It may be another two months before the City Council emerges with a compromised smoking ban proposal. That’s because City Council members Jeff Longwell and Lavonta Williams are still out and about, meeting with bar and restaurant owners and reviewing what other cities have done. Longwell said it may be 45 to 60 days before a draft ordinance is ready. Despite the council’s apparent gridlock on the issue, Longwell said council members want the same thing. “Everybody wants to eliminate secondhand smoke,” he said. The question, he said, is whether to do that with a mandate or by asking businesses for some voluntary reductions in secondhand smoke or some combination.
Meanwhile, advocates on all sides of the issue have flooded the 30-minute public agenda at council meetings, mostly with repetitious arguments. (People get up to five minutes to speak in front of the council — and whoever is watching on cable Channel 7.) State officials also are considering a statewide ban, although its prospects in the legislative session are uncertain.
The American Lung Association just put out its State of Tobacco Control report and gave Kansas an “F.”