'People shouldn't have to risk their health to work,' senator insists
Smoking would be banned at workplaces in Iowa under legislation unveiled this week.
The proposal, up for initial committee review today or tomorrow, would begin the ban July 1.
"This is probably the most popular request I get from people of all ages," said Rep. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, a sponsor.
The plan comes at a time when legislators already were planning to consider a $1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax backed by Gov. Chet Culver. Previous proposals for workplace smoking bans have fallen short, but Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, said business leaders increasingly favor such restrictions. Studies now show 80 percent of Iowans do not smoke.
McCoy said health groups now list exposure to second-hand smoke as a leading cause of death. "People should not have to risk their health to work."
McCoy said 11 states have enacted workplace smoking bans, including California, New York, Florida and Idaho. In addition, many states let cities enact anti-smoking regulations, whereas Iowa doesn't allow local restrictions that are more severe than state law.
Petersen said she expects limited resistance.
"I've heard from quite a few restaurant owners who have said thank you for stepping forward."