Indiana House panel backs statewide smoking ban

An Indiana House committee has advanced a bill that would ban smoking in most public places statewide.

The
bill endorsed by the House Public Policy Committee in a 7-5 vote on Wednesday would exempt casinos and pari-mutuel horse racing
tracks from the ban. The bill now moves to the full House.

The House passed a similar bill last year, but it
failed in the Senate and died during late-session negotiations.

Numerous communities in Indiana have smoking
bans in public places, but they vary in forms. Proponents of a statewide ban say it would level the playing field across Indiana
and help protect people from second-hand smoke.

Two bar owners testified against the bill, saying adults should
be able to use a legal product with other adults.

Several communities in Indiana already ban smoking in public
places.

An effort to broaden Indianapolis’ workplace smoking ban stalled this fall after an
indecisive City-Council Council vote. The measure would have expanded an existing law that prohibits
smoking in most public places to include bars, bowling alleys and private clubs. An existing law already bans
smoking in restaurants that serve minors.

Council members tabled the issue in late October when it fell short of
the 15 votes needed to either pass or fail, then decided to sent it back to committee for revisions before revisiting the
issue.

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