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Iowa legislators desiring to know the will of the people have been given a gift. We hope they don’t squander it.

The Iowa Tobacco Prevention Alliance surveyed 500 likely voters and found overwhelming support for ending Iowa’s casino cancer hypocrisy. You recall the hypocrisy? State lawmakers in 2008 banned almost all indoor smoking to protect non-smoking Iowans from their neighbors’ dangerous habit. They banned it in restaurants, taverns, offices, even workplace vehicles.

But lawmakers bowed to gambling firms’ pressure and withheld that health protection from casino workers and patrons.

The new survey says 63 percent of likely voters favor ending the hypocrisy now and extending the smoking ban to casinos. And 73 percent of likely voters are telling lawmakers not to repeal the smoking ban.

Compare that with the 18 percent of Iowans still smoking. Lawmakers who listen to voters should have their marching orders.

Casino lobbyists insisted that the smoking exception is necessary to protect their profit stream and Iowa’s tax revenue, even though both declined since the exception was awarded.

The Iowa Tobacco Prevention Alliance has an agenda, too. But its survey didn’t pander. It identified likely voters and asked them straight-up if the ban should be expanded or repealed. And Iowans, being Iowans, responded straight up.

So the question remains, who will legislators listen to? A handful of casino lobbyists who cling to the comical and wrong notion that catering to addiction and heightening a cancer risk are acceptable marketing tools? Or a solid majority of voting Iowans who vastly outnumber smokers?

We think the answer is apparent. But we thought so in 2008, too.

– Quad City Times


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