City-County committee nixes tougher smoking ban

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An Indianapolis City-County Council committee has snuffed out a stricter smoking ban for the city.

The City-County Council's Rules and Public Policy Committee voted 6-2 Tuesday night against sending the measure to a full council, with all three Democrats and three of five Republicans voting against the measure.

The Republican-introduced proposal would have banned smoking at all Indianapolis businesses except cigar and hookah bars, tobacco retailers and not-for-profit private clubs. The proposal received support from Republican Mayor Greg Ballard, anti-smoking activists and a group of Indianapolis bar owners.

But some Democrats argued the measure didn't go far enough. Supporters had been hoping to have the new rules in place in time for the Super Bowl.

Voting in favor were Republicans Michael McQuillen and Ryan Vaughn, who sponsored the legislation. Those opposed were Republicans Bob Cockrum, Angel Rivera and Robert Lutz and Democrats Monroe Gray, Angela Mansfield,  and Joanne Sanders.

An overwhelming number of citizens showed up in support of the smoking ban and left surprised by the final vote.

"I'm surprised. I'm really disappointed. I think we're going to be exactly where we are four years from now. It's frustrating. I don't understand why compromise is such a difficult thing to come by," Vaughn told Fox59.  

The ban would have reduced the number of local smoking establishments from 350 to 60, Fox59 reported.

"I am thoroughly disappointed that council Democrats placed partisan game playing ahead of a common sense smoking ban proposal for our city," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said in a prepared statement after the vote.

The council could revive the proposal on a simple-majority vote on Monday at the request of the sponsors.

Council Democrats believe they can get an even tougher ban started next month after newly-elected Democratic council members begin their terms.


  • Smoking Banned In Milwaukee
    I spent the last year in Milwaukee, and I tell you coming here to smoke infested Bars was terrible.

    Banning smoking does not hurt business, if it did the bars and nightclubs in Milwaukee would be a bust.
  • Food
    Jenny, the issue with a public smoking ban is to protect the health of others, not to protect the health of smokers. So, while fatty foods may not be good for those who eat such a diet, their consumption of such foods does not have a direct impact on others, i.e. there is no such thing as second-hand cholesterol.

    In any event, I think MacDonald's and other such places are gradually (VERY gradually) getting the hint that people want healthier foods and they are adjusting their menus accordingly.
  • let the citizens decide
    Christine is right - bar owners need to get together and ban smoking in their establishments for the betterment of their workforce. I for one do not like the smoke filled bar room and therefore i do not go to them. There are already several bars that do not allow smoking, they get my business. But if you want to smoke up johnny and the bartender and owner do not care then fine.
    i will not patronize your establishment. isnt that the american way? Or fine pass a law because most of us do not like what you do. Oh by the way smokers it is winter and even if you smoke outside it sticks to your clothing and you stink.
  • Better prepared statements?
    "I am thoroughly disappointed that council Democrats placed partisan game playing ahead of a common sense smoking ban proposal for our city," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said in a prepared statement after the vote.

    Maybe they should wait to prepare their statements until after the vote...where, coincidently, 60% of republicans voted against. Personal note.. who elected this guy again?
  • Super Bowl Host Committee
    Someone should tell the Super Bowl Host Committee to stop planning smoking events at their two biggest events. NFL Media party at Motor Speedway and LUCAS/Hilbert Mansion "Donors" Party. Ironic they want smoking at their invite-only VIP party, but not for everyone else.
  • smoking ban indeed
    Mayor Ballard's statement of disappoint failure to pass"common sense smoking ban for our city" is anything but common sense. drive by the private American Legion in Broad Ripple and see the sign "open to the public" and then noting the time and day of santa's visit. think about it: a private club that isn't private; and an adult club that encourages family members and their children to come into a smoking establishment. irrational and as they used to say on Laugh In, very dumb.
  • How embarassing
    There are many giant cities where smoking has been banned indoors. To Jenny, Mcdonald's is a choice and doesn't affect anyone else besides the person eating it. The whole point of the smoking ban is to not subject those who have to work to maintain their livelihood to second hand smoke. It isn't fair for someone to put their life in danger in order to make a living. It worked for Bloomington, Chicago, and LA, why doesn't Indy get on board? I'd go out much more if it wasn't for the smoke. I think bar owners should just come together and ban smoking in their bars for the sake of their workers and customer's health. This decision makes our city look completely backwards. I would expect this from some city in the deep south, but not here.
  • Thank you Indianapolis City-County Council
    I for one am elated at the decision of the Indianapolis City-County Council. For the record I am an occasional Cigar Smoker. I am also a huge fan of equality. Either ban smoking for all establishments, or do not create a competitive advantage for several locations (60 according to this article). I hope someday smoking is not allowed in any indoor public places and I choose only to enjoy my cigars in outdoor locations as to not shorten anyone elses life span due to my personal choices protected by the US constitution. I call for equality. If bars cannot allow smoking, then no cigar bars, and especially no hookah bars.
  • Also..
    Can we please get so many McDonald's banned? The amount of overweight people in Indianapolis is embarrassing and a much bigger killer than the smokers.
      IBJ Your story on smokefree and the headline did a great disservice. Plus it's totally inaccurate. There are eight members of the Council's Rules Committee that considered the smoke free ordinance. FIVE (5) Republicans and THREE (3) Democrats. The three democrats did vote no. As did three Republicans. Two Republicans voted yes. IBJ is a fine newspaper. Far better than the Star. Please make the correction of fact in this story.
    • politics
      Republicans could have had this deal several years ago, but that was then. I totally agree with Democrats on this one. They know now they can get a tougher ban soon, so why rush.
    • WOW!
      Isn't "doing something" that will significantly reduce the number of smoking establishments better than doing nothing? Continuous improvement is better than holding out for the perfect plan. Come on government! Stop playing games!!!
    • Embarrassing
      All I ever hear is how our city leaders aspire for Indy to be considered a first class, world class city. If this is the case then why do they always insist on shooting themselves in the foot. How embarrassing to be a "smoker friendly" city. We are light years behind on this issue. We have enough against our FAT, non mass transit, fashion backwards, Colts sucking, smoker friendly selves.

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