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Mo. Senate Hears Arguments For Smoking Ban

Kansas City, Mo. – Legislation that would ban indoor smoking in public buildings throughout Missouri is being considered by a State Senate Committee

Under the bill, smoking would not be allowed in restaurants, bars, sports arenas, businesses, or any other public building. Exceptions would be allowed for homes not used for daycare, tobacco shops and 20% of hotel rooms. Jason Sharp, who works with cancer patients in Rolla, spoke in favor of the bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"We have the right to clean air. Non-smokers have the right to clean air. Smokers have the right to smoke; we ask for the right not to breathe toxic air," said Sharp.

No one spoke against the bill. However, Senate Judiciary Chairman Matt Bartle expressed concern that a widespread ban on where people can smoke could lead to bans on other personal behavior.

"Should we ban French fries? I worry about government making it to where basically it's a de facto ban on smoking and people do things that are just as injurious that we overlook all the time, like going to McDonald's every day," said Bartle.

The committee did not vote on the bill at the hearing. A similar indoor smoking ban is being considered by the Missouri House.

Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
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