[r32] Smoking ban legislation advances through the House (1/27/2012)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Start Date: 1/27/2012
End Date: 1/27/2012
STATEHOUSE –A bill to ban smoking in work places advanced in the House today, with the bill passing out of second reading. Rep. P. Eric Turner (R-Cicero) authored the legislation that would limit smoking in public places among other enclosed areas.

The smoking ban legislation, House Bill 1149, will prohibit smoking in indoor public places, enclosed areas of places of employment, certain state vehicles and within 12 feet of a public entrance to a public place.

Amendments added on second reading included adding law enforcement as part of enforcing the law, exempting a casino’s footprint and exempting cigar manufacturers. One of the amendments adopted grants bars and taverns an exemption for 18 months to transition to a smoke-free business.

“We have heard over and over from health professionals about harmful effects of smoking and specifically the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Protecting Hoosiers from these health risks is at the heart of this bill,” said Rep. Turner.  “Though several communities within our state have a comprehensive smoking ban, this legislation would add the entire state of Indiana to more than 50 percent of the U.S. population that have comprehensive smoking bans.”

The legislation would allow smoking in certain gaming facilities, cigar and hookah bars and fraternal, social and veterans clubs, and tobacco stores if specific requirements are met.

The legislation also requires certain signs to be posted. It also prohibits firing or refusing to hire a person for reporting a violation under the smoking prohibitions. The Alcohol and Tobacco Commission is charged with enforcing the prohibition.

“Many legislators would support a pure smoking ban for all indoor facilities with access by the public or where there are employees,” said Rep. Turner. “However, we would rather pass a bill that takes care of the 98 percent of the protecting Hoosier employees than nothing at all. We have tried to find the sweet spot that minimizes the number of exemptions for a smoking ban, maximizes the number of smoke free work places and still passes through the General Assembly.”

The smoking ban legislation aims to protect Hoosiers from exposure to secondhand smoke in public places.
A recent Indiana University study found the economic costs of secondhand smoke in the state are more than $1 billion per year. Polling announced this week by the American Heart Association showed 70 percent of Hoosiers support a law that would prohibit smoking in indoor workplaces and public places including restaurants and bars.

The bill would be effective upon passage.

                                        -30-

Rep. P. Eric Turner serves as Speaker Pro Tem and represents District 32 which includes parts of Grant, Miami, Tipton, Howard, and Hamilton Counties.

Turner NR- smoking ban passes 2nd.docx