Kansas Bans Indoor Tobacco Smoking, Outlaws Smoking Spice

TOPEKA, Kansas, March 12, 2010 (ENS) – As of July 1, the only indoor places where tobacco smokers can light up in Kansas are within private homes and motor vehicles. In addition, the smoking of the herbal blend Spice or its components anywhere in Kansas will soon be a crime.

Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson today signed into law the Kansas Clean Indoor Air, which bans tobacco smoking in public indoor spaces. When the law takes effect, smoking will be prohibited in taxicabs and limousines; common areas in public and private buildings, condominiums and other multiple-residential facilities; access points of all building and facilities unless exempted by the bill; and any place of employment.

The governor said he supports the measure because it advances the fight against cancer and will improve the overall health of all Kansans.

Kansas smokers will have to adjust to a new law banning indoor smoking in public places. (Photo credit unknown)

“The journey of passing a statewide public smoking ban has been long and hard, but today we are able to cross the finish line knowing that we have built a better future for generations to come,” said Parkinson. “With this legislation, our state takes the necessary steps to save Kansas lives by reducing cancer, tobacco-related diseases and teen smoking.”

Joined by First Lady Stacy Parkinson, former State Senator David Wysong, Secretary of Health and Environment Rod Bremby, state legislators and health advocacy organizations, the governor held the signing in the South Wing of the Statehouse.

“I appreciate the vision of former-Senator Wysong, the bipartisan collaboration in the legislature and the continuous support of so many Kansans.”

The bill, HB 2221, amends current law concerning cigarette or tobacco infractions and the taxation and unlawful use of cigarette and tobacco products.

The legislation makes it unlawful for any person who controls the use of the area where smoking is prohibited to fail to comply with any of the provisions set out in the bill or to allow smoking to occur where prohibited.

Legally available in all states except Kansas, Spice herbal blends contain synthetic cannabinoids.

To date, 26 states have enacted statewide bans on smoking in all enclosed public places, including bars and restaurants. Seven states ban smoking in most enclosed public places, but permit adult venues such as bars and casinos, to allow smoking if they choose.

In Kansas, Governor Parkinson not only opposes smoking tobacco, he is also opposed to the smoking or ingestion of synthetic cannabinoids, chemicals that produce effects similar to marijuana, which is illegal across the country.

On Wednesday, the governor signed HB 2411, the nation’s first ban on the chemical compounds HU-210, JWH-018, and JWH-073, considered synthetic cannabinoids. The chemicals are sold under a variety of names, including Spice and K2.

HU-210 is a synthetic cannabinoid that was first synthesized in 1988 at the Hebrew University. HU-210 is 100 to 800 times more potent than natural THC from cannabis and has an extended duration of action.

JWH-018, which produces effects like those of marijuana, also has been described as an efficient painkiller. JWH-073 is an analgesic chemical from the aminoalkylindole family, which also acts as a cannabinoid.

These chemicals are found as components of the herbal blend Spice, which has been sold as an incense in a number of countries around the world since 2002.

The bill also bans BZP and TFMPP, recreational drugs usually used in combination, that are reported to have euphoric, stimulant properties when ingested comparable to those produced by amphetamine.

The law makes it illegal to possess, use, or sell these chemicals.

“This legislation has received overwhelming support by Kansas law enforcement and the legislature,” said Parkinson. “It will help improve our communities by better equipping law enforcement officers in addressing this issue and deterring Kansans from drug use.”

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