Iowa is among those states where smoking in bars, restaurants, workplaces and assorted other venues frequented by the public is forbidden. The public policy goal of producing healthier communities by banning smoking in such locations makes sense.
What does not make sense, however, is an exemption for casinos granted in the present law - Iowa's Smokefree Air Act. This provision has no merit. It is in the statute primarily because of the lobbying clout the gambling industry displayed when this law was under consideration in 2008. Restaurants and bars in communities with casinos and those in towns nearby are unfairly disadvantaged if casinos are not held to the same rules that apply to competing establishments.
Consequently, it is good news that the possibility of rectifying the current unacceptable situation is being considered by a subcommittee of the committee in the Iowa Senate that has jurisdiction regarding this policy area.
The Messenger strongly supports extending the current smoking ban to include casinos. Lobbyists representing gambling interests can be expected to work hard to prevent this from happening. Let your legislators know where you stand on this issue