Monday, March 30, 2009

South Dakota 25th state with strong smoking ban

Half the states now have “a strong smoke-free law that includes restaurants and bars,” following enactment of a stronger law in one of the more rural states, reports the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

South Dakota became the 25th such state when Gov. Mike Rounds signed a bill March 19. It bans smoking in bars, restaurants, lounges, video lottery casinos and Deadwood gambling halls. The law, which takes effect July 1, is an extension of a ban passed in 2002 that limited smoking in most public places. Beginning July 1, smoking will be allowed only in motel rooms and a limited number of cigar bars and smoke shops.

The Rapid City Journal quoted Rounds: "I think in this case, the health concerns top the other concerns that were expressed." Opponents of the ban are concerned with interference in business owners' rights and decreased patronage and revenue. The Capital Journal in Pierre quoted Rounds: “This will provide an opportunity for individuals who have not patronized these locations because of the smoke. I hope they will become new customers for businesses concerned about the loss of patrons.” Read more here.

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