Council tables smoking ban

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Efforts to broaden Indianapolis' workplace smoking ban came up short Monday night as members of the City-County Council voted to table the proposal.

The ordinance would have prohibited patrons from lighting up in bars, bowling alleys and nightclubs, expanding an existing law that prohibits smoking in most public places, including restaurants that serve minors. Council members were split on the issue, with 12 members voting for the proposal and 13 against; the measure needed 15 votes to pass.

Council members could resurrect the ordinance at a future meeting.

Bill sponsors Angela Mansfield, a Democrat, Republican Ben Hunter and other proponents were unable to rally sufficient support for the proposal, despite a 4-2 community affairs committee vote Oct. 14 that advanced the ordinance to the full council.

Before the vote, councilors on both sides of the issue voiced concerns.

“We know for certain second-hand smoke is not an annoyance,” said Democrat Brian Mahern. “It’s a health risk. There is no such thing as safe second-hand smoke.”

Mahern’s appeal to the council drew the most spirited reaction from Smoke Free Indy, the advocacy group that came dressed in green shirts to show support for the proposed ordinance.

On the other side of the aisle, an alliance of bar owners and other opponents sported red shirts and stood in ovation upon Libertarian Ed Coleman’s remarks to the committee.

“Adults can make decisions,” Coleman said. “They choose to work [in smoking environments]. They choose to walk in there.”

Hunter introduced the proposal by citing non-smoking workers in smoking establishments as having no choice in their working environment. The councilor also said the proposal would help get Indianapolis up to speed with other communities that have banned smoking.

“There’s no doubt we need to move forward and join 70 percent of the rest of the nation,” he said.


  • Challenge!
    Ryan, you wrote, "Pass a bill that requires all bars or bowling alleys to install air filtration/ventilation systems!! This will cost bar owners a few thousand dollars, but it could reduce secondhand smoke by 98% and end this silly debate!!"

    Ryan, I'm sorry, but that will never fly. You don't understand what drives these bans. The goal is to reduce smoking by making it as inconvenient, uncomfortable, unaffordable, and undesirable as possible. Providing comfortable, pleasant, separately ventilated or well-filtrated areas for smokers and their friends to enjoy themselves simply does NOT fit that agenda.

    "Protecting the workers" or "Saving the children" are simply tools being used by a very powerful, 800 million dollar a year lobby to ram smoking bans down the throats of legislators and a public that generally doesn't have the time or interest to actually read the medical studies and their criticisms for themselves.

    The IndyStar and pro-ban legislators have been challenged to survey the workers themselves to see what THEY want, and to stand behind their claims of no-business/jobs loss with their own money... and that challenge has been ignored.

    If that makes you angry, go to the council hearing tonight and let them know. And if the IBJ is willing to stand up against a powerful lobbying force, call upon the IndyStar to stand behind its words and support that challenge!

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
  • Carrie Nation Lives!
    Quite frankly, this and other similar 'rights' issues tread, threaten and possibly bypass U.S. Constitutionality. Local activists and commissioners do Not have the vested authority in determining issues like this (using tobacco on a sidewalk). The last time this type of radicalism raised its collective ugly head was in 1919 with thrice-divorced, scrawny, ugly, frustrated Carrie Nation and latter consent by the U.S. Congress. Of course it was repealed after millionaires were created out of people like Alphonse Capone while draining the tax coffers. Here's an offer--let's revue the local smoking laws but we'll also revist the recently eradicated 'morals' guidelines for this city.
  • Our Future Children Our Shaking Their Heads
    @ JJ's post....one day (our children's children probably) will all look back and wonder how, despite the fact that we knew it was harmful to everyone around, we allowed smoking in public establishments! You future grand children are laughing at you.
  • The right call...
    Children, who must follow their parents, are patrons of restaurants. Since they are not there of their own free will, absolutely, ban cigarette smoke.

    Adults on the other hand are free to patronize or work at a bar and can make the decision to patronize or work in a smoking establishment. Leave that decision up to the bar owners.

    The current compromise is the right answer.

    Additional information: 2/3 of alcohol serving establishments are non-smoking. Most bar workers are smokers themselves.
    Pass a bill that requires all bars or bowling alleys to install air filtration/ventilation systems!! This will cost bar owners a few thousand dollars, but it could reduce secondhand smoke by 98% and end this silly debate!! This is how the government could protect workers right to a smoke free workplace without infringing on the rights of the owners or patrons.
  • Common Sense
    Smoking is not good for you. No one can deny that inhaling smoke can and likely will damage your lung tissue. But the decision to smoke, or to visit a smoking establishment, or to ask someone nearby to extinguish a cigarette or cigar, or simply to take responsibility for ourselves, should be OURS, not the CITY-COUNCIL, the MAYOR, nor the GOVERNOR, or any GOVERNMENTAL body. If only this approach would continue to be highly regarded in all aspects of our society, we could get on with being a free country. Our freedoms are slowly being manipulated, and one day we'll (our children's children probably) all look back and wonder how we got here.
    • Indy Fail
      Wow, heaven forbid we be like those California folk and legalize marriage for the gays...or ban smoking. Ha-ha! Burnt, your backward's comment reflects your lack of intelligence and why smoking should be banned. It's only a matter of time before this passes!
    • Sick of special rights?
      This isn't about smokers rights. It is about your small business owners and property rights. Private property is not community or public property. Anti smokers are notorious for blurring those lines.
      • I'm sick of SPECIAL RIGHTS!
        I just don't understand Indiana's infatuation with awarding special rights to smokers. You just can't conjure up rights out of thin air, it makes a mockery of the constitution!!! NO MORE SPECIAL RIGHTS!!!
      • Smoking Ban Fails
        I appreciate the fact that some of the council understood that involuntary servitude was against the Constitution. It is apparent also that the old it will not hurt business propaganda failed as it has been shown nationwide that smoking bans hurt casinos, private non profit clubs, family owned bars and restaurants!
        Self responsibility is the issue here. Can the city and its people decide what is best for them or do they have to be told to follow the lead into gay marriages, legalized pot and whatever else someone from California thinks is great!
      • Smoking Ban Fails
        Congratulations to Indianapolis for showing respect to your hospitality business owners and giving them the choice of allowing smoking or not. Finally some common sense has prevailed.
      • The truth about second-hand smoking is finally out.
        I applaud the city-county council for taking a stand for privately owned business owners! More and more people are discovering the truth behind this social engineering that "denormalize" behavior. Al Capone had nothing on the extremely well-funded prohibitionists of today, like big pharma who finance these bans in the first place and then pass the costs on to the local govt and business owners. Itâ??s time to tell big pharma to get back to finding cures with the hundreds of millions of donated dollars instead of spending it squashing the freedom of the very people donating. It was never about health, just money, as witnessed in NYC.
        The truth about second-hand smoking is finally out.
        http://www.spiked- online.com/ index.php/ site/article/ 7626/

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