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Friday, June 4, 2010

Opposition to Indoor Smoking Ban Probably Decreasing

Don't forget that once the Republicans get their house in order on Tuesday, we'll also have some yummy ballot measures to debate and vote on in November. Among them is Referred Law 12, the indoor smoking ban, which has been delayed for a year and a half since its passage by the Legislature.

The alcohol and tobacco lobby that referred this law to public vote may have bought their moneyed interests another year and a half to make more money on unhealthy consumption, but every day we wait for the vote appears to reduce the number of people who might oppose this law. The South Dakota Department of Health reports that the percentage of South Dakotans smoking dropped over two full percentage points in one year, from 19.8% in 2007 to 17.5% in 2008. The South Dakota QuitLine is also getting better at helping people kick the habit: DoH reports QuitLine's success rate over the same period jumped from 29% to 43%.

DoH cites CDC figures estimating reduced smoking has spared our state over 1800 early tobacco-related deaths and will produce health care cost savings of at least $325 million through 2018... and that's at current cost and smoking levels. DoH is still pushing: having met their 2010 goal of reducing smokers to 18% of the population, they now want to cut further to 15% by 2015.

Let's help them out: vote for the smoking ban in November.

Bonus Notes for Primary Voters! GOP House candidate R. Blake Curd voted for the smoking ban in 2009. His challenger Kristi Noem voted against it. His other challenger, Secretary of State Chris Nelson, simply followed the law and rejected the apparently improper signatures on the referral petitions.

In the governor's race, Senate leaders Dave Knudson of the GOP and Scott Heidepriem of the Dems both voted aye to ban indoor smoking. GOP candidate Dennis Daugaard's boss signed it into law, and I haven't heard Dennis say he had a problem with that. GOPer Scott Munsterman thought the ban was a good idea when the Legislature passed it. Senator Gordon Howie joined local Senator Russ Olson in keeping the world safe for Big Macs... then quickly got back to dodging his property taxes. Ken Knuppe probably doesn't like the smoking ban, but heck, he's a rancher, so he's outside all the time!


  1. Are the Feds still subsidizing tobacco production? It always amazes me that, as taxpayers, we encourage and fund the growth of tobacco, which is proven to cause cancer, emphysema and other breathing concerns. The Feds also banned the advertising of tobacco products because of its health concerns and luring in children. So, we pay producers to grow it with our tax dollars, we tax the crap out of cigarettes as a sin tax, we ban advertising because tobacco kills people, and there's a question about banning smoking in public places and restaurants?

  2. The Obama Administration did cost us $250 million for children's health insurance with the loophole for pipe tobacco that the tobacco industry eagerly took advatange of. Oops.

  3. If the public was honestly and truthfully informed about the effects of second-hand smoke, there would be fewer no-smoking laws in this country.

    There has never been a single study showing that exposure to the low levels of smoke found in bars and restaurants with decent modern ventilation and filtration systems kills or harms anyone.

    As to the annoyance of smoking, a compromise between smokers and non-smokers can be reached, through setting a quality standard and the use of modern ventilation technology.

    Air ventilation can easily create a comfortable environment that removes not just passive smoke, but also and especially the potentially serious contaminants that are independent from smoking.

    Thomas Laprade
    Thunder Bay, Ont.

  4. I have no idea if second-hand smoke is harmful or not, but boy does it smell! I absolutely love living in a state with a smoking ban- I can go out for a meal and not come home smelling like an ashtray.


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