The Iowa Senate has just rejected the idea of a statewide smoking ban that would still allow smoking in restaurants, bars and casinos that serve alcohol and keep kids under the age of 21 out during smoking hours. That is what the Iowa House endorsed Wednesday, but Senator Staci Appel, a Democrat from Ackworth, suggests that’s not much of a smoking ban.
“It does nothing to protect the health of those who patronize or have to work in these establishments,” Appel said. According to Appel, the fatal flaw in the latest House version of a statewide smoking ban was the attempt to allow smoking in bars and restaurants that declare themselves forbidden zones to those under the age of 21.
“Second-hand smoke knows no age limits. It doesn’t discriminate at all by age. Age really has nothing to do with it,” Appel said. “Allowing smoking in (21-and-under) establishments doesn’t protect patrons or workers. The Surgeon General says there there is no safe level of exposure for anyone at any age.” Senators met in private to discuss the issue for over an hour, but then returned to the senate floor and quickly voted just after 11:30 this morning to reject the House proposal.
Only 23 senators voted in favor of the House plan on a statewide smoking ban, while 27 rejected it. Key legislators from both the House and Senate predict a smoking ban will clear the legislature this year, one that will ban smoking in bars and restaurants but would allow it in casinos.