The Iowa Smokefree Air Act was enacted some 14 years ago, which according to one Iowa lawmaker, is a long enough time for those who like to take a puff, to have familiarized themselves with where they can and can't do it.
Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last October put out its annual cigarette sales report. It showed that in 2020, for the first time in 20 years, cig sales rose, ever so slightly by 0.4 percent. We should get the 2021 report later this year, and yes, pandemic stress was likely a factor. But maybe people do need to see the signs, literally, to remind them not to light up. Iowa State Senator John Schultz and his colleagues think not.
If you're a smoker in the Hawkeye state and still don't know where you can't light up in public, take a look at the law because soon, it may be your only form of notification. Since its inception in 2008, the Iowa Smokefree Air Act has required public businesses where smoking is prohibited, to post "no smoking" signage at their entrance.
Here is exactly what's required of them in that regard:
The Smokefree Air Act requires businesses to post “no smoking” signs at every entrance that “clearly and conspicuously” inform persons that they are entering an area where smoking is prohibited, including entrances to outdoor serving and seating areas and in all vehicles owned, leased, or provided by an employer.
According to Radio Iowa, Senator Schultz of Schleswig says at this point, it's overkill. Schultz believes that the need for a public notification system for the Smokefree Air Act has become obsolete, calling it "a burdensome and unnecessary regulation."
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) provides "no smoking" signs and stickers to businesses for free, so they wonder what Schultz's beef is. They wonder if removing the requirement for posted public signage will gradually reinstate confusion among the public. After all, if there is no longer a sign prohibiting it, how do you enforce it? Schultz says that's not his message.
“I just would like to see the sticker mandate removed from Code,” Schultz said. “Nothing beyond this.”
What prompted his thought process on this, he says, was watching as a sparkling new no-smoking sticker was slapped on a storefront in the nearby town of Denison in his district. Schultz and two of his colleagues have signed off on the bill, which means it's now eligible for debate.