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Indiana Senate panel votes down proposed smoking ban

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A statewide smoking ban that health advocates assailed as too weak was rejected Wednesday by an Indiana Senate committee after several members said they supported broader restrictions on smoking in public places.

"People are asking for a clean-air bill — and this is not a clean-air bill," said Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, who helped the Senate Public Policy Committee reject the plan on an 8-1 vote.

The bill, which had been approved in the House, provided exemptions to casinos, bars, fraternal clubs, smoke shops and nursing homes. The committee's chairman, Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, wouldn't allow senators to remove any of the exemptions, saying they were needed to secure enough votes in the Senate and the House.

Sen. Joe Zakas, R-Granger, said he would have supported expanding the ban to bars, but noted that lawmakers faced different views from various business groups and anti-smoking advocates.

"I think the default position became 'let's go back to the drawing board,'" Zakas said.

Sens. Veneta Becker, R-Evansville, and Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, voted against the bill after saying they supported a comprehensive ban. Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, was the only committee member who voted to advance the bill to the full Senate, saying he hoped the exemptions would be removed.

Arnold said he also wanted to see fewer places left out of a statewide ban.

The American Cancer Society opposed the proposed ban because it would be one of the weakest in the country, said Amanda Estridge, the group's state government relations manager.

Similar smoking ban proposals have cleared the House in recent years, but this was the first time one had been considered by a Senate committee.

Estridge said that was progress and rejected arguments from Alting that the proposal would have been a big step forward by prohibiting smoking in most workplaces and restaurants throughout the state.

"Bars are workplaces, too," she said. "Those that work in bars and taverns and private clubs are most regularly exposed to secondhand smoke."

Democratic Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary, who has led the smoking ban push in the House for several years, said he was caught off guard by the cancer society's opposition to the bill and was disappointed that it wasn't more willing to compromise in hopes of having even a weaker ban become law.

"I would have been more than happy to come back next year and talk about those four or five exemptions that are currently in there and which ones we can unitedly try to get out of there," Brown said.

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  • Public or Private
    @ Mitch the bar Owner.
    You could leave your half of the ownership to the public in your will, I am sure it will get somebodies attention when you tell your son what you have done
  • Right On Wannabe
    You post is so very right.The brainwashing you speak about has run very deep, sadly it has been capable of pushing truth aside.The overtaxed smokes drives the contraband, while the tobacco settlement was a lost cause in the first place.You have the health people pushing the fact people can live forever if you don't smoke yet they do not have a pill to stop millions of starving children from dying the world over.The anti smoker could change a lot of things for people tommorow when they realise others have to have CHOICES too. Take the burden away from the politician and burn your apron.
  • Me, though you're right IN has had a lot of anti-growth and repressive proposals this year.....
    Such as the immigration bill, and another that would put a gay marriage ban on the state ballot, the smoking ban is NOT one of those, since you always can very easily detect if a business permits indoor smoking, and can always take your business elsewhere if smoking bothers you. Not to mention, OSHA does NOT ban workplace smoking, due to the fact they found it was 25,000 times safer than their existing indoor air quality standards, and even caught anti-smoking group ASH trying to lie about SHS being 'deadly!'. (never mind they've brainwashed millions of anti-smokers and non-smokers into believing the SHS junk science) Why else does NYC have tons of 'smokeasies', Ohio have so many businesses ignoring their statewide ban, Illinois casinos(and even to the point of IL communities with casinos having a very heavy dent in their city budgets due to the major decline in tax revenue, Joliet, Alton, and East Saint Louis being the 3 biggest examples of this) being heavily down vs. surrounding state casinos(plus a bill that may make it all the way up to the governor's desk to reallow smoking in casinos, and a 2nd one to return it to bars with very little food sales, despite the gov's veto threat for both bills), and Michigan bars have already have done 2 organized statewide revolts against a 2010 statewide smoking ban that only exempts casinos and cigar bars, and does NOT exempt even a limited percentage of motel/hotel rooms as smoking rooms?

    I think it's beautiful Indiana lawmakers shot down the statewide smoking ban bill since it'll save jobs, plus not to mention the bill didn't even allow restaurants or bowling alleys to have a walled-off room(with 50% or less of the entire floor space, i.e. a bowling alley's bar or restaurant physically separate smoking room) for smoking. If it had such a walled-off room exemption, I wouldn't have opposed this year's smoking ban bill.

    http://ny.eater.com/archives/2009/11/the_return_of_smoking.php (NYC bars/clubs)
    http://www.smokechoke.com/(all kinds of Ohio businesses looking the other way, and not just mom and pop bars)
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/29455559.html (Harrah's Metropolis laying off 30 workers in early 2008 as result of IL ban, plus major decrease in its business)
    http://willcountywatcher.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/andy-mihelich-is-the-change-needed-in-joliet-vote-andrew-andy-mihelich-for-mayor-of-joliet/ (Joliet, IL mayoral candidate notes that casino revenue between the 2 Joliet casinos decreased 40%!)
    http://kansas.watchdog.org/4038/michigan-bar-owners-boycott-lottery-in-smoking-ban-protest/ (Michigan bars doing their 1st statewide revolt against the ban via boycotting state lottery ticket sales)
    http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/Michigan_restaurants_and_bars_to_stage_New_Years_Eve_smoking_ban_protest_112135549.html?storySection=story (New Year's Eve 2010/New Year's Day 2011 smoking ban boycott, and the 2nd one MI bars have done against the state ban)
  • junk science
    Basically whats happened over the last 20 years is the robert wood johnson foundation was able to corrupt the ACS,ALA,AHA with 99 million dollars to go out and become the political promoters of smoking bans so that johnson and johnson could force sell their nicotine replacement therapy drugs worldwide.The world health orginizations UN forced treaty on all the worlds countries on tobacco control has caused this world wide prohibition movement.Once health officials become health police we are all in deep trouble.Anti-obesity is another one of their contrived social promotions.These folks have lowered the basic standards of what constitutes a disease and used it to create even more epidemics that never existed and still dont exist..............To the Czarina of anti-obesity Michelle Obama who took millions from the foodstamp program to use to create junk obesity science for her cause we must simply state it goes hand in hand with the same created junk second hand smoke science and dont be surprised to see the same so called researchers creating this new junk science for her as who did the second hand smoke junk science.Of course,cdc and the rest of the progressively controlled government health agencies will rubber stamp their claims as they did the shs junk science........

    We have all now been informed..................ta!
  • Re Bans
    I am a smoker and know many non smokers. Oddly a number of non smoking friends smoke the magical weed of sorts and oddly I do not.
    I have found compromise with these people !
    It is a sad day when people do not realise what your ancestors were about and sacrificed to make you stand free, and proud.
    A constition is only as good as it's weakest link, it takes only one bad one to make it so. Several countries do not have the freedoms you have,nor choices.Wise people will tell you make the best of your choices no one on the face of this earth has it all or owns it all.
  • local rule
    this is not a state issue but a local one. I too am for business' rights to choose and the publics right to choose, but this isnt working in the coal mines. Generally the smoke filled bars or restaurants do not have as much business as the non smoking places. Point taken you dont like smoking - join the ever increasing crowd. Just keep it off of the states agenda. Keep it a local issue with your city or town. If podunk nowhere Indiana still wants to let people smoke then fine you and i will probably never go there anyway.
  • Water too!
    I couldn't agree more with Mike, Mitch, and Frumious. I live next to Central Indiana's water supply, and if I want to pour leather tanning chemicals and toxic waste onto my land, who is the state to stop me? This is my property, and just because your kids will drink my poison doesn't mean you have any right to infringe on my personal property rights!
  • Freedom
    You're still free to smoke. At home. I'll just add our lack of a smoking ban to the increasingly long list of seriously anti-growth legislation Indiana has foisted on its population. The rest of the country knows it's 2011, not 1958. (Cue the "so move!" comments...Very helpful and so original.)
  • Zultanski - getting close
    i am not a smoker, and Zultanski is on the right track. This is not a 'smoking' issue per se, it is a *Home Rule* issue. This will never be solved a the state level without an overreaching act upon liberty, evidenced by the multiple lobbies across the spectrum arguing for and against, and for differing reasons.

    Therefore, the smoking issue becomes a decision best made at the community level. The community can pass the ban, then businesses can decide whether to conduct commerce there or not, and the community assumes the risk that they may not reap revenue and potentially diversify their tax-base by inviting certain business-types.

    If we are going to ban smoking state-wide because it is a) potentially dangerous to people who are not direct users, and/or b) it smells bad or is 'offensive', then we better ban:

    --all forms of transportation other than walking ("your poor driving hurt me, your exhaust fumes hurt me")
    --all sports ("your hip-check, pitch, tackle, etc. hurt me")
    --all large-venue events where crowd-noise is produced ("your noise levels hurt me")

    Home-rule, people. If all the communities eventually pass their own bans, you have your state-wide ban.


  • choice
    DonS than why don't we let the employees decide wether they choose to work in a smoking establishment or not! Rather than somebody else choosing for them.
  • Oh my gosh!
    mcaretired: how can the state tell businesses owners how to run their business? They do it all the time from Board of Health to Fire Marshal. And thank goodness!

    This is not about taking smokers rights away. It is about workplace safety.

    Don't lock your exits in case of fire, keep food refrigerated so you are not selling bacteria, and dont subject your employees to proven second-hand smoke that gives you cancer.
  • Agreed
    Frumious, I agree; let's let the free market decide. But for a free market to work, all of the costs and benefits must be properly internalized. A business should be allowed to have smoking in their facilities, but they must pay. As it is, bars get the "benefits" of smoking without the corresponding costs; because of this imbalance, bars have a financial incentive to allow smoking. However, the costs to the system as a whole are high. Thus, the wages of the non-smoking workers should be increased to account for their increased future medical bills. The bars insurance premiums should double, because smokers and their second- and third-hand smoke take more from the insurance system than they pay in (the rest of us pay more to subsidize the smokers).

    You speak of freedom. But freedom has costs, not just benefits. Only when bar owners and smokers must pay the true costs to society of their reckless, dangerous, disgusting habit will the free market operate properly. And my guess is that the average bar owner would be far less likely to allow smoking if he had to pay the costs for his business decisions.
  • My market doesn't smoke
    I don't go to The Slippery Noodle anymore. Most of the bars in Broad Ripple are off limits, too. It doesn't matter who's performing. I simply can't take the cigarette smoke. So, like many others, I frequent places that have it totally banned. I was once one of those people chain-smoking by the doors, freezing my tail. Now I realize that passive smoking really hurts people. Before, I rationalized it. I apologize to those that I hurt. To those still rationalizing it, you're heartless.
  • Use your brain
    Seriously, Patrick. You honestly believe the few smokers you were "interrupted" by (meaning you ran right past them) were more injurious to your health than the cars and trucks driving parallel to the canal? The smoking ban is purely about trying to control the behavior of others, and has nothing to do with your health, or anyone else's. Leave private property owners alone and let the marketplace decide.
    • smoking ban
      Patrick, the numerous lazy people along the canal probably pay taxes so you can run along the canal. Maybe you should thank them are better yet run somewhere else
    • smoking ban
      Cris, don't people that own businesses have a right to choose whether or not to allow smoking? This is the land of freedom and democracy isn't it. Maybe people that choose not to smoke, should not frequent those places. You have other choices, maybe look up more information on your computer.
    • Chris
      My son and I own a bar I smoke- he never has. Do you consider our bar private property or public property??
      • It's all about choice
        In st. Joseph county the no smoking ban passed in 2006 prohibits smoking in all public and work places, but exempts bars and restaurants who do not allow people under 21 and pvt.clubs. No one is subjected to second hand smoke in St. Joe county who doesn't choose to be. It's a win-win situation for everyone. When you decide to go to a bar, restuarant or club, you choose where you want to go. (Thats the american dream to be able to choose) There are plenty of non-smoking establishments as well as smoking to choose from. Many non-smokers want to take that choice away. Once you ask a Govt. entity wether it be local, state, or federal to take that step and take away one of your RIGHTS, when will the steps end. We need to protect our freedoms not allow someone to choose for us and take them away.
      • The Vote Went For A Different Reason
        Mcaretired, had you bothered to read the article, you would have read that the ban was killed by legislators who wanted a STRONGER ban, it had nothing to do with supporting so-called "smoker's rights."

        Nowhere in the Constitution or in any law is there a right to smoke. It is a behavior, which like any other behavior may be regulated to the extent it affects the well-being and safety of others. That said, you do have the full right to smoke as much as you want on your own private property. The issue is that smoking in public affects the people around you. If smoking were more like shooting up heroin, then I would see more logic to your argument about letting people do as they please, and I would fully by in to it. Heroin may kill you, but it doesn't have any immediate direct health impact on others when you inject it. Tobacco companies could simply save a lot of money they currently spend on PR and lobbying, if they moved ahead with finalizing the long-promised smokeless cigarette they have talked about for the past couple of decades.
        • Non-smokers have rights, as well!
          I ran a 5K today for the first time and it was interrupted numerous times by lazy, unhealthy smokers alongside the canal route! Irregardless of your payment of taxes, that doesn't give you free reign to diminish/destroy the health of innocent bystanders!
          • smoking ban
            thanks senate, how can the state tell business owners how to run their business? all non-smokers should avoid these places-- even though they pay lots of taxes--it seems our state is no longer a democracy but a dictatorship--smokers have rights too, we pay taxes

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