The state legislature passed a statewide smoking ban. But now it's South Dakotans turn to have their say.
In our recent KELO-TV/Argus Leader Scientific poll
, 62 percent said we should broaden the state's ban on smoking, while 35 percent said no. Only three percent were still undecided.
It's been a hot issue for 18 months. Referred Law 12 would broaden the state's ban on smoking to apply to all restaurants, bars, packaged liquor stores, Deadwood casinos and video lottery establishments.
"You take all, the bars in Minnesota are hurting, North Dakota are hurting, Montana are hurting. I get letters every day," Sioux Falls bar and restaurant owner Don Rose said.
Rose says if passed, the ban wouldn't only hurt bars, but also video lottery.
"I know that the state is preparing a budget they're gonna be revealing in December that's gonna show a 20 percent deficit in video lottery income. They're planning on this," Rose said.
But those who support the ban, like Respiratory Therapist Darcy Ellefson, say voters should be more concerned about their health.
"As people are taking their last breaths or as they're struggling in their last few months to live, they'll say to me, 'Darcy, you just have to do something to make sure that my kids and my grandkids don't end up being the same shape that I'm in,'" Ellefson said.
Ellefson points out that 35 states in the nation have gone smoke-free and adds South Dakota should make it 36.
"We expressed our wishes through our state legislature and they voted for the law and now it's come to a public vote. And so, I think South Dakotans are smart enough to know this is where we need to head," Ellefson said.
"Find me one person, we've called the health department several times, that's died from second-hand smoke. Name one, just one. They can't do it. People die of cancer from smoking, true. But those are the people that smoke," Rose said.
"Prevention is our responsibility as citizens, as health care providers and as consumers," Ellefson said.
If the ban passes, three businesses in the state will be exempt: a cigar bar and a tobacco shop in Sioux Falls, along with a tobacco shop in Deadwood. They would all have to maintain a minimum percentage of sales of tobacco to continue to be exempt.
[Read about the South Dakota ballot issues]
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