Bar owners challenging smoking ban seek injunction

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Ten Indianapolis bar owners who are challenging new public smoking restrictions are asking a federal court for a preliminary injunction to stop the city from enforcing the ordinance until a judge rules on their lawsuit.

Their motion for injunction filed Monday follows a federal suit brought in May that claims the ban violates the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fourteenth Amendment provides equal protection under the law.

The ordinance, signed by Mayor Greg Ballard in April, expands existing citywide restrictions against indoor public smoking to include bowling alleys, hotel rooms and most bars. Tobacco shops, hookah bars, existing not-for-profit private clubs and downtown's off-track betting parlor are exempt from the law.

The owners say they’re being deprived of the same rights afforded to private clubs. They also charge that the ban violates other sections of the Constitution by not including bars in Beech Grove, Lawrence, Speedway and Southport, also located within Marion County.

Lawrence since has passed its own smoking ordinance, which goes into effect Oct. 1.

In filing the injunction, the owners’ attorney, Mark Small, said that several of his clients have lost as much as 60 percent of their business since the law took effect June 1.

“There is no doubt that, contrary to what the proponents of the ban claimed, many Indianapolis bars have been harmed by the smoking ban,” he said in a written statement. “All of my clients’ bars are small, neighborhood taverns. Many of the owners have put their life savings into their bars and now they face the very real possibility that the city’s ban will put them out of business.”


  • It's freedom we're talking about.
    It's freedom to choose that is the issue. As has been said below and is now coming to light, there is no proof that 2nd hand smoke causes health problems. So really, the people who wanted to remove this freedom did it, blinded by false rumors of health risks, or used those faulty rumors as a way to force their agenda of not wanting to be inconvenienced by cigarette smoke. It blows my mind that their answer to this is to remove the freedom of others to make their own life easier. That is such a dangerous mind set. It's simple, what freedoms you allow to be taken away... WILL BE TAKEN AWAY.. by those who feel inconvenienced or disgusted or otherwise put upon by the free choice of others. I applaud anyone who fights/sues/comments in support of more freedom and less governement intervention in our lives. If you need the gvmt. to tell you and everyone else what to do, where to do it, when to do it, then you don't deserve to call yourself a free person. You are a slave to your own lack of tolerance for others freedoms. I don't give 1 stitch for the health reasons to ban smoking. I care about the empowering of the government to step into a business and make them do away with something based on faulty studies and more exactly personal choice of what's right for everyone. You decide what's right for you. Then YOU deal with the consequences of those choices. I'll decide what's right for me and I'll deal with the consequences. Everyone else can decide for themselves and they can deal with those consequences. I don't need or want to government, who is always ready to extend its jurisdiction and power, to step in to issues like this.
  • My 2 cents
    I don't care whether bars are for smokers OR nonsmokers! I can't stand to be around drunks. They affect me more than second hand smke. I lost a family member to a drunk driver. Drinking affects more lives than smoking. I wish the driver of the vehicle who hit & killed my Aunt would have just had a cigarette instead of booze!
  • No significant evidence
    Here is a comment I wrote in a journal in New Zealand a week ago,I would also like to put active smoking into perspective as it has an RR of 20+. Fraud springs to mind, but make your own mind up. I am from the UK, I would like to put a few facts which expose these people who have instigated smoking bans on health grounds, no 1 is that there is no significant evidence that second hand smoke is harmful, this is what our Health and safety executive (HSE) published just before our smoking ban in 2007 "In essence, HSE cannot produce epidemiological evidence to link levels of exposure to SHS to the raised risk of contracting specific diseases and it is therefore difficult to prove health-related breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act". http://wispofsmoke.net/PDFs/255_15.pdf The OHSA in America also concluded a similar assumption as workplace smoking bans could not be initiated. http://www.nycclash.com/OSHAaction.html Of all the studies into second hand smoke (SHS) combined, the Relative Risk (RR) show RR 1.3 (A relative risk of 1 means there is no difference in risk between the two groups) RR 2 is not usually even classed as significant, usually to show significant harm there is an RR 3 http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/rr.htm Smoking bans are politically led and have nothing to do with the health of non smokers,here is a list of all the studies presented before the Scotland ban. http://archive.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/health/reports-05/her05-01-08.htm For more information go to http://tctactics.org/index.php/Main_Page
  • Smoking Ban
    Have you ever thought that the bars complaining are suffering because they had nothing else to offer other than allowing smoking? Putting everyone on a level playing field, the best food, atmosphere, etc will survive and rightfully so.
  • Non Smoker
    Ref: 1) the issue is not smoking, it's freedom; 2) depends on what you define as a problem; 3) you know smoking is not good for your health so don't go in. Without some type of certification related to health standards, either by a government agency or a private entity you have no assurance of health related conditions. Two completely different things.
  • Bars, teen clubs.
    Ireland proposed converting many of its closed pubs into teen clubs. Just an idea.
  • ...
    1) Can we stop the slippery slope of, "what will they ban next?" The issue is smoking, not obesity, gun control, or abortion. 2) How is it larger cities and entire states; e.g., California, the haven for liberals, aren't having a problem? 3) I'm still waiting for this to be resolved: somehow, people are claiming a right to smoke but aren't indicating where this right came from. More importantly, if establishment owners are allowed to say what does/doesn't fit their particular whims & desires, then why do we have a health code (at all)? Oh, they're to protect customers from various things which might not ordinarily be taken care of by the proprietors? Shall we revisit the Snooty Fox episode when we found out no one had cleaned the kitchen in over a year? How is that any less a violation than smoking? Who says smoking can't be on the menu (pun intended) of things which just aren't acceptable? There's a lot of fickle people who seem to believe one set of laws are fine but another one is exempt because it doesn't suit their particular viewpoint.
    • First they came for...
      First they came for the asbestos-laden ceilings, and I did not stick my head up in the rafters so did not stop them. Then they came for the lead paint, and since I did not scrape away the paint I did not stop them. Then they came for the cigarette smokers in the bars. Since I did not smoke or frequent those dives, I did not stop them. Then they came for the bacon. And no one was left to stand up for me. So I became Rambo. Grrrrrrr!!!! (bares teeth)
    • The Rathskeller
      I was at The Rathskeller last Saturday night. Their non-smoking bar, along with the rest of the place, was VERY busy. They've been non-smoking for a few years according to a staff member I asked. I believe it's just a matter of time before everything shakes out.
    • go4it
      I agree with your comment as long as your person healthcare cost do not effect me.
    • Hey Big Gulp
      The country is not legislating for your health. They are legislating for a better quality of life for our future. Look around. It is prety obvious that a ggod portion of citzens of the USA can not take care of themselves. They want to live on welfare, Eat 100 grams fo fat each day and and ingest sonetjhing that does not belong in our bodies. Then want the government to take care of them when their bodies start failing due to their irresponsibility to them selves.
    • Stop Now
      Everyone stop smoking now! This will save you money and make you live longer and you have more money for booz at you favorite watering hole. What a concept. A better quality of life all around. I quite 22 yrs ago and could not be more proud for doing so. My wife and mother inlaw were very stuborn smokers and they quite a few years ago and they now can not stand smoke anywhere. I'm telling you that you just don't know this killer is stalking you until you quite and watch it stalking others.
    • outlawed Big Gulps in NY
      Big Gulps have been outlawed in New York. It's wrong to legislate based on healthy/non-healthy choices. We are a free society that should be allowed to CHOOSE our fate, including eating bacon while laying around drinking big Gulps, watching TV and smokin' a pack!
    • Miles and Pedro
      Miles and Pedro, I would like to be the first to apologize for forcing you to go to smoking bars and ingest 2nd hand smoke. Those non-smoking bars, they just weren't for you guys you had to go to the bars that allowed smoking. I think it's wrong that you forced to go to those bars that allowed smoking. That 2nd hand smoke was never a problem in the non-smoking bars but you weren't allowed to patronize those, huh?
    • Don't go
      Miles, don't go to the smoking bars and you don't have to be around it. Oops, that's way to hard to figure out, huh? Easier to legislate away that freedom from others to make your outings more convenient.
    • 2nd hand big gulp
      its not even just about the immediate health implications of salt, bacon, steak, or big gulps versus cigarettes. The arguement has much more to do with the fact that I can eat or drink all the crap I want, as long as doing so doesn't put other people's health at risk. There has never been any evidence of second hand salt risks.
      • Get used to it
        A few bad apples. I see bars now and people who wish to smoke go outside. It is refreshing to finally enjoy a smoke free environment. Don't get me wrong! I am a smoker too.
      • Bacon
        Reasonable man, I'm sorry it won't be for you to decide if bacon goes. The banners and the government will decide that for you. Oh and you said you "could" modify your diet. Don't worry, you can soon take out "could" because it will be mandatory when the all the bans get placed. I know, I'll get some comments that this is crazy, much like the ones I got before the ban that said that it would not effect the bars income if a ban were put in place. This is a society who like to place the blame on other people and would like to legislate away all of the choices they have to make. I support the freedom to make bad choices, unhealthy choices, etc. That is real freedom. The freedom to make only governmentally acceptable choices is not freedom at all.
      • It affects me!
        Hey "What else" Being around someone drinking big gulps doesn't affect me. Being around someone being lazy and watching tv doesn't affect me. Being around someone eating bacon or steak doesn't affect me. But being around someone smoking DOES affect me!
        • no they wont
          it doesnt matter they wont be stepping into bars that they wouldnt go to before lol look if you dont go to the Ally cat before i dont see people seeking it out. this is a shiite law and its got to me stopped.
        • Business is up..not down
          Since 75% of the population doesn't smoke, the traffic in the bars I frequent has gone up, not down. By a significant percentage. A smoker's right to smoke stops at my lungs, thank you very much.
          • give it time
            There is no doubt bars that hung their hat on smoking patrons will take a while to transition. However, I disagree that the smoking ban will create widespread or longterm issues for most bars. The reality is that, while the ban has an immediate impact on smokers, it'll take a while for the considerably greater number of non-smokers to catch on to the change... and for formerly smokey bars to loose the "offending" smokey odors that have permeated every surface. Since you like your anecdotal evidence... I have 2 bars within a couple doors of each other that are within an easy walk from my home. Both are equally nice places, with similar amenities, good food and quality staff. One permitted smoking, the other not. I have been continually amazed that the owner of the smoking one refused to see that at every occassion that should drive people to bars (sporting events, St. Patricks Day), his bar was sparsely populated, but his neighboring bar is always packed to the rafters. He remains convinced that his business is tanking, but from my eyes, he's been tanking for a while, and maybe wants to blame it on this ban. I hope he embraces the change, and finds a way to redefine his bar. It's the one I prefer.
            • Bacon?
              Just don't touch bacon! Everything else can go! In all seriousness, nothing you mentioned comes close to destroying lives like tobacco. I can exercise and modify my diet to cancel out big gulps, salt etc, but I can do nothing to rid my lungs and heart of the affects of tobacco. You're not even in the same neighborhood.
              • What else?
                Hey Agree! While we're at it, what else would you like to see banned? Big Gulps? Very Unhealthy. Lazy TV watching? Bacon??? Steak? I mean, while you're wanting to make the government decide what we're aloud to do, why stop at smoking? Salt, is a killer. Probably kills more people than cigarettes. What else should the government ban us from to save us from our in ability to choose for ourselves????
                • RSM has a great point
                  Make this filthy, killer illegal altogether just like asbestos. The toll on society is too great to continue this dangerous product.
                • It stinks
                  I've noticed a lot more smokers outside the restaurants I walk by on a daily basis downtown. Frankly, my secondhand smoke intake has gone way up from the ban. I can choose to avoid the smoking restaurants (and would), but I can't avoid the sidewalks. That stinks.
                • Smoking - Want Freedom
                  I hate being in bars that are smokey, that being said I even hate government banning the use of tobacco (a legal product)in certain private businesses. Either make it illegal or let business owners decide whether they want smoking in their establishment - customers can decide where they want to spend their money just fine.
                • Huh!
                  It was crazy to think that this wouldn't affect bar owners. Of course it will and IS! I honestly don't think that those involved in the ban really cared if it did or not. They only care about their convenience and there "right to go anywhere and everyone abide by their idea of right,healthy, etc." They aren't about freedom to choose to go to smoking or no-smoking bars they want that freedom to only inlcude bars that fit their view of healthy,right,etc. And they don't care who it affects. How many commented, "oh my brother's friend's sister lives in a place where they did this and it didn't hurt business at all." BUNK! Of course it did and (when not dealing with their blind will to take this choice from people) the reality is that it IS (the facts are in) it IS! IS! IS! Hurting business.

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