Smoking-ban backers, opponents vow to keep battling

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Supporters of a stricter ban on smoking in Indianapolis workplaces said the City-County Council’s decision Monday night to table the proposal will not kill efforts to get legislation passed.

Ben Hunter, a Republican council member who co-sponsored the bill with Democrat Angie Mansfield, said he hopes Indiana lawmakers will pass a statewide ban.

“We’ve at least raised the debate,” Hunter said. “Hopefully, [state legislators] will champion the cause.”

If not, Hunter said he still believes the local proposal will find new life and ultimately pass. He expects another vote on the proposal to occur sometime early next year.

“[Opponents] don’t have the votes to kill it,” Hunter said. “We do have the votes. It’s just a matter of tweaking” the measure.

The proposal fell short of the 15 votes needed to pass, with the final tally 13-12 against the ban. Council members then decided in a 14-13 vote to table the legislation, which means it can return to the council agenda at future meetings.

The proposed ordinance would have prohibited patrons from lighting up in bars, bowling alleys and nightclubs. It would have broadened an existing law that prohibits smoking in most public places, including restaurants that serve minors.

“It’s unfortunate the council wasn’t able to get it passed and make all Indianapolis workers a lot healthier,” said Melissa Lewis, chairwoman of the advocacy group Smoke Free Indy. “Luckily, the council will get another chance to bring Indianapolis forward with the rest of the country.”

Meanwhile, opponents of the ordinance say they are not backing down.

“If anything is a threat to Indianapolis business, you can expect Indianapolis business owners to fight it,” said Brad Klopfenstein, leader of a coalition called Save Indianapolis Bars. “We don’t expect it to go away.”

The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce gave its support to the proposal before Monday night’s vote, saying its passage could help economic development efforts. Chamber President Roland Dorson said he is disappointed but not defeated by the council’s decision.

“We recognize this is part of the process,” Dorson said. “This is how public policy works. Our hope is all the advocates continue to stay with it. We intend to.”


  • Smoking Ban
    There are only 130 something bar/pubs that allow smoking in Marion County and they are not affecting non-smokers. A recent poll showed that 97% of the employees in these establishments smoked. 37% of the Indianapolis population are smokers. These figures alone show that the current ban on smoking is working. It is a business's right to choose to be smoking or not. Everyone, including myself, has a choice on where to spend my money and time and where to work. The Indianapolis Star's editorial staff chose what side they are on and through my dollars, I will choose to disagree with their bias political rants. It is unfortunate in this day and age that we can not support two (2) newspapers in this City to have the views of everyone represented in print. But we all know that newspapers are almost obsolete, and we know the editors of this one already are. If, they can not be unbias, they do not deserve our money.
  • WhoopsieDoodles!
    Heh... obviously I meant you posted a response "to" me... Sorry about that! - MJM
  • I'm glad I stopped back....
    Well Hello Lisa! I just happened to wander back here to find you'd posted a response from me two weeks after I'd posted. I'm glad I didn't miss it...

    Of course I didn't post "ALL" the information from IARC on my website: my argument was honest and clear in terms of Class A Carcinogens and I referenced their material appropriately and correctly. Your link however to the IARC's general assessment of ETS studies simply links back to this page.

    And yes, I am most certainly an activist. I have no criticisms of the activists in the "Great American Antismoking Crusade" for their activism, though I do criticize those who try to pass themselves off as activists while actually pulling down fat paychecks in one way or another for their "activism."

    As for the google search to find me spewing "vitriol" and "hatred towards non-smokers" would you mind offering a few examples? You'll always find me under my name or "Cantiloper" while signing my name: I don't hide behind anonymous handles.

    I notice that, like Sassafras, you've failed to offer ANY substantive specific criticisms of ANYTHING that I've written in all the hundreds of web pages and thousands of pieces of writing I've put online over the years. Surely if my information and beliefs are so defective you should be able to pull up at least a half dozen or a dozen clear examples at the drop of a hat.

    Please do so, and share them here for everyone to see.

    I'll try to stop back... even if you wait a few weeks before posting.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
  • Facts, not snippets, Mr McFadden
    You used a tidbit from the 'International Agency for Research on Cancer' discussing class A carcinogens on your pro-smoking website, and I decided to check it out for myself. Interestingly enough, you didn't print ALL the information available. I found their 'Handbook for for Smoking Prevention' very insightful. http://www.iarc.fr/en/publications/pdfs-online/prev/handbook13/handbook13.pdf

    In it they discuss the potential costs and benefits to businesses with smoke-free policies

    1.Lost business due to smokers visiting less frequently or cutting visits
    2.Costs of establishing and maintaining smoking lounges for smoking employees
    3.Implementation and enforcement costs
    4.Lost productivity due to increased or longer smoking breaks for smoking
    5.Costs of establishing and maintaining smoking areas for patrons

    And the benefits

    1.Increased business from nonsmokers visiting more frequently or staying
    2.Reduced cleaning and maintenance costs
    3.Reduced fire, accident, and life insurance premiums
    4.Increased productivity as smoking employees quit or cut back and
    require fewer smoking breaks
    5.Increased productivity due to reduced absenteeism and improved health
    among smoking employees
    6.Increased productivity due to reduced absenteeism and improved health
    among nonsmoking employees
    7.Reduced health care costs from reductions in smoking among smoking employees
    8.Reduced health care costs from reductions in exposure to secondhand smoke among nonsmoking employees
    9.Avoidance of potential litigation costs from nonsmoking and smoking.

    It seems that the 'International Agency for Research on Cancer' doesn't agree with your assessments. Page 22, Table 2.1, 'Adverse Effects from Exposure to Tobacco Smoke Published in Major Reports' gives a synopsis of the vast adverse health effects from second-hand as reported in 9 major, credible reports.

    Sir, you speak of the "motivations driving the activists of what has been called The Great American Antismoking Crusade" And you are not an activist? You are not fanatical about insuring that smoking bans are not passed in any city, town, or country? One only has to do a Google search of your name to find that you spew the same vitriol in newspapers and blogs wherever and whenever a ban comes up for vote.

    Your hatred towards non-smokers is palpable. We don't hate our fellow citizens who smoke. We are asking for one thing, and evidence clearly states it is the right thing. You will never see it that way, no matter how much scientific evidence is placed in front of you. How sad.
  • Invitation to a critic...
    Sassafras, did you actually have any criticisms of any points I've made? Or do you try to avoid reading anything that might disagree with your point of view? While writing Brains I read pretty much every Surgeon General's Report that's been put out on the subject, as well as everything offered by ASH, GASP, and other such groups. The key to knowing that your position is the right one is to understand the information and the arguments on the other side and know that you can refute them.

    You don't actually need to get a copy of Brains to have at me if you want. I've got several websites with extensive excerpts posted and you can read them and come back here to criticize my faults. Try

    www.Antibrains.com or http://TheTruthIsALie.com

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
    • Whose brains?
      Someone here wrote an entire book on "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains". Interesting. I've just written a book called "Dissecting Smokers' Brains" and I can fit the entire content of the book on this response. Here it is:

      They're drug addicts.

      Short book, I'd say. As more people see smokers as selfishly putting the majority's interests at a low regard, they are increasingly kicked to the curb. Playing the victim card about smoking in dumpsters arouses no sympathy since you'll always be able to smoke in your filthy houses. And you can still take your nicotine addiction breaks at work by stepping outside once an hour, while the productive non-addicted population continues to slave away.

      Regardless of what the CDC or EPA says about secondhand smoke, smokers are pariahs.
    • To Ladylike...
      Ladylike, even if you believe the figures in the EPA Report, what they actually say once you remove the hype around them is that if you are constantly exposed to smoke for 8 to 16 hours a day for 40 years that you have about one extra chance in a thousand of getting lung cancer: a 19% increase over the base rate of about 4 in a thousand goes up to about 5 in a thousand. So even if you were such a person with such an exposure and you came down with lung cancer, the chances are still better than 80% that it came from the radon in your home, the pollution from your car, or the asbestos fibers in the water droplets you breathe while taking a shower.

      Michael J. McFadden
      Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
    • smoking ban
      As a person who never smoked but came down with lung cancer, I can assure you inhaling second hand smoke is bad for your health! Overeating doesn't affect other people, but when you exhale cigarette or cigar smoke and others inhale it, that's where your rights end. Extend the ban to all public places, period!
    • Tweaking Twitches...
      Councilman Hunter is using one of the antismoking lobby's standard tricks: trying to present an air of "Resistance Is Futile! A Ban Is Inevitable!" to wear down the opposition. He's wrong: a ban beyond what already exists is most certainly NOT inevitable. As voters and legislators become more and more aware of the insatiable appetite of the extremists they begin to realize that no matter how much a ban is "tweaked" to get passage, it will NEVER be enough to satisfy the ones who never be happy until smokers are hiding in dumpsters to smoke.

      There is no sound reason for the ban to be extended a single iota beyond where it is now. If you examine the medical research out there you'll find that there is no solid evidence that the low levels of smoke that would be found in any decently ventilated establishment today represent a health threat.

      The Council did the right thing by tabling the measure, but they would have done even better to have simply killed it outright.

      Michael J. McFadden
      Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
    • Joe

      You being fat doesn't give ME cancer.

    • It's NOT your right...
      ...to pollute my air in a PUBLIC establishment. Feel free to kill yourself in your own home. If you can't go without a cancer stick for an hour in a restaurant (how sad), then join a PRIVATE club that caters to your kind.
    • JOE
      what an idiot
    • Hurry There's more to do!
      Stamp out every last smoker, track them down and just shoot them.
      Then we need to make some judgements on the fat people that are clogging up our health system. Also those drinkers, we'll round them up too.
      Don't worry, it's for your own good, you'll thank us after we're done.
    • Surprised?
      Sure they will. This is a local chapter of a well funded machine. It's their job to tread on the Constitutional rights and priveleges of others.

    Post a comment to this story

    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