A bill to make public places and workspaces in Alaska smoke-free is undergoing the state legislative process, and it got a vote of support from the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly at their last meeting.
Senate Bill 1, “An act prohibiting smoking in certain place,” was originally sponsored by Kenai Peninsula Sen. Peter Micciche, but Kodiak area Sen. Gary Stevens has since signed on as a sponsor along with four other senators.
The resolution passed unanimously by the assembly on Thursday doesn’t make any changes to current local laws but rather adds a voice of support to SB1.
The resolution was originally requested by local resident Betty MacTavish, a co-chairwoman of the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance, and was sponsored by assembly member Aaron Griffin.
“I support it from the point of view that, while I think that we have to be cautious of property rights and the rights of business owners, sometimes the rights of employees outweigh that,” Griffin said. “And the right of an employee to a clean and hospitable workspace really is a right.”
If SB1 passes, smoking would be illegal in “an enclosed area in a public place” and certain outdoor areas that are either parks and school areas “primarily designated as a place for children to play” or “a seating area for an outdoor arena, stadium, or amphitheater,” according to the bill. Smoking would also be prohibited within 10 to 50 feet of an entrance to places where smoking would be prohibited under SB1: 10 feet from the entrance to bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, 50 feet from the entrance to health care facilities, and 20 feet from the entrance or windows or vents of other places where smoking would be prohibited under the bill.
Some areas excluded from the ban include private clubs, cigarette stores, fishing vessels and private residences.
The ban on smoking includes e-cigarettes and “inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying a lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, pipe, or tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation,” according to the bill.
Julie Herrmann is a staff reporter at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at 486-3227 ext. 627.