On a bi-partisan 16-6 vote, the House Commerce Committee approved a statewide smoking ban today designed to improve the health of Iowans. The bill was approved with two additional exemptions, casinos and federally chartered veterans organizations that are closed to the public.

“Second hand smoke contains 60 chemicals that cause cancer, asthma and other respiratory diseases,” said State Representative Tyler Olson, D-Cedar Rapids, who managed the bill in committee. “There is no risk-free second hand smoke exposure for Iowans or workers. This creation of smoke-free places will protect Iowans in 99% of public places and workplaces, including bars and restaurants.”

House Study Bill 537, creates smoke-free areas in public places such as workplaces, outdoor sports arenas, stadiums, bars and restaurants, public transit stations and within 50 feet of school grounds. Private residences are not required to be smoke-free.

“Food service workers have a 50% greater chance of dying from lung cancer than the general population,” said State Representative Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, and chair of the House Commerce Committee. “This is about protecting the health of Iowans visiting public places and workers who often don’t have a choice where to work.”