Indy Chamber of Commerce endorses smoking ban

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The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce is throwing its weight behind a tougher workplace smoking ban up for consideration Monday night by the City-County Council.

Support from the business group could help seal passage for the ordinance, which has divided the council. The measure would expand an existing smoking ban by prohibiting lighting up in bars, bowling alleys and nightclubs, along with nearby outdoor seating areas.

City-County Councilor Angela Mansfield, a Democrat, is co-sponsoring the proposal along with Republican Ben Hunter. Supporters say the ban is an obvious way to improve public health, while opponents argue business owners should decide for themselves whether to allow smoking.

Chamber President Roland Dorson said his group's rationale for supporting the ban goes beyond public health, to economic development. People and businesses considering a move to Indianapolis consider quality-of-life matters, including smoking bans.

"One of the ingredients to creating a fantastic place is a demonstrated concern for public health," Dorson said.

Indianapolis first passed a smoke-free workplace ordinance in 2005. At the time, the Chamber received feedback for and against the proposal, Dorson said. This time, they've heard only from supporters.

"We’ll take a leadership role on this,"  he said. "It would be great if it passed in its current form."

The existing law, which took effect in March 2006, prohibits smoking in public workplaces, but has exceptions for bars, taverns, bowling alleys, private clubs with liquor licenses, and businesses that don't allow patrons younger than 18.

An amendment to the new proposal would still allow smoking in cigar and hookah bars, but it would cap the number of licenses available for such establishments.

If the city votes to remove some of the exceptions, it would follow the lead of a couple of surrounding communities that have strengthened smoking ordinances in recent months. In May, Franklin passed one of the most restrictive bans in the state, covering all enclosed workplaces and public places, including bars. And, in September, the town of Westfield adopted a smoking ban that covers most public places, but excluded taverns that don't allow patrons under 21.

To take IBJ's unscientific poll on the smoking ban, click here.


  • Never again
    I used to come downtown a lot for dinner, entertainment and such. I will never come to Indianapolis again. Do you understand that now, you cannot walk on the sidewalk in Indianapolis and smoke because you will always be with in 25 feet of a building . You cannot walk around the Cirle,and smoke, if you do, you wil be arrested.

    Bad move Chamber, Im noty alone, you just took money out of your members pockets. I will go to Hamilton county to spend my money.

    It's just a metter of time , they will be in our homes telling us what to eat, what to wear and what to THINK.

    This is going to cost the members of the Chamber a lot of money. Less money, less taxes.get the picture. Welcome to the Socialist State of Indiana.

  • sorry
    for the typo
  • What he didn't say
    Was that gocernment had to do it for them..
  • Well Said
    Thomas Jefferson:

    I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors
    • Falling behind
      What gov't buildings can you smoke in?? That doesn't sound right. It is a joke to think that we will be one of the last states to pass a state-wide comprehensive smoking ban - why are we so far behind?
    • Fingers Crossed!
      No one's trying to treat anything like a narcotic...that's laughable and you should be ashamed of yourself! I am excited that maybe someone in the near future I can leave work and not be congested and sick for 2 days or my friends can leave our fine establishment and not smell like an ash tray!
    • Smoking will be illegal soon
      I agree with Joe - this is just one step along a chain that will eventually outlaw smoking and treat it like a narcotic drug. While I think the cigarette habit is disgusting and harmful, the recent laws go a bit too far in my opinion. Banning from smoking in bars? Lame.
    • Government Involvement
      While I'm a Chamber member, I don't agree with this. These are the same people that complain when government gets involved in their business....unless they need a bailout. I'm not a smoker but believe the market should dictate the decision to allow tobacco use.
    • Open Season
      Ok, I quit smoking about 6 years ago, it's a smelly, dirty and most recently, expensive habit.
      But can't we just have an ordinance where if we find people smoking we could just shoot them? We've got smoking out of most place, let's just shoot them and get them out of their misery.
      When someone talks about incremental government regulations, this example will come to mind. Liquor is next, then fat people. Get your guns and ammo ready should be a great hunting season.
    • Ban smoking - Government is a Business too!
      I am not a smoker, but if everyone is concerned about second hand smoke and how non smokers are affected, then all government buildings should be included. It is discriminating that that law makers allow themselves the ability to smoke at work inside and/or outside. They should be included in the law making process too!

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    1. Aaron is my fav!

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