Smoking bill needs exemptions to survive Senate

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Health advocates will have to live with wide exemptions in a proposed statewide smoking ban because a stricter, more comprehensive ban wouldn't be able to pass the conservative Senate, the head of a Senate committee said.

Sen. Ron Alting, R- Lafayette, said the bill has its best shot in years of passing because of exemptions for casinos, bars, clubs and even nursing homes.

"When I got elected 13 years ago, the advocates that want all or nothing are still here 13 years later with nothing," Alting said.

But health advocates told the Senate Public Policy Committee that Alting chairs that they wanted a more comprehensive smoking ban that would protect all workers, even those who work in casinos and bars.

Alice Curry of Columbus said she was diagnosed in 2009 with stage 4 lung cancer despite having never smoked and not having a family history of cancer. She wonders if time spent years ago in smoky teachers' lounges and sales offices contributed to the cancer and told lawmakers on the committee they have a responsibility to protect workers.

"Every person working and living in Indiana needs your help or they're going to end up fighting the battle that I'm fighting right now," she said, wiping away tears. "Every worker in Indiana should have the ability to work in a job that doesn't make them sick, or worse, kill them — especially when we know how to avoid it."

The Senate committee didn't vote on the proposal Wednesday, and Alting said he'll decide later whether to take a vote after talking to advocates.

Bill sponsor Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, said he wants something passed this year but wants at least some of the exemptions removed.

"I am still hopeful that we can eliminate a couple of those exemptions," Brown said.

Removing the exemptions could complicate the legislation, however, because of a boycott by House Democrats. Any amended bill would have to go back to the House for approval, and if Democrats remain out long term that could jeopardize the bill.

Brown said he didn't think the walkout made it more difficult for him to shepherd the legislation through the General Assembly, and Alting welcomed Brown back to the Statehouse at the committee meeting Wednesday.

Sen. Brent Waltz, R-Greenwood, did criticize Brown for the boycott, saying that the walkout could cause some bills to die, including one of his that he considers important. He said the Senate was dealing with Brown's bill, but that so many other bills "will languish and very likely fail because of the actions of you and your colleagues in the House."

Brown said Democrats believe they are sticking up for their constituents.

The exemptions for casinos and horse racing tracks was approved by the House after the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency said banning smoking there could cost the cash-strapped state about $190 million a year. The House later voted to exempt bars that only admit adults over age 21 after some lawmakers argued that it was unfair to exempt casinos and tracks without exempting bars, because bars located near casinos could lose business if smokers decided to hang out at casinos instead of at bars.

Exemptions for nursing homes and fraternal clubs were also added to appease those who said veterans and those living in nursing homes should have the right to smoke in certain areas.

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said he'd sign a statewide smoking ban into law if legislators approve it.


  • Smoking causes cancer. No question.
    I don't know about you, but I am not a conspiracy theorist. I believe in science, medicine, education, and sound reasoning. If you do not believe that smoking causes cancer you fall well outside of the realm of educated reasoning.

    The type of person who does not believe that smoking causes cancer is the same type of person who believes that global warming is a conspiracy, Barack Obama is from Kenya, and that there is some secret society running the Vatican and the US government.

    Sounds like too much glen beck or late night talk radio to me.

    Let's act as educated rational humans, decide that something as gross as smoking is not worth the costs, and get it out of all places open to public patronage.

    Do you know that 10-15% of active smokers develop lung cancer, and that 10-15% of non smokers/never smokers, develop lung cancer? Of course you don't - the ant-smoking groups DON"T WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT!

    Do you know that family history has as much or more determination on lung cancer as smoking does??

    Do you know that an obese male below the age of 70 (which would include approx. 1/3 of all Americans) , is at least THREE TIMES more likely to develop lung cancer, as an active smoker is??

    Do you know that the World Health Organization (in a study they tried to hide), found no statistically significant link between second hand smoke, and lung cancer - and in fact found that children who grew up in a smoking household, had a 22% less chance of developing lung cancer?? - no wonder they tried to hide it - they didn't want to announce THAT to the world!! How in the world could the anti-smoking movement get started, if that was known!!

    Did you know that, despite almost 20 years of a smoking ban in California (along with the persecution, and ridicule that has accompanied it), - shows the EXACT SAME 5 year drop in lung cancer incidence, as Idaho had - when they had NO BANS AT ALL! - and that drop was only SLIGHTLY more than Indiana - who has TWICE as many smokers?

    Do you know that a recent study found a gene they believe is responsible, for some people not being able to quit smoking - no matter what they try!!

    These statistics, and studies are available to anyone - and you WILL find them If You care enough to look

    When Kansas passed the smoking ban last year, 590,000 people became "second class citizens" - With no rights to an ENJOYABLE social life!
    And the fear of arrest, if CAUGHT trying to ENJOY it!

    But That is NOTHING Compared to California - where a MINIMUM of 3.7 MILLION people have to HIDE in their houses,- because they can't even go OUTSIDE and have a cigarette!!

    Like I said before folks WAKE UP! In the U.S. there are 64.76 MILLION Smokers - Who are being TAXED higher Than ANYONE else around us - So that (at least a portion of) this tax money can go to these groups to take away EVEN MORE of our rights!!
  • It Won't Stop
    The anti smoking movement started out - trying to do some good - informing people that cigarette smoking MAY have some dangers associated with it - and it would be better NOT TO START - I think EVERYONE agrees with that, and so they were well accepted.

    But the movement has evolved into something TOTALLY different - Now stating that "SMOKERS ARE GUILTY OF CAPITAL CRIMES" which was (until recently) published on the front page of the A.S.H. website! They have been fully convinced that we should be killed - ONLY because we are smokers.

    If you don't see the correlation between them and Hitlers Germany, Then it's TIME TO WAKE UP!

    To show this further:

    John Banzhaf, you can see who he is here; http://banzhafwatch.org/ - the founder, and undisputed "Voice" of ASH (Action Against Smoking an Health) and the group that most of the Anti's get there info from, made a statement in the 1980's, claiming that "ALL THEY WANTED" was separate smoking sections, that's all, just separate smoking sections. He went on to say, "We don't care if people want to smoke in their offices, or even in hospital rooms, IT'S THEIR RIGHT TO SMOKE."

    This is THE VERY SAME MAN who today states: that
    ......smokers are guilty of CAPITAL crimes.

    He has been called - a "Sleazy, ambulance chasing lawyer", who sells CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT KITS, to anyone who wants to start a lawsuit - AGAINST ANYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH SMOKING!

    If you have tried the link I posted above; you will also learn that he is also intrumental in start of all the TRASH LAWSUITS TO SUE THE FAST FOOD JOINTS - FOR MAKING YOUR KIDS FAT!

  • Agreed
    I would prefer the same Chris. I just don't think it should be forced upon them by the government.
  • @DRT
    You're right, My argument was selfish. I would prefer that all establishments be smoke free. I simply don't frequent casinos. However, if I did, there is a smoke free choice in Indiana. There is only one Chatterbox. I either miss out completely, or I brave the smoke, much to my dismay. There is no smoke free choice. My point is that businesses don't know when people choose not to frequent them because they are filled with smoke. They are left to assume that if smoking were not permitted, they'd be empty. I simply don't think that's the case. Also, I don't see why some people think they have the right to impact the health, and odor of others so casually. If one chooses to smoke, that's on them. I'd just prefer not to smell like their tobacco product hours later.
    • @Chris
      Your story is a perfect example of adults making adult choices, bravo. Yet you choose to end it with "I don't care about casinos, but bars need to be smoke-free." Don't you see that this brings your whole argument crashing down? You only wish to ban what inconveniences you. You have freedom of choice. You do not have a right to go to a bar demand that they ban smoking because you personally don't smoke and it annoys you. And guess what? A bar owner does not have the right to force you into his bar and demand that you inhale smoke. Why is the Chatham Tap smoke-free? Was it because the government told them to be? Of course not. There was a market demand for such a place. And if it was as crowded as you say, other places will spring up that will be smoke free or will convert from smoking to non. I just don't understand why some people feel that they have some sort of an inalienable right to a smoke-free bar.
      • smoking hurts business
        My wife and I love the Chatterbox on Mass Ave. It's the best, most intimate environment for live jazz in the city. However, as much as we love it, it is so smoke laden, that we choose not to go there quite often. We still go, just not as often as we would. When we do go, we choose our clothing very carefully. Something we can throw into the washer the instant we get home. Leaving it in the hamper for a day or two makes the entire room smell. Also, we were downtown last weekend. Couldn't find a spot to sit at Chatham Tap. We decided we try something new. Walked a couple of doors down to Metro. Opened the door, saw and smelled the smoke, immediately shut the door and walked away. Now, Metro may never know it, but they lost business. Meanshile, the smoke free Chatham Tap was bursting at the seems. I don't think smokers realize how awful and overwhelming the smell is. They are used to it, and therefore think it's no big deal. It is a big deal. I don't care about casinos, but bars need to be smoke free.
      • Bad For Business!
        Contrary to what Republicans say about wanting lower taxes, lower costs and a competitive environment to attract business to Indiana, they continue to cater businesses who think they need smoking to survive. This is totally wrong. The "poor" smokers who wish to destroy their own health should not be allowed to destroy the health of employees and patrons of those businesses. Both Ohio and Illinois have a complete ban like that which is being called for in Indiana. If such a ban were enacted here, health care costs would decline, including Medicaid. This would result in lower costs to the state and its taxpayers while lowering costs to businesses which may be considering locating here. Instead of doing what they say they stand for, the Republicans are responding to the misguided special interest of certain business interests as well a the minority who does not care about their own health, let alone the health of the rest of the population.
      • Government regulations
        Chief Redwing's comment on Government intruding into one's personal life: Once horse get head in teepee, the rest will soon follow.
      • Poor people have rights too!
        Only poor uneducated people smoke anymore, we shouldn't be able to take advantage of them just because they don't have a voice like rich educated nonsmokers do.
      • Re: Havoc
        Havoc, government doesn't give businesses the right to exist. It does, however, offer great benefits to those register as corporations, LLCs, LLPs, and various other businesses. The benefits these businesses recieve is to what I was referring. I agree that any person may start a business without government permission. They also do so without government protection.

        Thus, if a restaurant owner is willing to open as a sole proprietorship, then he recieves no protection from the state. If he wishes to allow smoking, so be it. If, however, he recieves protection from the state, he should be required to give up certain "rights", including the "right" to allow smoking on his property.

        And even if we don't put it into the corporation laws, putting it in the liquor laws seems reasonable. If a proprietor wants authorization to sell alcohol (which is, by the way, a government grant that is Constitutional) then he must surrender his right to allow smoking on his property. He is recieving something from the state (the license) and must surrender something in return. This is all constitutional under the state's police power to protect the health and well-being of its citizens.
      • Being considerate
        @ Progress: "All that is being asked is that you step outside. It's not a big deal." Can you really say that with a straight face? Everywhere there are people being forced to walk to the street curb because the anti-smoking forces are so hateful and will not allow smoking on the "property" Look at hospitals. No smoking within 35-50 feet of entry doors... In most downtown areas this is not possible without standing in the middle of the street. The laws are written so there can not be any overhead roofing for protection from the rain or snow, or walls to block the wind. How about the heat you are enjoying inside when it is 10 degrees outside? We used to have smoking and non-smoking areas that had ventilations systems that did keep you from "smelling" smoke. But that was not good enough, and those who think like you wanted to punish smokers. This country is in trouble because we are spending so much effort on trying to tell each other what to do, instead of working together for common good.
      • what a perfect mess
        @ Marcus: What a perfect convolution of thought. Since when does government "grant" us the "right" to have our own business? Government has decided that we must get a business license to operate for tax purposes. So we may render unto Ceasar so to speak. But now where in the US or state constitution is government given authority to grant the right of proprietorship. I suggest government either outlaw the product of tobacco or stop taxing it because of this relentless attack on a leagal product. Name one other "leagal" product that is under such attack. Stop giving our government such dangerous authority that is not granted to them in the Constitution.
      • You can't believe?
        You can't believe that a bunch of addicts dictate what the rest of the population has to deal with????? That is a JOKE! The rest of the population is dealing with MANY items because of a "few" groups of people want to change laws.....think about it.
      • Eat Crow
        There will be a time the medical industry will back off and relent to the truth that it is not what goes in the mouth that defiles but what comes out of the mouth. Life and death is in the power of the tongue
      • Re: DRT
        DRT, I agree with your premise that a private business shouldn't be told what to do by a government. Of course, the business gets to operate because of a government grant (unless it is established as a sole proprietorship or a partnership). So how about this compromise: tied to the benefits of having a liquor license (or maybe even a business license) is the "cost" of not being permitted to allow smoking indoors. That way, private business owners who get nothing from the state will have nothing taken away. Only those who recieve benefits from the state will be required to ban smoking in their establishments. Perfect compromise, right?
        • The ban is not a big deal
          All that is being asked is that you step outside. It's not a big deal. It's not hard to be considerate for the health of those around you.

          I cant believe that a bunch of addicts get to dictate what the rest of the population has to deal with.

          Smoking causes cancer, smells bad, and should be discouraged as much as possible. Period.

          Raise tobacco taxes, ban it in bars, and fund anti smoking ads.

          Come on Indiana, think of the future. Cancer is not going away with out fixing some major problems.
          • RE: mcaretired
            When arguing against smoking bans it is important to frame it in the right context. People do not possess any special "right" to smoke. Granting special rights to people is a slippery slope. However, the government does not (or at least should not) have the right to force private establishments to ban smoking. Adult patrons are perfectly able to make free and conscious decisions about whether they would like to patronize a private establishment. As far as I know, no bar has ever forced someone to go there.
          • smokingban
            why do people go to places that allow smoking, if they think it is so terrible? also why is the governor against peoples right to smoke, that is where millions of tax dollars are generated. do we live in a dictator country now?

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