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Indiana Legislature Revisits Statewide Smoking Ban

Members of an Indiana legislative study committee are taking up the issue of a statewide smoking again.  As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland reports, this is the fourth attempt to get some comprehensive legislation passed. Hear the Story

Representative Brown continues fight for smoking ban

As Indiana legislators continue their final negotiations of the 2010, Representative Charlie Brown of Gary continues his push for a statewide smoking ban.

Today in conference committee, Brown added the smoking ban legislation to a health bill along with several other pieces of senate legislation.

Brown says he did this in the hopes of getting senate conferees to agree to the ban that would only exempt casinos and racinos, tax exempt clubs such as VFWs and American Legions and tobacco businesses.

“There was testimony that showed we spend over a billion dollars a year in Indiana alone, a billion dollars, on smoking related illnesses. So why would, in these austere times why would not everyone want to save at least a portion of that billion dollars by having people not come into contact with second hand smoke.”

Brown says he has three of the four necessary signatures. He’s awaiting the fourth from Senator Patricia Miller of Indianapolis who represents the Senate Republicans.

Brian Caoimhghin Flood

House Approves Statewide Smoking Ban

Smoking would be banned in public places statewide if a bill passed by the Indiana House of Representatives today becomes law. A relatively small heath bill turned into a big topic Wednesday when the house decided to add in the statewide public smoking ban authored by Representative Charlie Brown of Gary. After much discussion for and against the ban, Legislators passed the bill by a slim margin, bringing Indiana one step closer to being the twenty seventh state to pass a comprehensive smoking ban. Opponents of the bill, like Representative Gerald Torr of Carmel, say they don’t believe the state should tell business people how to run their establishments, while others asked that exceptions be put in for private clubs and veteran’s organizations. But Representative Brown says people in the state are ready to put those arguments to rest.

“Indiana is progressive. Indiana is concerned about its fellow Hoosiers. Indiana is willing and ready to take that step and say second hand smoke is not good for Indiana.”

The ban has exemptions for casinos and racinos. Brown says he will consider other exemptions in conference committee. Several Indiana municipalities have already passed smoking bans, but this is the first time a statewide ban has been passed by either chamber of the legislature.

Brian Caoimhghin Flood

Statewide Smoking Ban Revived in House

The Indiana House came one step closer last night to passing a statewide indoor smoking ban in public places. But as Scott Leadingham reports, there could be exceptions, and that has opponents raising questions.

Hear the Story

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Watered Down Smoking Ban Approved by House

Smoking was the subject of legislation Tuesday as the Indiana House approved a bill aimed at putting an end to smoking in public places. Representative Charlie Brown of Gary, author of the bill, had hoped to institute a comprehensive smoking ban. But after several amendments added exemptions, including one that would exempt bars and taverns, the bill didn’t go as far as to end smoking in public places as Brown would have liked.

“Although over three fourths of white collar workers are covered by smoke free places, only forty three percent of the countries six point six million food preparation and service occupation workers benefit from no smoking.”

Opponents to the bill, like Representative Matt Bell of Avilla, said despite the exemptions, the bill was not right for Indiana. Bell believes that Hoosier businesses should be allowed to decide for themselves whether it is in their best interest to go smoke free, trusting that those businesses will have the best wishes of their employees and patrons in mind. The bill now moves to the Senate.

-Brian Flood

Research Considers Economic Impact of Statewide Smoking Ban

Last week, a report from the Indiana University Center for Health Policy in Indianapolis was released showing the economic impact of smoking bans already in effect in other states. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland spoke with Eric Wright, the author of that report, about what those finding mean for Indiana and a proposed statewide smoking ban being considered by lawmakers.

Smoking Ban Supporters Gather at Statehouse

Today members of Indiana’s major faith denominations and health leaders gathered at the Statehouse to demonstrate in favor of a statewide smoking ban in Indiana. A bill authorized by House Democrat Charlie Brown of Gary proposed a statewide smoking ban that covered all workplaces. But recent amendments exclude most restaurants, bars and casinos. Aaron Doeppers, Midwest Regional Director of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids says he wants the bill returned to its original form because all Hoosiers have the right to breathe smoke free air.

“The bill that was passed out of the house is full of gigantic loop holes and it delivers a lot more in talking points than it does in health protection, so we’re calling on the senate today to close those loopholes and give us a smoke free Indiana.”

Twenty four states have passed smoke free laws that include restaurants and bars. The group hopes Indiana will be the twenty fifth. The bill has been assigned to a senate committee and is waiting for a hearing.

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