State smoking ban catching fire

South Dakota State Roundup

Published May 1, 2002  | May 2002 issue

The South Dakota Legislature adopted a bill this session that will ban smoking in any public place that isn't a motel room or doesn't have a liquor license or minimum admission-age requirement. The ban, which takes effect July 1, is supported by Gov. Janklow, who himself quit smoking in 1998. "I do not think any smoker has the right to put their smoke in anybody else's lungs," said the governor after signing the bill.

Many businesses and some politicians aren't happy with the ban, claiming it will give an economic advantage to restaurants that serve liquor. During floor debate, though, the major dispute was between the rights of nonsmokers to breathe clean air and those of taxpaying business owners to decide their own smoking policies. According to Jerry Wheeler, director of the South Dakota Retailers Association, the choice to become smoke-free should be left to the market, not the Legislature.

Douglas Clement