The Iowa Supreme Court this week ruled in favor of a group of bar and restaurant owners and struck down the no-smoking ordinance passed just months ago by the city of Ames. The high court said the town’s ordinance took more power than it’s allowed away from existing state rules. Julie Coster in the Grinnell Smoking Alliance says that means clean-air advocates need to take a new tack. They need to change their focus and work on a statewide law that would ban smoking. Coster’s also a therapist in the cardio-pulmonary department at Grinnell Regional Medical Center, and she says Boston, New York City, Florida and California have passed successful no-smoking laws. The sad thing, she says, is that while her group works with lawmakers on making the slow change, the death rate from secondhand smoke every year is 500 people a year. Coster says it’s been difficult to get lawmakers to take what they see as a drastic move, but this week’s ruling may make it clearer that a statewide law is the solution to clearing the air. They’ve been hesitant to get involved but they may listen now. Coster says restaurants in Grinnell that chose on their own to ban smoking have reported no problems.
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