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City-County Council OKs new smoking-ban proposal

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The City-County Council voted 20-9 Monday night to approve another proposal that would strengthen Indianapolis' public smoking ban.

The council’s Rules and Public Policy Committee voted 6-2 in favor of the stronger ban earlier in the month.

Councilors Angela Mansfield, John Barth and Pamela Hickman, sponsors of the proposal, think this version has a better chance of gaining Mayor Greg Ballard’s signature.  

Ballard snuffed out the council's last attempt at a stronger ban when he vetoed an even tougher proposed ordinance Feb. 11.

The new proposal is nearly identical to the last measure except that it no longer bans smoking at existing private clubs that vote against a ban. New private clubs, those founded after April 1, would have to go smoke-free.

The council on Jan. 30 voted 19-9 in favor of expanding the citywide ban to include bowling alleys, hotel rooms and most bars. Tobacco shops, hookah bars and over-18 private clubs would have been exempted.

Ballard, however, said he couldn’t support the proposal because it made private clubs and fraternal organizations, including military-veterans groups, choose between allowing smoking on their premises or allowing patrons younger than 18 to enter. The ordinance, he said, posed an unfair dilemma for not-for-profit groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which raises money through family-oriented and children's events at VFW posts.

The new proposal does not include Speedway, Lawrence, Beech Grove or Southport. It also added an exemption for downtown's off-track betting parlor.

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  • RE: Almost had it Anon
    A couple more points...

    My credibility (or lack of it in your view) isn't relevant. The points I made have their own merit, and can be evaluated independently with a bit of googling.

    It's republicans that are pushing this, and I can still be a conservative and disagree on this issue.

    It was never governments job to protect us from ourselves. We make the choice where we patronize. If it was gov's job to protect us from ourselves, cigarettes and many other products would be gone, because the success of fast food is clear evidence that we the people just can't be trusted.

    Yeah...let's go there...inch by inch.
  • RE: Almost had it Anon
    You don't site your source for "21% smokers" but I'd say "admit to being smokers". People lie about it for many reasons.

    Nonetheless, government workers are going to take their breaks either way, but perhaps longer because they have to go so much further to someplace they can smoke, and breaks are their own time, whether they're on the clock or not, as defined in their terms of employment.

    If you're in the air quality field you know it's about parts per million, and no space (within context of the topic, not talking surgical theater / high-tech clean rooms) is free of airborne stuff. There is a point where there is less harmful content from 2nd-hand smoke than whatever else is present and potentially harmful. I'm going to ignore the "fatal" part, as lots of things are fatal given high enough exposure, and I maintain that there are HVAC systems that can deal with this issue.

    I've seen people start a fake cough at the sight of a lit cigarette at 50 yards distant, upwind, in a 15-mph breeze, yet had no reaction to all the vehicle exhaust they -chose- to sit next to at an outdoor seating area of a downtown eatery.

    Fine, the Obamanomics was a dig, but the point that employers compete for works still holds up.

    The airport space is about customer comfort and convenience where they have no viable choice. Some airports have them, others don't. Some airports you can at least smoke outside in designated spots away from the doors, but Indy is one of the few where you can get a $50 ticket even if you're a mile from the terminal but still on the property, in your car, going 40mph.
  • Supply and Demand
    Anon, you almost had a decent argument going, then you blew your credibility with the government buildings spending money to supply a non-protected class with special services (a smoking place) so they can spend their time on the tax payer's clock, smoking. The airport argument took you further down the slide, then the Obamanomics comment was the final straw, FYI, I am neither a Dem or Repub. This is a case of the government doing what they are tasked to do, for the people they are tasked to do it for. The government is tasked to protect the majority of the population, for example, zoning laws, building codes, they exist for a reason. Second hand smoke has been deemed harmful and fatal. You can blow your "air handlers" out your filtered tip, I work in the air quality field, you cannot replace 100% of air in a non-sealed enclosure, with clean air, period, not possible. Currently, less than 21% of the population in Indiana smokes. That is the second part of the government's task, protect the public........ oh ya, and they want to get re-elected, so.... protect the MAJORITY. 80-20, do the math. You'll have plenty of time to do so, while your outside smoking.
  • Rights vs. Priviliges
    Having a job is a privilige, not a right. Patronizing any private establishment is a privilige, not a right. How did these truths get lost?

    Any establishment can refuse service to anyone for any reason or no reason at all. That refusal can come in many forms, from the most direct of asking a patron to leave and/or physical removal, to the more subtle, such as not offering a desirable experience, including poor service, bad food, weak drinks, style / volume / lack of music, and yes, even their smoking policy.

    Should all music be banned because some people suffer migranes when it's above a certain volume?

    Should peanuts at the ballpark be banned because some people are allergic?

    Should aerosol hair products be banned from beauty salons? I don't know what's in those products, but you sure don't want it in your eyes, and those that work in those plaecs must be inhaling a fair amount of it. There goes the "woman vote".

    Bars and restaurants and hotels are private establishments. Huge money was invested with certain clientelle in mind. Having the government interfere with commerce through legislation is simply wrong, and is supposed to be illegal. In Plainfield, a city-wide smoking ban bankrupted several of these private establishments, costing jobs, and huge losses for their owners and investors, while others (Coachman in particular) fought hard with huge dollars to defend their business and investment to have outdoor seating with a minimum age of 21 and smoking permitted. Coachman's deck is packed all summer, especially when they have a band out there. Why should the Coachman or any other establishment have to go through that expensive fight? You can bet the former patrons of the bankrupted places either went to Coachman, or went east to Marion County or south to Camby or Mooreseville.

    A smoking ban in Government buildings I understand. As with any establishment, rules on what goes on in government buildings is within the government's perview. Fine, although I think they should still provide an isolated space with a decent air handler for smoker workers to go on their breaks. Same should be true at airports (some have such spaces but they lack the air handlers unfortunately). Traveling smokers are "trapped" in the airport terminals, often for hours at a time, and they understand not imposing their habit on others, but can't even go outside because it's banned on the whole airport property, even where belching exhaust from slow moving vehicles is in vastly greater volume and is far more toxic than the 2nd hand smoke of a cigarette.

    I even understand the notion of "protecting the children" but at least the bars being targetted by this ban didn't allow kids already. Protecting kids is a parent's obligation. If a parent subjects their kid to toxic environments, we already have plenty of criminal laws for those bad acts. Beyond that, restaurants and hotels can and do have designated smoking areas and rooms. Simple enough to just not take your kids in those areas and choose a non-smoking hotel room. People have been doing this for years, no legilation required.


    Some establishments have highly efficient HVAC systems that replace the whole volume of air in the space several times per hour, and are perhaps more popular for doing so. Those that don't have such systems suffer their own fate, at their own hand, in both the workers and patrons they get...or lack of them. The difference is they made their choice, instead of government making it for them.

    Workers haven't been hoodwinked...it wasn't a secret that the establishment allowed smoking when they applied for the job, nor were the air quality conditions magically hidden from them. They knew what they were signing up for.

    Reality check: most smokers don't much care for thick, smoke-filled places either.

    Patrons and workers vote with their feet and wallet. That's free enterprise. There was no shortage of choices for patrons or workers before, but there are fewer choices now with this ban for both parties. Have we all forgotten that businesses compete for workers too? Perhaps less so under Obamanomics, but in a healthy economy this is absolutely true.

    It seems to me this issue should have been resolved with air quality standards phased in over time, than forcing businesses into bankruptcy. The Board of Health already makes routine inspections, and this would be just another on a long list of things they check. Added cost of enforcement: nearly $0. Simple rules that prohibit smoking in the restrooms, that require the "smoking section" to not be near the main entrance or the restrooms so non-smokers don't have to go through that section are rather obvious to me.

    The media is wailing all about jobs. With this ban, some jobs will come off the table.

    Lastly, to those who've said "smokers can just go outside", that's really not an acceptable answer. It's disruptive to the patron experience for one thing, and taking the year in total, there are more days with inclement weather than not. The comfortable dry days of summer are few against all the rest that are cold and/or wet, or soaking humid. Some here have said it's "better" because now the non-smokers aren't excluded, yet ignore the obvious outcome that smokers are now excluded...how does that make sense? Friends and family that go out together tend to pick places where all are welcome and comfortable, not just "most". Forcing one or a few in their group to "make concessions" is not the optimal choice.

    This is heavy handed government that should have no place in America.
    • Patrons vs Employees
      Yes, Patrons have always had the choice of where to spend there money. What this ban does is make it an even playing field for the employees of these establishments who spend hours in the second hand smoke. Sure some of the employees are smokers, but some are not. This comes down to a workplace safety issue. Someone shouldn't have to choose between having and keeping a job or maintaining their health.
    • Educated people don't resort to name calling.
      Smoking is not a right. Smoking is a privilege.

      There is plenty of precedent that the government can and will regulate businesses who hold their establishments open for public patronage. There are health codes that dictate the equipment and preparation procedures for food and drink, there are building and fire codes that ensure a minimum level of safety for occupants, there are worker age, wages, and overtime rules, there are ADA codes that ensure accessibility to people with disabilities, there are age restrictions for entrance to certain establishments, there are insurance requirements, zoning requirements, licensing requirements, inspection requirements, etc....

      We have minimum safety standards that we enforce on all businesses every single day. This new law is no different and is simply one more step in a positive direction. Smoke if you want to smoke, just step outside for a few minutes.

      A completely reasonable solution for an offensive addiction that is dangerous to others. I smoke and I prefer to do it outside instead of around my friends and family. I do it out of respect for their choice to not smoke.

    • Get over yourselves...you still have the freedom to smoke
      Calling those who want to protect workers and patrons from the poison of second hand smoke should not be referred to as Nazis. Think about it. You are comparing the right to smoke in a bar to the horrible killings and slavery and beatings of innocent people by Nazis.

      Get over yourself.
    • In response
      In response to "Wake Up Indiana". The downtown bars may not be effected as much but 2 or 3 months after the ban takes effect, please contact a bar owner near the township lines of Speedway, Beech Grove, Lawerence, or Southport. See if they were effected by this. I think you'll find that they were very effected by this.
    • See you in Speedway
      I think HERE COME THE SMOKERS said it best....

      Can I buy you a beer in Speedway?
    • Bar owners will suffer
      I was talking with a friend of mine who said that in Fort Wayne the bars were forced to go non-smoking and a bunch of the smaller bars went out of business and the larger ones added an out-door area for smoking patrons. She said it was funny because within the year, the bands and most events were being set up outside where patrons could smoke.

      I want to bring this up because, now that the non-smoking Nazis have stolen this freedom to choose -a smoking or non-smoking establishment-, they will need a new direction to go looking to steal some freedom. It's just a thought but the Nazis could begin working on any indoor or outdoor gathering being banned from smoking.

      And for any of the Nazis who posted that their health was at stake at smoking establishments, I have to ask- why would you go there when there are numerous non-smoking bars around? It blows my mind that these people, so worried about their health, couldn't take the time to figure out which establishments didn't allow smoking and just go there and live and let live. Why do they feel the need to force their opinions and views on ALL people? I seriously don't get it.

      And out of curiosity, can anyone tell me why E-cigarettes are included in this ban? Is second hand water vapor harmful too?
    • Freedom for everyone
      Freedom for everyone.
      Smokers freedom to go to and work in a smoking establishment.

      Non-smokers freedom to go to and work in a non-smoking establishment.

      Nazis- choose what is right for everyone and make sure that they mold society to fit their exact vision of what is okay for everyone.

      There were non-smoking choices all over the city. There were also smoking choices. This sounds like a free society to me.

      But.....
      Now we're are going to cater only to the non-smokers. They now have no choice to go to a public place and be allowed to smoke. Even though there were many places anyone worried about their health and second hand smoke could go and not have to be in it. That wasn't good enough for the no smoking nazis. They want all places open to them and to fit their vision of okay and healthy and what ever excuses they want to use for taking away this right.
    • Freedom for Who?!
      Furthermore, a right is no longer a right when it severely infringes on another person. When you choose to smoke in public, you are putting people's lives at risk in a manner similar but less immediate in danger to a person drinking and driving!
    • Wake Up Indiana!
      You are crazy. No bars will be affected. Addicted smokers still want a beer and are not going to drive all the way across town or into the suburbs to have a beer instead of their local and favorite pub. Instead, they will step outside, smoke, and return. You'll find in other cities that have done this the bars generally see a slight increase in business. The smokers still come out and then they are joined by non-smokers that wanted to enjoy a beer at the local pub, but couldn't for health or personal reasons. Do you know that New York and California have had laws in place for more than 15 years?! Even Chicago (Illinois) has had a law in place for years. There is no ill effect to businesses. If you want to smoke at home then do it, but keep your poison out of the public!
      • Here come the smokers
        If you are a bar owner in Speedway, Lawerence, Beech Grove, or Southport....
        Get ready-your business is about to boom!

        To the Indy bar owners who still allowed smoking - my condolences on the loss of business that the smoking ban nazis are going to cause you.

        To the outlying bar owners - wow, what a boon for you!

        Anyone who has fought this ban either because you are a smoker or are just a supporter of freedom.
        ----- Can I buy you beer in Speedway tonight?

        If you are part of the smoking ban nazi party, please stay in the city and don't come to the area where the freedom to choose still exists. Please choose to stay in the city where ALL the bars are your way now. If you go to an outlying bar that smoking is allowed then you have exercised a freedom that you have taken away from many citizens.
        The right to choose to go to a smoking or non-smoking establishment.

        I paraphrase: Anyone who gives up freedom for protection deserves neither one.

        Seriously: smoking ban nazis:Please stay in the city and help the bar owners that you have hurt. I'll have to leave for an area that still offers the freedom to choose.

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