Who We AreOur Contributions: Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act of 2010

Our Contributions: Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act of 2010

In July 2015, our state celebrates five smoke-free years thanks to the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act!

This smoking ban was the culmination of years of work by legislative leaders, advocates of tobacco-use prevention, and ultimately a groundswell of grassroots support for prohibiting smoking in most public statewide.

“This was truly the people’s smoking ban,” said Billie Hall, President and CEO of the Sunflower Foundation. “The legislation passed because the voices of Kansans were finally heard.”

After more than a decade of observing proposed legislation on public smoking bans die for lack of support in the Kansas Legislature, the Sunflower Foundation decided to develop and support a grassroots campaign for the sole objective of getting a statewide law passed that prohibits smoking in public settings.

After two years of planning, the “Clean Air Kansas” campaign was launched in January 2009, funded by the Sunflower Foundation and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Fifteen months later, Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, whose personal commitment to the issue was significant, signed into law the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act. The ban on smoking in indoor public places and workspaces, including bars and restaurants, became effective July 1, 2010.

“We knew that we had public opinion and evidence-based science on our side, but the opposition to a smoking ban was well organized and politically influential,” Hall said. “The tide changed when the conversation moved beyond the Statehouse and into legislators’ communities. The results were amazing.”

The “Clean Air Kansas” Campaign

The "Clean Air Kansas" campaign was a grassroots strategy that collected hundreds of stories from everyday Kansans whose health and lives had been adversely affected by smoking.

The stories were categorized by Legislative Districts and shared with policymakers on CDs. Policymakers heard the views of their constituents expressing support for a statewide smoking ban. The stories ultimately turned the tide of the years-long policy debate and finally brought the voices of Kansans to the policy discussion.

2008 Poll: Do you favor or oppose a statewide smoking ban?

The campaign was underpinned by a public opinion poll commissioned in 2008 by the Sunflower Foundation, which showed 77 percent of Kansas voters were in favor of a statewide smoking ban.

The Clean Air Kansas "Voices" Campaign won several awards for this innovative grassroots approach, including "Best Use of Technology" from the American Association of Political Consultants.

More details about the campaign's strategy and development are in the following articles by Sunflower CEO Billie Hall:
→  A Foundation's Win at Public Health Policy on Smoking (Health Affairs, June 15, 2010)
→  The Power of Grassroots Advocacy in Shaping Public Policy (Grantmakers in Health, Nov. 15, 2010)

Highlights of Our Contributions

→ Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act of 2010

"Vote ‘Yes’ on 2" campaign

Bridge Grants

Cover photo: An aerial photo of Menninger Hill in Topeka, Kansas. The Sunflower Foundation will relocate to Menninger Hill in late 2020. Our home will be located directly south of the Tower Building (pictured in this report).