Feb 14, 2023 - News

Anti-smoking advocates push to expand Iowa's ban

Illustration of smoke coming out of a cigarette making the "no" symbol.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A group of health advocates that includes former Gov. Terry Branstad is celebrating the 15th year of Iowa's Smokefree Air Act Tuesday.

Why it matters: Smoking and secondhand smoke cost Iowa billions of dollars in health care costs and lost productivity.

  • Some health advocates are calling for lawmakers to expand Iowa's public smoking ban to casinos.

Flashback: Iowa's public smoking ban includes bars and some outdoor areas.

  • Casinos were exempted as a compromise to get enough support to pass the bill among lawmakers who supported a wider ban.

The intrigue: Some casinos are going smokefree or have greatly reduced smoking on their own.

Of note: The 2008 bill was signed into law by former Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat. The ban was controversial but did have support among some Republicans.

  • Branstad, the Republican who succeeded Culver, has supported the law being extended to casinos for years.

Zoom in: Iowa's cigarette tax of $1.36 per pack is among the lowest in the nation.

  • Some members of the group celebrating today want it increased to $2.86.

If you go: Tuesday's "We LOVE Smokefree Air Celebration' starts at 2:30pm in the rotunda of the Iowa Capitol.


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