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Smoke Free Campaign Begins in SD

August 31, 2010

PIERRE, S.D. - The push to ban smoking in all workplaces and most businesses in South Dakota is getting underway Tuesday, and voters in November will decide the fate of the referred measure. Opponents say it's a decision that should be left up to each business.

Jennifer Stalley with the "Yes on 12! A Smoke Free South Dakota" campaign calls it a public health issue.

"We don't let clean water, we don't let well-prepared food, we don't let hours of alcohol sales be something that's decided on a business-by-business basis, and we certainly don't think that clean indoor air should be something that a business gets to decide to use as a marketing advantage."

Opponents also contend the smoking ban would hurt business, cutting into profits. Stalley says her group's studies indicate that taxpayers are already picking up big costs.

"Right now, South Dakota is paying more than $274 million in taxpayer dollars to address public health costs of tobacco use. $58 million of that goes directly to Medicaid, which is the largest growing portion of our state budget."

Stalley says they plan to hold town hall meetings around the state in October.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD