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      Mo. House Democrats ban smoking in their offices

      Missouri House Democrats have decided to prohibit smoking in their offices and plan to seek broader smoking restrictions at the state Capitol. Two years ago, the House voted to prohibit smoking in a gallery reserved for members in the back of the chamber but rejected an effort to ban smoking in offices. The Democrats said Thursday they plan to seek a prohibition on smoking for all areas of the Capitol controlled by the House. In 2011 many pointed out that the Capitol was the only state-owned building where you could still light up and question its effects on school children who tour the building and those with breathing problems.Lawmakers who voted to continue allowing smoking in 2011said that a total smoking ban at the Capitol would be an intrusion on personal liberty.One justification given for allowing lawmakers to smoke in their offices is that they and their staffers work long days and it would impose a hardship to make them go that long without smoking.In November 2010 Jefferson City voters passed a smoking ban in the Capital City.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this story.)