Advocates renew push for statewide smoking ban

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Advocates and lawmakers once again have started a campaign to ban smoking from all public places in Indiana, and this year, they think they will finally be successful

State Reps. Charlie Brown (D-Gary) and Eric Turner (R-Cicero) joined members of the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air on Wednesday to announce legislation for a comprehensive ban they plan to introduce next year. They were joined by Indiana Sen. Sue Errington (D-Muncie), who plans to push for the law in the Senate, where it has failed to get a hearing in the past.

Their message was followed by a hearing of the Indiana Health Finance Commission, which took testimony on the issue.

Indiana is among 11 states without a statewide law prohibiting smoking in public establishments. About 1-in-4 adult Hoosiers smoke, higher than the national average of about 1-in-5.

Some Indiana cities, such as Fort Wayne, have bans in all workplaces. Others, such as Indianapolis, ban smoking in most workplaces, but make some exceptions for bars, bowling alleys and private clubs.

A proposal for a stronger ban was tabled by the Indianapolis City-County Council last year.

It will be Brown’s fourth attempt to implement a full workplace ban, which would include restaurants and bars, and he said he’s confident that it can pass this year.

“I think—slowly but surely—my colleagues are realizing it’s a health issue and it’s costly, and it’s not an intrusion on businesses,” said Brown, who cited 97 studies that show no negative economic impact.

But Brown also expects to face opposition from bar and casino lobbyists who he said have fought the measures in the past.

Brad Klopfenstein, spokesman for Save Indianapolis Bars, an Indianapolis-based group that fought the most recently proposed local ban, said the opposition so far hasn’t been organized, but he hopes it can continue countering with their message.

“In a free society, employees have to take some responsibility for working in establishments that might harm their health or whose policies they don’t agree with,” Klopfenstein said. “Smokers should be able to get together in their own establishments and enjoy each other’s company.”

Advocates say they’re better equipped to counter those arguments this year.

They’re armed with a growing body of research, such as a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that highlights nonsmokers’ exposure to secondhand smoke and calls for laws that ban smoking in all public places.

They’re also hoping for more support from key lawmakers. Brown said he’s had several conversations with Senate President Protempore David Long (R-Fort Wayne), who supported studying the issue further to educate his caucus.

And there’s a growing public call, smoking-ban supporters say, for lawmakers to support their cause. A local poll released this summer by the group Smoke Free Indy and the national Campaign for Tobacco-Free kids showed 70 percent of Indianapolis residents support making all workplaces smoke-free.

“We know that we have more constituents across the state who are calling legislators and asking them to create smoke-free air,” said Amanda Estridge, Indiana state government relations manager for the American Cancer Society, one of the groups involved with the campaign.

But Klopfenstein says there are plenty of others who are just as content to keep things the way they are.

“Not all people like country music,” he said. “There’s not a mandate that all bars have to be rock and roll bars.”



  • as for what Brad Klopfenstein said, plus my 2 cents on this issue
    I definitely see what he was trying to say with his rock and roll bar comment, but it wasn't the best choice of words to communicate his point. His point was obviously that there is NOT be a mandate for either all bars to be smoking, or all to operate as non-smoking bars, and that if there is enough customer demand, more bars will ban smoking on their own accord, or revert back to smoking if the non-smoking policy isn't supported by patrons.

    I'm very sorry to hear about your breathing problems Kathy(heck, I definitely wouldn't have smoked around you if I was your father!), but I must disagree with you that smoking needs to be banned in all places. What I think would be much fairer is if any establishment allowing smoking had to post clear exterior signage that they permitted smoking, and had clear disclosure to both patrons and potential employees that they do permit smoking, so that anyone who is sensitive to smoke will have advance notice of the type of business they're getting into before applying. OSHA does NOT completely ban workplace smoking, and if SHS was as dangerous as anti-smoking groups like to lie about(which is NOT, but is just a farce and is nothing more than an annoyance to 99% of those who don't smoke) then shouldn't factories that have welding going on indoors also be banned? Why do anti-smokers have to be so idiotic to remove choice from those who do prefer to patronize and/or work at establishments allowing smoking, and if you dislike smoking and/or have health problems that stem from smoke exposure, what is so wrong about USING YOUR HEAD and hurting their bottom line BY NOT PATRONIZING such establishments?!?

    Bottom line: smoking bans are only appropriate for truly public places that both non-smokers and smokers must use together, such as government buildings and public transit vehicles. They are NOT appropriate for privately owned businesses, and never will be. Want to see the major cost that smoking bans do to privately-owned businesses, especially mom-and-pop bars? Read between the lines and talk to Fort Wayne, Bloomington, Zionsville, etc. bar owners that were hurt, and check out Illinois and Ohio businesses for yourself. Google Smoke Choke Ohio, and see how many Ohio businesses ignore the state ban to this day. One Illinois casino in Metropolis had to lay off 30 employees almost immediately after the statewide ban took effect, and casino revenue declined OVER 20 percent in Illinois from 2008 to 2009, versus slight gains seen in Indiana, Iowa, and all other surrounding states that didn't ban smoking in casinos during the same period.

    Please for the love of freedom that this country was built on, and to all Marion County councilmen, Indiana state lawmakers, and its governor, do not ever enact a comprehensive smoking ban! Enact common-sense measures instead, like requiring any business permitting smoking to post exterior signage, for disclosure of smoking policies to potential employees, and for automatic opt-out on applications for sensitive employees to work in only non-smoking areas, plus penalties for employers that don't honor an employee's opt-out request.
  • Oops
    Sorry about double posting, PC hangup.
  • Ban Originators

    Johnson and Johnson, the makers of Chantix and Nicoderm, fund the bans through their Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


    Many tax exempt political action committees (charities?) received millions to sell smoking bans from the RWJ Foundation. These bans are nothing but clever marketing strategy, with lots of highly publicized "sky is falling" hype, similar to gun control tactics;

    "Gun ownership disease"


    Tobacco control funding sources for "social change" to handle the "tobacco problem"


    And what the 99 million dollars was going to. Note on page seven the "inside -out", provision going for patios later, AFTER business owners spend thousands of dollars to build them to accommodate their smoking customers. Their many coalitions infiltrate local governmnts.


    After closing many bars, prohibition is their next goal.

  • Casinos
    Colorado had to give its casinos tax relief to cover their losses, and, unlike Indiana, they don't have any smoke friendly Indian casinos anywhere nearby.

  • Right on cue
    And the completely personal, unobjective, emotional, unscientific, unsubstantiated anecdotes begin that have nothing to add to the issue. I can match you story for story with zero effects (oh, but that's right. You can't prove a negative.) I can even trumpet studies that claim secondhand smoke immunizes children against other ailments, if you really want to go there. But there is absolutely zero statistical difference in the death rate between people who live with smokers and people who don't.

    But please continue with the dramatics. For such are the stories that turn politicians' heads. Cries for freedom, property rights, choice and less government aren't nearly as moving, and only fall on deaf ears.
  • I don't think so!
    To Frumious...Thank a smoker, you have got to be kidding. For one thing the smoking ban is to protect the non smoker from getting sick not the smoker. I'm living proof that second hand smoke is harmful. I lived with a parent that smoked until I was grown. I had to spend most of my time in my bedroom until my dad went to bed because his smoke bothered me sooo much. Thank God he went to bed at 8:30 at night so I could finally come out and have dinner. In my teens I started having breathing problems even though I stayed away from my dad as much as I could when he would light up. You can't get away from it when your in a car and your a child. The doctor told my parents it was from exposure to second hand smoke. I'm now 54 years old and still have breathing issues. Asbestos is not safe, lead paint is not safe. The government does not allow them in buildings anymore. Even in bars and casinos. So why would they allow smoking??? Thank a smoker...I don't think so.
  • Thank a smoker
    @Repub with daughter: Well, as a conservative myself, I can tell you that smokers carry everyone else's freight in taxes. New York is trying to balance their budget on the backs of smokers right now. And on both the health and life insurance side, smokers far out-pay their costs (and die statistically just 2 years before non-smokers, on average). Call your agent and check the rates. You'll be shiocked.

    And please, don't everyone pile on with anecdotal hand-wringing, because the perennially aggrieved and bereaved have driven this debate for far too long. The notion that secondhand smoke in a bar, pumped out almost instantly by a properly maintained smoke-eater ventilator, causes cancer is a fairy tale. Don't like the way smoke smells? I'll give anyone the win on that complaint. But secondhand smoke does not equal death, which is the way smoking bans have been forced on businesses for years. Stinky smells do not make a deadly killer. But no one could get a ban passed if it was just over a smell they don't like. Thus the fiction that secondhand smoke kills.

    What on earth is wrong with an ordinance that says an establishment must be all non-smoking, or allows smoking with warning signs plastered all over it, so the public has a choice? And yes, employees have a choice with that system too. If only 20% of the population smokes, surely the marketplace will settle into 80% of bars and restaurants being non-smoking, if non-smokers are actually willing to do more than just bellyache and actually spend their money in such places. But the same pattern has happened in every community in the US and the UK where smoking bans have been forced on businesses: the smokers get tired of being treated like child molesters, and stay home, and the non-smokers don't flock to these now-squeaky clean bars and restaurants where they "risked their lives" coming into before. And bars and restaurants shut down. Britain is losing 3 pubs a week since their nationwide ban.

    The truth no one will confront on this story is that smoking deaths are overwhelmingly genetic in nature. Your body is either predisposed to lung cancer and emphysema or it isn't (and BTW, looks like Tylenol might be the real culprit in skyrocketing asthma rates, and not the whiff of a cigar puffs from the next booth).

    Smoking bans are feel-good legislation that let the nannies sleep more comfy at night. Smoking has been sufficiently demonized, and smokers are now in the minority. So my doctor can't smoke in my hospital room anymore the way he could in 1959. 20% of the population is being bled to death with tobacco taxation and higher insurance premiums, and they still smoke. So back off, thank them for keeping your taxes low, and leave them to enjoy an adult activity they have chosen. And keep away from totalitarian bans.
  • Drug Addicts
    Habitual smokers are drug addicts. Why should we publicly condone this behavior? Businesses aren't allowed to sell cocaine, though I'm sure it would be very lucrative for them financially.
  • Government needs to protect non smokers rights
    Smoking and drinking doesn't always go together. I know alot of people that don't smoke that like to have a drink, listen to some music and be around a fun party type atmosphere but not have to breath in smoke. What about their rights. Why should non smokers have to stay home or go some where else that maybe doesn't have that party atmosphere going on. The non smoker is not the one with the problem, the smoker has the problem. I say there should be a vote. Let everyone go to the polls and vote on it.
  • Breaking the smoking cycle is just good policy
    While I do not want government to control every aspect of my life, I would like them to help curb smoking. As a conservative I am tired of spending so much money on cancer treatment for the general population. The cost is simply too much. Something as reasonable as banning smoking in places of employment gets my vote. It is just a small signal that smoking and the health problems it causes are not in fashion anymore. Something my daughter will understand.
    • Asthma and allergies
      Just thought I'd weigh in for those of us who have asthma and are allergic to smoke (any kind - not just cigarette smoke). It's not political or financial for me, it's certainly noone's fault that I have these conditions. But the smoke doesn't help my conditions, and it's ridiculous to me that I have to go to all the way across town to a restaurant in Marion County because the one right around the corner from me in Hamilton County isn't smoke free.
    • Please make this idiocy go away
      It is amazing how many self-appointed nannies seem to be willing to line up and tell the rest of us how to live. Sorry to buck the totalitarians, but mark me down for the freedom to run my business and allow adults to engage in adult choices. I've never been a fan of bandwagon go-alongism. Let Indiana be one of 11 states that sides with the citizen's right to offer a choice to employees and patrons.

      And since government seems to be more addicted to cigarettes than smokers, I would think that persecuting them would amount to sabotaging the state's revenue.

      Finally, I wish someone would put a moratorium on endlessly repeating the myth that secondhand smoke is a killer. It is a distortion of the facts, and the anti-smoking jihadists know it.
    • @ Common Sense
      Below comment was speaking in reply tothe post: really? by common sense
    • Fallacious argument
      Citing other things that you do not like about other laws does not address the issue at hand. All of those issues are independent of the ban on smoking in places of employment. If your intent was to make a broader point that you are an out of the mainstream far to the right libertarian then you did fine job. But as to speaking to the issue at hand you missed by a mile.
      • YOU CAN'T STOP US!!!
        Finally going to be back up to national standards. The law, believe it or not also has a duty to implement public policy that is beneficial to society. Discouraging the use of a substance that causes death is unquestionably one of the roles of the American legal system. If you don't believe me study the US common law and statutory law of the past 200 years. Better yet, just look at the other states who already have banned smoking, there are only 11 that don't. Popular opinion in America (from American citizens, implemented by American citizens) is that we should ban smoking. There is definite precedent to show that courts do have the authority under the constitution to regulate substances that kill people.

      • Please pass smoking ban!
        Just as most college campuses and school settings have set forth to protect the health of students we need to protect Indianas people by eliminated harmful diseases/effects caused by second-hand smoke!
      • Health Risk
        I agree. Smoking (second hand smoke) does cause lung cancer. It is a health risk. If you choose to smoke in your own home, go right ahead.
      • really?
        To those making the argument that government should not interfere with private business and the rights of individuals, do you also have a problem with Indiana's ban on Sunday alcohol sales in stores? Do you have a problem with the government deciding who has a right to marry? These are all government intrusions on personal life. If you believe in freedom from "over legislation", I hope you're consistent in your beliefs.
        • Make your own choice
          Dont let the state or feds make decisions for you. Do not let the state force another law upon you. Guess what i do not go to places that allow smoking, if you dont like it do not go. Call it what you want, but it a weak legislature that grand stands on an unpopular but "healthy or greeen" bandwagon instead of standing up and saying no! LET THE MARKET DECIDE.
        • Indiana will be smokefree
          Just as Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota did, Indiana will become a smokefree state. It will be a good thing.
        • Same legislature
          Why does this not surprise me. It is the same legislature that makes a 82 year old man show his ID before he can buy a six pack of beer.
        • Unconstitutional Ban
          Has anybody heard about free will and the freedom of choice? What wonderful things there are indeed. No mob should be able to tell any business what they can or cannot do inside their business that is LEGAL. Are we going to next ban the sale of smoking products altogether because I feel certain that is where this is headed.
          I am not a smoker but I don't think I have anymore right to impose my decision to not smoke on someone who choses to smoke nor vice-versa.
          This has nothing to do with economic impact. It has to do with a denial of personal freedom of choice on private property, period.
          To those trying to impose this ban I say you can go outside to breathe your "fresh" air. Get a life and leave everybody else's alone.
        • Just Breath
          Rights are not being violated, people aren't being told they CAN'T smoke just that they need to do it outside!! I can't understand why people want to argue that this takes something away from them.... Please!!! Pass the ban and move on.
          • Owners choice?
            Did anyone pay the owners to open their businesses? I don't think so! Where does the government get off telling private owners of businesses what they can and can't allow?? If you don't want to be around smoking don't go to a business that allows it! Oh but wait, I guess the general public is not smart enough to make such a decision by themselves!
          • what ?????!!!!
            Look I know this Klopfenstein guy is probably a volunteer, but seriously, that analogy about music doesn't even come close to making sense. I would think he would have a few semi-intelligent comments ready for just such a situation. I guess it's good he's on the wrong side.
          • smoking ban
            Why does'nt this group pull every diesel using vehicle off the road if they want smoke free air. Oh, they will have to close every factory and take every car off the road as well if they want a "smoke free Indiana". These people need to find something else to do with their time. I quit smoking without any of this groups help, and smokers do not need people who think that they are better trying to take away their freedoms. I really believe that the percentages from second hand smoke killing everyone is a slight exaggeration...just like Al Gore is a slight exaggeration. One other thing this group, whom have nothing better to do with their time, needs to think about is their taxes going up when the state cannot make a fortune off of cigarette purchases. Keep fighting the good fight Hoosiers!!
          • Can we please be on a good list for a change?
            We are on the bottom of the country for education, obesity and smoking - this would be one small step in a healthier Indiana. Klopfenstein's comparison of smoking to music choices is a testament to his high I.Q.

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