10th Anniversary of Smokefree Air Celebrated in Iowa

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PARIS – JANUARY 31: An unidentified man smokes a cigarette in the street outside his office on January 31, 2007 in Paris, France. France introduces a smoking ban in public places from February 1, 2007. Bars, restaurants, hotels and night clubs will follow from January 1, 2008. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  10 years ago this summer Iowa law changed in a big way and supporters say we are all healthier because of it.

In 2008, now former Governor Chet Culver signed the Smokefree Air Act into law.  The bill banned smoking inside almost every public place in Iowa, particularly in bars and restaurants.  Since the ban passed the smoking rates in Iowa have dropped.

Banning smoke was only part of the law, though.  It also raised cigarette taxes significantly.  Culver says his administration found a perfect way to spend that money.  "With the revenue from the tax you can do all sorts of wonderful things," Culver said at a 10th anniversary news conference on Wednesday, "We helped insure about 25,000 kids ... we used the money in the increase in tax to cover tens of thousands of kids who otherwise would not have had health insurance."

Culver says a strong coalition backed the bill in 2008 and he thinks it still has support today.  He doesn't believe anyone will ever act to lessen the impact of the Smokefree Air Act.

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