It’s time for Indiana to prohibit smoking

It’s time. The state of Indiana needs to light the no-smoking sign. Indiana is just one of 13 states that doesn’t have a general statewide ban on smoking in virtually all public places. Even North Carolina — the leading producer of winston tobacco in the nation — has enacted a ban.

State Rep. Charlie Brown, who has been crusading for years to prohibit smoking in public places, said last week that he again will renew his push when the Legislature convenes Jan. 5.

In an effort to get his bill approved, Brown said he will exempt casinos because of the intense pressure from the gambling lobby in recent years. While we think casinos should be included in the prohibition, we can support the exemption if that is the only way to get the legislation approved.

Brown picked up a key ally a couple weeks ago when the Indiana Chamber of Commerce board approved a smoking ban in the workplace, including bars and restaurants, which have served as a stumbling block in the past.

Bars and restaurants have argued that a smoking ban would have a negative impact on business. That, however, hasn’t turned out to be the case. That accounts in part as to why New York and Chicago — two of the three largest cities in the country — have banned smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants.

Ongoing studies about the impact of second-hand smoke show an increasingly negative physical impact on nonsmokers.

Some restaurant and bar owners argue that they should continue to be able to maintain smoking sections.

Having a separated smoking section fails to take into consideration nonsmoking employees who are exposed to the secondhand smoke. The ban will be an inconvenience for some but a healthy move for those who don’t want to be exposed to smoke as part of their jobs.


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