Two Des Moines lawmakers are pressing to make every workplace in Iowa smoke-free, including bars and restaurants. But Representative Janet Peterson concedes their bill probably won’t become law this year. “I think we need to put it forth for the public to start…getting a dialogue going,” she says. “I think it will be an uphill battle.” She suggests Iowa legislators aren’t ready to defy the tobacco industry, whereas Peterson believes the public would support a ban on smoking in public places.
Senator Matt McCoy says it’s a health issue because there are about 60 cancer-causing chemicals in cigarette smoke. “Eighty percent of Iowans don’t smoke and want the choice of going out to eat in the evenings, or going to bars, without being subjected to second-hand smoke,” McCoy says. McCoy says the numbers are clear. “Iowa should be a smoke-free state in all bars, restaurants and businesses without many exceptions,” McCoy says.
McCoy’s “smoke-free” restrictions would not apply to private homes, hotels that provide smoking and non-smoking rooms, private clubs or nursing homes that have smoking rooms for some residents. A University of Iowa professor who has studied business trends says there’s no evidence that banning smoking in bars and restaurants is bad for business.