Fact: Four-thousand Kansans die each year of tobacco related diseases. Fact: $ 1 billion dollars are spent by Kansans on health care each year for tobacco related diseases and $200 million of that is paid by you, the taxpayer, toward Medicaid. That is $144 for every Kansas taxpayer whether you smoke or not. Fact: A 12 year study by the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General shows that scientific evidence is now indisputable: second-hand smoke dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmokers. Only 20 percent of Kansans use tobacco, and in an independent statewide survey, 71 percent of Kansans support a statewide ban on smoking.
Considering these facts, those who want clean air to breathe have the opportunity to do something about it.
Senate Bill 493 has been introduced in the Kansas State Senate. It calls for a statewide ban on smoking in public places. To give local communities final authority, it also calls for a mandated vote in each county on the November 4th general election ballot simply asking the question, do you want your county to be smoke free? Yes, if this legislation is passed, you will have the opportunity to vote for a healthier Kansas.
Before you are given that right, the Kansas Legislature must first pass this legislation.
I urge you and every voter in your county to find the names of your state senator and state representative (through your county election office, library or online resources). Then contact them by mail, email, or by phone and urge them to support this legislation.
Our country was built on the belief that the majority rules. Eighty percent of Kansans do not smoke, yet we all pay the cost by being exposed to second hand smoke and by opening our pocketbooks every year to subsidize the health and insurance costs of those who do smoke.
Make the call. Kansans should all have the right to have a say on their own health.
Sen. David Wysong