Indiana - weak statewide smoke ban being considered..

February 3, 2010 — Representative Charlie Brown's bill HB1131, the smoke free air bill, passed out of the House yesterday, February 2nd with a vote of 73-26 and is now headed to the Senate. Unfortunately more exemptions were added to the bill, specifically to exempt VFWs and Legion Halls. So under the current version of the bill you could not smoke at restaurants, day cares, government buildings and other businesses. The House passed a similar bill last year, but it failed in the Senate and died during late-session negotiations.

The bill was endorsed by the House Public Policy Committee in a 7-5 vote on Wednesday, January 20th - the bill then moved to the full House. (New smoking ban proposal approved by Indiana House committee, Kjerstin Ramsing,, 1/20/2010 - VIDEO)

When Rep. Charlie Brown authored the House Bill 1131 it would ban smoking in all public places except casinos, an exception Brown said he made to avoid becoming a target of gaming lobbyists. But after the House voted to adopt several amendments, those exemptions expanded to include bars, taverns, smoke shops, small businesses not open to the public, VFW and American Legion halls.

"We've exacted this down to the point where I think it's only illegal to smoke inside an oxygen tent in the intensive care unit of a hospital," said Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington. "This is not even close to a comprehensive ban anymore." Despite how much the ban had been weakened, several Republicans voted against the measure. "I still have a profound disagreement that this is good policy for the state of Indiana," said Rep. Matt Bell, R-Avilla. He said the decision on smoking bans should rest, as it does now, with individual communities.

Numerous communities in Indiana have smoking bans in public places, but they vary in form and many communities have no regulations at all. Proponents of a statewide ban say it would level the playing field across Indiana and help protect people from second-hand smoke. Smoke-free workplace laws have been implemented in eight counties and 31 cities in Indiana, according to the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency.

Tristan Kirby of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Tippecanoe County said a blanket ban would offer the most protection to employees from secondhand smoke. That’s the major push behind Brown’s legislation. “There is no safe level of secondhand smoking,” Kirby said. “Any level can be detrimental to an employee. The only way to be truly free of secondhand smoke, 100 percent, is to not allow smoking inside a facility.” /Kirby said there are worries about the health of casino workers. But she said the Tobacco Free Partnership would support House Bill 1131.

Several bills have been introduced this session that would establish a statewide smoking ban in public places. SB 95 proposes a statewide smoking ban in all public places and places of employment. Authored by Errington, this measure would initiate certain civil penalties for violations, and require the collected funds to be deposited in the Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Trust Fund. If approved, the smoking ban would become effective July 1, 2010. The bill has yet to be assigned a hearing date in the Senate Commerce, Public Policy and Interstate Cooperation Committee. HB 1131 has similar provisions.

MAP - United States 100% Smokefree Laws American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation - as of January 5, 2010..

Reference: HB-1131 Update, Smoke Free Indianapolis, 2/3/2010; osts Tagged ‘Tobacco Free Partnership of Tippecanoe County’ State smoking ban bill would trump rules in Lafayette, WL by ERIC WEDDLE (,, 1/24/2010; , Week in Review - Indiana General Assembly,, 1/2010.

A few Indiana related news briefs:
Indianapolis, Indiana - tobacco control people are furious - city used as test market again..;
Elkhart, Indiana - smoking ban stands no exemption for bars..;
Indiana - fire-safe cigarettes - July 1, 2009..;
Children in Indiana starting to use smokless tobacco products..;
Congratulations to the Great State of Indiana..;