Officials: Weak smoking ban hurts Indianapolis' hospitality efforts

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The smoking-ban debate in this city and state is getting a new spark from a fired-up group of tourism and convention officials.

They’re trying to light a fire under lawmakers, who have been reluctant to approve the kind of comprehensive smoking ban that health—and now tourism—officials say is needed here.

Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association CEO Don Welsh and other area tourism and convention officials say Indianapolis officials’ unwillingness to strengthen anti-smoking legislation is imperiling the city’s growing tourism trade.

“In many cases, the ordinances have been driven politically or solely due to the desires of local citizens,” Welsh said. “While I understand that, the desires of visitors who spend billions of dollars in our community every year have not been considered.”

smoking opinionsOn the state level, the Indiana House on Feb. 24 passed a measure that would ban smoking in all enclosed public places except casinos and horse tracks. Several local tourism officials said they plan to get in the ear of state politicians as the bill progresses through the General Assembly.

A number of cities in the United States and abroad have passed legislation outlawing smoking in all public places, including hotels, restaurants and bars. Welsh said he recently heard from visitors from New York who were disgusted by Indianapolis’ policy.

“When Paris passed their anti-smoking legislation 18 months ago, that set the tone globally,” Welsh said. “It’s what people come to expect, and Indianapolis is being left behind.”

Welsh is far from alone in his concern.

Jeff Sweet, president of the Greater Indianapolis Hotel and Lodging Association and general manager of Hilton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites, said the complaints he hears from visitors about Indiana’s smoking policies are becoming louder and more frequent.

“Our guests, quite frankly, are taken aback by the smoking in our city,” said Sweet, whose hotel is in the process of going completely smoke-free. “There’s no getting around it. It’s starting to affect the city’s image, and not in a good way.”

Dirk Ebener, CEO of Atlanta-based NuernbergMesse North America, which represents more than 100 trade shows globally, said a city’s smoking policy has a major impact on its image. Ebener, who recently conducted a site inspection in Indianapolis, said the smoking in entertainment hot spots here is a definite drawback.

“There are a growing number of conventions in various sectors that definitely prefer a non-smoking city,” Ebener said. “A city’s smoking policy says a lot about it. It speaks to cleanliness of the city, demonstrates the health awareness of the city, and calls attention to its overall progressiveness.”

In 2006, the City-County Council enacted an anti-smoking law, but there are several exemptions, including bars and other establishments that don’t allow anyone under 18 and businesses that don’t employ anyone under 18.

In October, the City-County Council voted against an ordinance that would have strengthened the existing smoking ban to include bars and the vast majority of workplaces. Council members then decided in a 14-13 vote to table the legislation, which means it can return to the council agenda at a future meeting.

smoking Local patrons like Kenneth Fegett still enjoy a smoke at the Front Page and other area bars. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Mayor Greg Ballard has said he would veto such an ordinance if it reaches his desk.

That stand, Welsh said, is endangering a critical sector of convention business the ICVA is trying to develop.

“Many in the life sciences, bio and medical fields are vehemently against smoking in public places,” Welsh said. “I’m not sure it’s always a show stopper, but it’s certainly an unnecessary worry and concern that we shouldn’t have.”

Medical and life sciences conventions and corporate meetings are key to the city’s plan to grow downtown and its convention business, Sweet said.

“Bio and life sciences is a premium-rated business,” he said. “There’s a huge benefit to getting a foot in the door with that industry. Since that sector is growing rapidly, now is a critical time for this city to put its best foot forward with those organizations.”

Sweet said the current policy hurts the city’s otherwise pristine reputation among convention-goers.

“In order to be perceived as being a more progressive city, we have to have a smoking ban,” he said.

The city’s rapidly growing tourism and convention business means there’s plenty at stake.

A 2006 study by Washington, D.C.-based industry analyst D.K. Shifflet and Associates showed the city’s annual visitor spending hitting $3.6 billion.

Life sciences currently generates 4 percent of Indianapolis’ convention and visitor business, but within a few years, Welsh said, it could account for 20 percent. Sports is the city’s largest convention and visitor moneymaker, he said, making up 24 percent of the pie.

While the money spent on life sciences and medical conventions is considerable, it’s just part of the benefit. ICVA and its partners in the endeavor to grow that sector hope exposure from the medical and bio gatherings gives the region further gravitas as a life sciences hub. That, BioCrossroads President David Johnson said, will help build the credibility of companies located here.

“If we could make Indianapolis ground zero for these types of meetings, that would be a tremendous way to show the strengths of this community in a way others in the industry don’t normally think of,” said Johnson, whose organization heads economic development for Indiana’s life sciences initiative.

Not everyone in the local convention and tourism sector favors strengthening the city’s anti-smoking law. John Livengood, president of the Indiana Restaurant & Hospitality Association, said there’s an intense divide among members of his organization.

While some agree with Welsh and Sweet that Indianapolis’ smoking laws are scaring off certain visitors, he said others fear an all-out smoking ban will hurt the city with other patrons.

“There’s only one policy that works for everyone,” Livengood said. “To have no policy and let each company decide for itself. It’s a free enterprise issue.”

Waiting for local businesses to conclude that smoking must be banned, Welsh said, could have detrimental consequences.

“I understand civil liberties, but there’s enough medical documentaion to know smoke—firsthand or secondhand—is bad for you,” Welsh said. “Our current policy makes this city look not very progressive.”•


  • Really?
    Actually those of us who have a choice to not fly, don't. Last time I checked nobody asked smokers what we want, and personally all I see it as the government using false stats and documentation to strip us of rights one by one. Wake up people your being lied to, you are not going to die early from lung cancer because you passed someone on the street who was smoking. Use your brains.
  • It should be up to the owner!
    Why not leave this responsibility to the business owner?
    Are you telling me people who don't smoke are going to patronize my bar,because of the ban - not likely. It's hard in these times to keep a business running without anymore laws and regulations!
  • wish i could
    I wish I could smoke in bars around Chicago.
    I hardly ever go out anymore. I need a list of bars in Indy that still allow smoking.
    Any ideas? PS You non-smokers that think we don't mind you are so wrong.
  • Education Wasted
    Apparently many are so sold on their education they forget about their confirmation bias. Look it up. Just because you have convinced yourself you are intelligent doesn't make it so. Real research and not just opinion usually will bring out the truth. Keep looking.
  • Indy, please smoke free
    I moved from Chicago to Indy a year ago. It is hard to find places that are smoke free, we really miss that freedom. We rarely go out now.
  • It's already in Place
    Correct me if i'm wrong,..but, are we allowed to smoke inside the (public tax funded) convention center, Lucas Oil stadium, in-out of the state gov't complex, IUPUI, airport etc etc? I think you already have your bans in place. Now if you want to speak to 'politically correct economic social engineering',..well, that's an entirely different subject.
    • Airline Flights
      How long ago did they ban smoking on airplanes? And did smokers quit flying? Case closed - people are not going to stop eating or drinking if restaurants or bars go smoke free.
    • Facts and Findings
      Thank you for demonstrating so well the benefit of an education is not a gaurantee of civility. Regarding the health effects of second hand smoke...the 2006 Surgeon General's report disagrees with your findings. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/report/chapter1.pdf

      The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and acute respiratory symptoms including cough, wheeze, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing among persons with asthma.

      The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and acute respiratory symptoms including cough, wheeze, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing among healthy persons.

      The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and chronic respiratory symptoms.

      The evidence is suggestive but not sufficient to infer a causal relationship between short-term secondhand smoke exposure and an acute decline in lung function in persons with asthma.

      The evidence is inadequate to infer the presence or absence of a causal relationship between short-term secondhand smoke exposure and an acute decline in lung function in healthy persons.
    • Rational people with a real education
      Please ban smoking in all establishments that are open to public patronage! There are already health codes, ADA compliance, building codes, hours of operation, etc... so don't give me the rights infringement argument. All of you grumpy old men need to yield to the future generations that want to make this a better place for OUR children.

      Why is it so hard to smoke outside? IT ISN'T!

      For those of us who went to college and believe in science. Smoking causes cancer. Cancer kills people. Get rid of it. I am sick of my rights being trampled in the form of taxes to pay for state subsidized cancer treatment. We would shut down any business that had asbestos problems... this is no different.

      If you don't believe that smoking and second hand smoke cause cancer then you are stupid. Period.

      • OoooKay!
        I'm unsure why Mihi Nomen Est would want to provide a link to tobacco organizations from a google search as evidence that groups are avoiding Indiana....but okay! As for the image of unloading one's bladder in public as a comparison for second hand smoke...the logic speaks for itself. We could avoid all aspects of rudeness and lack of civility by posting a sign, let individual's decide to enter or not, and protect the business owner's right to which business plan/clientele better serves his interests.

        Anti-smoking advocates often threaten to avoid cities for their parties but truthfully end up spending more dollars and using more hospitality services in States that continue to not enact bans. Their mission requires their presence in the State to pass the initiatives.

        Once the voting is completed and the initiative passes the groups disappear with only a few native individuals to ensure the program is on track. The methodology is repeated over and over.

        Read the statistics from each State, once the swarm is over, problems arise and citizens are unhappy.
      • Ohio
        How did I forget to mention the Smoke Choke Ohio site? Businesses there have been breaking the ban all along there, in both Ohio's big cities and small communities:
      • proud of your chest-pounding on smoking bans, IBJ?
        And for all your ignorant one-sided reporting about secondhand smoke supposedly being dangerous, and calls for a citywide ban, when it has ALREADY been proven in past study after study that venues allowing indoor smoking are THOUSANDS of times above permissible OSHA indoor air quality standards. When the anti-smoking side has shamelessly exaggerated things time after time about SHS, plus the current Indianapolis ordinance requires businesses allowing smoking at any time to both deny minors entry(or to be employed) and post exterior signage that they are a smoking establishment(and EVERYONE already has free will to immediately leave, if they disapprove of smoking and/or think a business is too smokey), isn't it time to admit that Proposal 371 is COMPLETELY UNFAIR to the 1% of businesses(and has been gradually decreasing over time) in Indianapolis allowing smoking? The 1% statistic, btw, is from Save Indianapolis Bars.

        Physician Michael Siegel has caught multiple researchers trying to pass off deceptive studies on bans reducing heart attack rates, such as this one: http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/10/institute-of-medicine-reports.html In Kansas, a presentation was done on February 10th, 2010, to the Kansas House Health and Human Services Committee where a presenter unfortunately reported results of a Kansas University study on bans and heart attack rates, not realizing it was corrected on November 10th showing a statistically insignificant change on heart attack rates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX_GtmdoEv8 Finally, the Helena, Montana study was an infamous one that has also been disproven, and the researchers admitted that they did not properly examine nonsmokers as a separate group:

        And howdy Bill Kerschner, I'm also a fellow Illinoian, and I can see you don't have a darn clue how many bars, private clubs, and (less frequently) restaurants throughout this state look the other way on the state ban. Indianapolis handled this issue in a great way in 2005, and I only wish Chicago had handled the smoking ban issue in a way closer to what both this city, and also Wichita, KS did:
      • Progressive

        "Progressive" isn't a point on a ruler where you determine whether they are conservative, liberal, etc. It's "staying current with the trends elsewhere". Now, you can say, "if everyone else jumps off of the cliff, would you?" That's sophistry.

        I've mentioned this elsewhere: If the two of us (you & me) to be in a bar and you smoke, what's wrong if I stand up on a chair and share the byproduct of my beer? (If you're worried about indecency, I'll take it to the BR first.

        It's sterile. Is tobacco smoke sterile? N.B. I didn't say "unhealthy" so we don't drag one of those (few in number: 1? 2? 3?) studies from the previous 40 years, which point out there's nothing wrong with smoking.

        If he hasn't posted it recently, we're due to see Harley post his link & content from OSHA to a PhD which (attempts) to point out the fallacy. Again: Just 1?

        Why do groups, such as the ACS, exist?

        Why do people who are grouped into "smoking sheds" sneak out? Is the smoke too thick? How about why they leave their (car) windows, regardless of the weather?

        Aside from mangling stats to prove a lost cause, tobacco smokers are overlooking 3 things: 1) does it permit chewing? I worked in Lexington for a reasonable period of time. I watched how things worked and immediately realized I was going to have to keep my pop/soda with me at all times. You never know when someone's going to spit in a can. And I wasn't going to let it be mine. You want disgusting?

        2) When "scouts" - first visitors to cities are walking about, are you, let's say even 25 people, willing - seriously - willing to carry signs like union members stating, "I smoke & I'm proud of it." where the visitors can see you? Why not? Are you afraid of something? What are you willing to do (financially) to make up for groups which avoid Indy?

        3) re: People fighting for their "rights" vs. that of groups bringing money:

        Consider this a freebee in return for a cluex4 between the eyes - does the word "irony" mean anything to you?

        In return for granting me a cluex4 between your eyes, ponder this:

        Get organizations to look at Indy, but state they won't come because there's a ban.

        Hint: Use this list: http://tinyurl.com/yhxturl

        Is there anyone who is there who might do so?

        This is one someone needs to do: find a small toilet, put some sand in it with a sign: "put your butts here"
        • Progressive Movement
          Three men in this article used the buzz-word "Progressive" in their stance on this smoking ban. Is Indianapolis a Liberal, Socialist Progressive city? It seems this forced ordinance is a step in that direction. If the convention centers, hotels, restaurants and pubs wish to ban smoking - they can do it on their own - why do they need law makers to make the choice for them? Do they not have free will?

          Just say no to Progressive agendas!
          This isn't just about smoking - never was.
          • Really???
            If this smoking ban is a "public health" issue why is the legislature voting on it and why are there exemptions for gambling venues? Let the agencies charged with the duty to protect the public health in workplaces do their job. A popular vote is indicative of pure politics not protection from true health hazards.
          • Bill Kerschner
            I am a life long Republican Conservative, Christian voter and do not like Government Regulations, but this is a Public Health issue. Indiana citizens deserve to be protected from secondhand smoke like citizens in the majority of other States and my Republican friends need to get on board with this much needed Indiana Smoke Free iniative.
            • Bill gets around
              WoW, Bill...you really get around...on the blogging boards where ever this issue is raised. But really...Las Vegas??? Now your sights are trained on Indiana, I wonder why!
            • Hazards
              One has to wonder why the protection of employees from workplace health hazards is voted for via legislature/popular vote. Isn't OSHA charged with these type issues? If OSHA is no longer needed, perhaps we can eliminate their activities and save the funding for smoke free advocates and their initiatives. I for one, would be curious how the exempted gaming venues got a free pass. Better yet...why not ban tobacco outright and call it a day. Anything else is pure hypocrisy.

              Post a sign, let individuals choose which venue to enter. and the market will decide.
            • Bill Kerschner
              We love our Smoke Free Law here in Illinois. Not only do most all nonsmokers appreciate the Smoking Restrictions but even the majority of smokers are fine with it. In fact, the only folks really against it are the Big Tobacco Companies. Just like in Indiana, they want to keep secondhand smoke in nonsmoker's lungs and keep smokers addicted to nicotene. Citizens if Indiana deserve smoke free air the same as we enjoy in Illinois!
              • Boot Camp vs. Cigarettes?
                Which is better? Who could live longer? Who could feel better?

              • Flat Earth Society
                Let me begin by saying up front that I live in Ontario, which has had a provincial law prohibiting smoking in all enclosed public and workplaces since 2006. All the fears and concerns I'm reading connected to this article are almost word for word the same ones we heard here, and I might add the same heard in every other community that has gone through this debate. Smoking regulation laws have been a part of the political landscape in many communities for over a decade now, so we have a pretty good idea of what the general effects are on business following their passage. Truth is, there is a period of adjustment that has run from 6-9 months when some businesses largely dependent on a smoking clientele have seen a reduction in business. The reduction, however, is short term, and businesses find by the end of the the first year revenues have recovered to pre-regulation levels.
                I would like make two points, however, that have not been addressed by the postings made so far. The first is that there are other factors besides smoking regulation that affect the success or failure of hospitality businesses. The business by its very nature suffers a high rate of attrition. In assessing the effect of smoking laws you must also take into account the general economic climate, and I'm sure I need not remind my Indiana friends that we're just now showing signs of coming out of a recession that has stretched for more than two years. Additionally, consumer tastes change, and businesses that are adept at noting those changes early survive, while those that don't do poorly or fail. As well, discretionary spending patterns of families vary depending on family size and age and circumstance; anyone who has kids knows that the financial demands of their children can change dramatically as the child's interests and demands change.
                Finally, this shouldn't be a debate centred around consumers' choice, but around worker safety. I'm sure that Indiana has laws protecting workers from workplace hazards as does virtually every advanced industrial state. Are lawmakers in Indiana prepared to accept that there are two kinds of workers in their state, ones that are entitled to protection from workplace hazards, and those that aren't? Consumers generally spend far less time in a smoke filled bar or restaurant than the worker employed to serve them. And who are we hurting the most by denying hospitality workers protection from the proven hazard of second hand smoke? Invariably they're women, often poorly educated or working to advance their education, and young, and moving to a smoke free job isn't always an option. With the economy still climbing to its feet, people don't always have the luxury of working in an environment of their choosing. Aren't these folks the ones most in need of your protection?
                • Missing the point
                  A lot of you seem to be missing the point. Yes, locals are important, but the city is losing convention business, and revenue from out of town because of the lack of a ban. I'm still dumbfounded that 24% of people are given more rights than the other 76%. You have a right to smoke - I have a right not to breathe it. Perhaps you should do so in a more civilized manner and go outside, then we wouldn't need a ban - and we can all be happy.
                • Thank you IBJ and tourism/convention officials
                  I just want to thank the IBJ for allowing ICVA and others to share their message. This is something I've been saying for years, but only the experts can carry that message, and that's the way it should be.

                  There is overwhelming public support for smokefree air. The health and medical community support it, voters support it, much of the hospitality industry supports it, all major hospitals support it, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce supports it, and now convention and tourism folks are speaking out.

                  Secondhand smoke makes Indy look dirty and backwards. It costs us a lot of money in health care - not to mention business costs. And most important, it damages the health of people who work around it.

                  How much longer to we have to wait?
                • Stay Free from Indiana
                  I understand both sides of the coin here. I am actually from Illinois where the smoking ban has been in place for about two years. I have to say that even though I do not smoke, there is something to be said about having the freedom to do so in a public place. When I travel to Indy, I can feel that freedom that I no longer have in Illinos...even though I have never smoked. Stay FREE Indiana!!!
                  • Clue, meet Clueless
                    So you don't like being around smokers? Neither do I. Here's what I do. I don't patronize businesses that allows smoking!!! Wow, problem solved. What makes you think you have the right to tell private business owners they are not allowed to have smoking on their private property. You don't have a right to be at that business, you know.
                  • Yeah Right
                    It is just so nice that people who don't have a dime invested in these businesses are so quick to jump in and advise those business owners, not to worry, they won't lose any business. I'm pretty sure I'm going to believe the people who have something to lose.
                  • Smoking bans
                    The controversy of second hand smoke could be ended quickly by a simple act of legislation. Anyone presenting information represented as science or health reliant information, which is later found to be false or misleading, would be rewarded with a mandatory ten year jail sentence.

                    I can guarantee the bandwagon of smoker hatred would end overnight and the profiteers would be making deals in self preservation convicting each other. Similar to the last time their ilk rose to prominence and Doctors were hanged at Nuremberg. The laws of Autonomy created in the wake, are largely being minimized by the bigots and zealots of Public Healthism, they are laws we found at the expense of millions who died without them. No one has the right to make health choices for others and no one has a right to demand rights to the detriment of others, especially with the convenience of a lie, as we find in the â??toxic effect of second hand smokeâ??.

                  • Facts, scmacts
                    Dustin, thanks for the fact-filled response. Now, try some.

                    52 pubs a week are closing across the UK since their smoking ban was enacted. Sales in Ireland's pubs are down 16%.

                    Sales tax collection in Missouri has declined 5-8% in every municipality where smoking bans have been enacted. New York lost 3.2%, and their answer was to increase the sales tax to make up for the loss in revenue.

                    And the effect on private clubs all across the country has been devastating.

                    Here are a few more: http://www.smokersclub.com/banloss3.htm

                    Forbes magazine says bans DO hurt businesses:

                    Not that facts ever matter in smoking ban discussions.
                  • What's in a Name?
                    I think Livengood says it all...LivingGood!
                  • Pick Your Fights
                    Welsh needs to stay out of this fight.

                    There are enough over blown stats and claims without ICVA jumping in with more silliness.

                    Doesn't ICVA and CIB have more serious problems to resolve without distractions?

                    Just for the record I'm all for a farting ban;)
                  • Free market
                    Apparently harm to business only occurs in gambling venues, hence the exemptions. What of the free market where business owners can decide whether to allow smoking or not? The posting of a sign accordingly would be enough to warn the wary and each patron can decide to enter or find a more suitable venue. Free market..free choice. Win-Win.
                  • Show me
                    To the very first comment about killing businesses...I was in Bloomington/Monroe County when their bans were phased in. Everyone said it would be the 'death of the college town' because of the smoking and that no one would frequent the bars. Guess what happened, its was a little slow at first, but for each person that was smoking that didn't come, at least one more non-smoker showed up.

                    No business closed up shop, no restaurants left the business core, and when all those smokers decided it wasn't too bad to step outside and smoke - they started coming back to. Business is booming and more bars are being added.

                    I'm not talking all college bars, I'm even speaking of The Vid (video saloon), and other townie bars that "would definitly go out of business" but never did.

                    Having a split policy like this is whats causing a divide right now, if its all or nothing, then those same people will continue to patronize their favotite haunts. IF there are exemptions, more business would then die away. We need the ban. I go outside with my friends when they smoke and I don't smoke, whats the big deal.
                  • Frumious?
                    Wow, you certainly know what you're talking about, right? WRONG! How do you know for a fact that businesses are wiped out due to smoking bans? Your argument is delusional and stupid. There are restaurants and bars here in Tucson as well as in New York, I've been to that are still operating to this day since their smoking bans were put in place. Go argue about something else, because you're being the biased on yourself.
                    • Bans kill businesses
                      Every place smoking bans are enacted, businesses are killed off. The IBJ is treating their singleminded opinion as fact, and it isn't. I guarantee you no none but the most lunatic hysterics would choose to have a convention in a city based solely on whether there was a total smoking ban or not. The IBJ is making this their personal issue.

                      Every city and state that bans smoking sees bars and restaurants close. Every one of them. If you don't believe that smokers choose to stay home instead of being told their business is not welcome, you haven;'t done the research. Smokers spend more, stay longer, and tip better than non-smokers, uniformly. After all of the non-smokers cry and whine and browbeat politicians into enacting bans, they don't suddenly flood into formerly smoking establishments and make up for the loss of business. They go home, smug and proud that they beat the smokers.

                      Livengood is a lonely voice in the wilderness, pleading for the right of business owners to decide how to run their establishments. If health was the real issue here, then post massive signs, "WARNING: SMOKERS WELCOME! YOU COULD DIE IF YOU ENTER HERE!" and let the citizenry vote with their feet. But this has NEVER been about health. It has ALWAYS been about one group controlling the behavior of another. If you don't believe that, try using a completely harmless electronic cigarette on an airplane sometime. They are banned, not because they harm anyone, but because they create "an enforcement issue."

                      "Not good for you, therefore bad for you, therefore illegal." That's the real mantra of the antismoking jihad.
                      • Protective Variables
                        Does gambling provide a protective effect against second hand smoke (hence the exemptions)? If not, the arguments for a smoking ban has no merit, it's not about health, it's politics as usual. If hospitality dollars is what the State seeks, to prevent hypocrisy, end the reliance on tobacco sales dollars.
                      • Compliance
                        I'm reminded of going against the popular trends in high school where all around you are influences based on the logic...well, everybody else is doing it! I had previously applauded Indiana for resisting the herd mentality, but it seems the State may not stay the course. What a shame.
                      • Civil liberties
                        There are plenty of bars & rest in this city that are smoke-free. If you don't wish to be around smoke, go to those places.
                      • What part don't you understand?
                        Winston, what part don't you understand about people who don't care to be around others who are smoking? If I'm at an establishment and no one was smoking around me, then all of a sudden someone comes up near me and smokes a cigarette... THAT person is neglecting the whole purpose of what we call "respect." Why should smoker impose on someone else's space and breathing capacity just for his/her own benefit? That's like someone walking up to someone else farting, coughing, and pissing on them. Same difference. Get it?
                      • The Spar
                        On December 8, 2005 Washington State implemented a strict smoking ban. There was a great jazz/cigar bar in Olympia Washington. People of all backgrounds use to go in there and smoke a cigar and listen to jazz music. Today it is a chain restaurant that blends in with all the others. Now the only cigar bars left in Washington are on Indian Reservations. I just don't understand why not leave the choice of being smoke free to the owner of the business. Odds are the majority will choose being smoke free if it is better for business and leave a few places for ladies and gentlemen to enjoy a good cigar. Add to that the fact that most states have no money and enforcement of smoking bans tends to cost more than is taken in with fines. I really miss The Spar and I am sure the old owner misses his business. As a side note - Winston Churchill smoked on average 10 cigars/day. He lived to be 90. Clementine Churchill -second handsmoke 'victim' passed away at 92.
                      • Wow
                        To those who literally thought that places like cigar bars should be a part of the smoking ban is a complete idiot. And to those who actually thought we supporters of the smoking ban would expect cigar bars and similar places like it to be smoke free are also idiots. It is plain and simple. Bars and restaurants... if they are geared for adults, then they are to be respectful of people who don't want to be around others who smoke. SIMPLE. If people want to smoke, GO OUTSIDE. SIMPLE.
                        • Cigar Bar?
                          There was a previous comment on us being a democracy where majority rules. Actually a constitutional republic is more accurate. We were a nation of laws. Those laws at one time protected private property. Without private property there is no freedom. I have a simple point. If a business says "Cigar Bar" you have no business setting foot in there given your attitude toward tobacco. As for fast food and soda - Look to New York. There are wanting to tax things that are bad for you because of "Public Health." It would be ridiculous in a sane world. You can't be hurt by the 'evil' and 'toxic' second hand smoke if you stay away from places where smoker would like to gather. Last point - maybe you should actually read the report on second hand smoke - odd are that if you live in a city you are breathing in worse. Cheers.
                        • Apples/oranges?
                          Winston... your comment about the future possibility of banning fast food or soda was plain ridiculous. How is someone eating fast food or drinking soda affecting the health or respect of another person nearby? SMOKING a cigarette, pipe, cigar, or WHATEVER is affecting another person. Why should the smoker be allowed to enjoy their moment, while the other(s) can't?
                          • Sorry Winston...The Nazi's Aren't Coming For You
                            Give me a break, Winston.

                            If smoking is banned in every establishment, do you REALLY think the 20-25% of the people of Indiana who smoke are all of sudden going to learn how to cook or stop going to bars? You're just being a chicken little like the Glenn Beck's of the world.

                            The only establishment that I think would actually be hurt are Cigar Bars, but I really think Nicky Blaine's has a lot more going for it that just an unfiltered log of tobacco.

                            We live in a Democracy where majority rules 75-80% of choose to not smoke. We shouldn't have to bow down to the minority that chooses to kill themselves with cigarettes.

                            This is the only discussion here. Bringing in future limits on other substances is simply a scare tactic that is not relevant.

                          • Progressive Dustin?
                            The Nazi were also progressive and anti-tobacco. This isn't about second-hand smoke, this is about social engineering. What do you care if someone wants to go to a cigar bar and smoke a cigar or pipe or even cigarette? There are hundreds of smoke free bars and establishments to choose from in nay city without any ban. This is about taking away individual freedom plain and simple. Whatever vice you enjoy will be next.
                          • Because of Free Speech Ray.
                            It must be such a burden being so much smarter than all those smokers. You mention cigarettes like that is the only issue here. What about cigar and pipe smokers? Are they a part of those so-called simple minded masses? Was Albert Einstein or Winston Churchill? These bans have been putting Cigar Bars, mom and pop neighborhood bars and Tobacconist out of business. Fine, you think tobacco is evil. What is worse is government dictating how citizens are to use their private property. It won't stop there. Do you like soda or fast food? They are next. You don't have a right to dictate what a bar owner should do with his business. You can choice not to go there and go to a smoke free bar. Read your history European history (1930s-1940s) and you'll see you are in good company.
                            • I don't understand...
                              I don't understand why there is such a big issue about the smoking ban for the smokers. I live in Tucson, Arizona and we already have a smoking ban in every public establishment... and it's been a tremendous effort. People who choose to smoke, simply go outside and take care of their business. It's so nice to go to a bar or nightclub and not have to breathe their disgusting habits. Indy seems to be lagging behind in so many aspects and it doesn't amaze me... it's pretty embarassing. Public transit and the smoking enforcements are both a big joke to me. It's time Indy needs to step up the game and become progressive, then again, this has already been said too many times. I think the people of Indy are too hickish and redneckish to realize anything positive and and progressive.
                            • Ban
                              I just don't understand why only 20-25% of the population who smoke get to ruin places for the rest of us. I applaud you Bruce for staying home and keeping your smoke to yourself.
                            • Get Over IT
                              All you smokers just need understand that the ban will come. It may not be this year or next year, but eventually, you will have to confine YOUR filthy habit to your own personal spaces. I am tired of you complaining about your rights being infringed upon. Unless you live in a bubble that keeps the smoke attached to your body, then every time you puff you invade my space and my right to not breathe your putrid air. The next thing you'll say is "stay home." Well, the majority of the people in this state do NOT smoke. So, you stay home and slowly kill yourself on your own time.

                              The ban will happen. Bars won't close. Life will go on (for those of use breathing clean air). The convention business is more important to this community that your cigarettes. So, the opinion of the travelers and conventioneers is one thing that will swing Ballard back to his original support for a ban. If not, once we get rid of him, the ban will come. So, put that in your oxygen tank and smoke it...
                            • this is NEWS?
                              A biased article such as this belongs in "Opinions". not "News"
                            • Ban
                              I'm in favor of the ban, but this article is one of the most biased articles I've seen on the IBJ. It almost makes me want to go back to reading the Star.
                            • Tourism and Smoking
                              Since the advent of smoking bans 20 to 25% of the population have been removed from society.

                              I am one of them and have NOT attended any show, convention, or sports venue since it was enacted. I have not and will not consider either personal or business travel anywhere for any reason.

                              Smoke has been a factor in man's existence since we entered caves - mankind is NOT extinct.

                              The current medical profession has designed this campaign against smoking to induce the population to accept both them and their overpriced products and services. They are about to crash, people can no longer afford their products or services.

                              The current smoking ban, in Indianapolis, is better than any available because it offers a choice. People who can afford to attend these meeting can read and should be able to distinguish smoking and non-smoking venues.

                              It is much easier for me to assume all venues are non-smoking and stay home.

                            • Why yet again
                              I thought that when this was first enacted it was a compromise. When two groups compromise, one group does not keep trying to force their will to get their way. That's not good for the procees, it makes future compromises less likely to occur and nothing gets done. Further, just like witht he time issue, who are these groups that won't come here unless we have a ban. We were never told the companies that wouldn't come here unless we were on Daylight time, and now where are they?
                            • blech
                              Smoking kills, Have at it.
                            • Why are we debating this?
                              So the tobacco companies were able to use slick advertising to trick the simple-minded masses into using their deadly product. Now we've evolved to the point of understanding the danger of cigarettes so let's ban their use. Why would anyone complain about a ban?

                              If we passed a law stating that it was illegal to spray containers of benzene, formaldehyde or hydrogen cyanide in public places we would all agree that it was a good and prudent law. Nobody would cry that we need to have the right to spray those deadly chemicals in a public place. So why the whining about cigarette bans?
                              • Stone Ages
                                Once again...this dinosaur of a city remains as the last bastion of social change. How is it that Indy is unaware that all the other major U.S. cities enact smoking bans with some detrimental effects early on...until patrons become accustomed to the new rules and business picks up and actually grows?

                                If Hoosiers would take the time to become educated about the issues, we wouldn't have to continually deal with issues like this that should be moot.
                              • Casinos?
                                If it's that great for business, why are casinos being left out of the windfall profits?
                              • Ban
                                What a bunch of B.S. Neighborhood bars throughout Illinois and Ohio have to ignore the bans to stay in business. Many patiently complied for the first winter, but all these new patrons never showed up. The ban lobbtyists claims are getting so outlandish that many people no longer listen to them.

                              Post a comment to this story

                              COMMENTS POLICY
                              We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
                              You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
                              Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
                              No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
                              We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

                              Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

                              Sponsored by

                              facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

                              Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
                              Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
                              Subscribe to IBJ
                              1. Choice between a democrat and a question mark? Take the question mark. We have all seen what the democrats will do.

                              2. Its easy to blame workers. What about the Management of the Mill. Its not smart in business to not have a back up plan. Workers are afforded sick days in most cases. Union or not. Whether drunk partying, or a real sickness. Why would you as a businessman/woman not have a rotation of workers incase this happens. This is not an exclusive union protection. If the company can prove bad intentions on the part of any union employee. They can take action. Most CBA's have a 3 strike policy. Just like most Non-union company policies. You should read a CBA sometime. There are protections for companies too. Unions understand that businesses need to make money. If they don't, the union's member won't have a place to work.

                              3. My kids play hockey on the North side and we have been very happy with the youth program. More Ice would create more opportunity for kids to pay this great sport. With 3 rinks that would also create more figure skating opportunities. What better gift to give your kids than a sport they will love!

                              4. Naah, only Indy place fans were robbed of seeing Zanardi race. CART fans saw his amazing talents just about every weekend. And F1 fans saw him too. Zanardi didn't care he wasn't at Indy, neither do 99.18% of other race fans world wide. And CART fans are quite pleased of the domination of their drivers and owners have had at Indy, in the IRL, and in the current Indycar series....almost 99.18% of the time since 2000 Indy 500. I respect Zanardi, but his life goes on without Indy. Sucks to be you Capt.

                              5. So let me get this right: gun permits online are fraud proof, but voting is as easy as 1-2-3.--But at least we agree that someone without a photo ID cannot be trusted with a gun.