some don't even want local governments to impose restrictions.

Business owners argue there are places where people expect to be able to smoke and if they can't then they won't have any customers.

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson proposed increasing sales and cigarette taxes to solve a $400 million budget deficit the state faces this spring.

Twenty-four states ban smoking in restaurants and bars including Colorado and Nebraska, which neighbors Kansas, according to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation.

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