[r32] Smoking Ban legislation passes out of House (1/31/2012)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Start Date: 1/31/2012
End Date: 1/31/2012
STATEHOUSE –A bill to ban smoking in work places passed out of the House today with a 62-34 vote. Rep. P. Eric Turner (R-Cicero) authored the legislation, House Bill (HB) 1149, that would limit smoking in public places among other enclosed areas.

The final version of the smoking ban legislation will prohibit smoking:

• In indoor public places
• Enclosed areas of places of employment
• Within 12 feet of a public entrance to a public place

According to Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air, 31 counties and local governments in Indiana have already taken steps to become smoke free.

“We have heard over and over from health professionals about harmful effects of smoking and specifically the harmful effects of secondhand smoke,” said Rep. Turner. "This is the right policy for Indiana, and we are anxious to protect Hoosiers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Protecting Hoosiers from these health risks is at the heart of this bill.

“With more than 50 percent of the U.S. population along with several of our own communities within our state also having comprehensive smoking bans, passing this legislation brings us one step closer to a smoke-free Indiana.”

A recently released poll by the American Heart Association shows that 70 percent of Hoosiers support a law that would prohibit smoking in indoor workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars. The survey also found that 85 percent of Hoosiers believe secondhand smoke is a health hazard, including 58 percent who say it is a serious health hazard.

The legislation would allow smoking in certain gaming facilities, cigar and hookah bars and fraternal, social and veterans clubs, tobacco stores and cigar manufacturers if specific requirements are met. The bill grants bars and taverns an 18-month exemption to allow them to smoothly transition to a smoke-free business.

“We have Hoosiers trying to find the best job they can and in many cases, those jobs are unfortunately in smoke filled environments, exposing them to dangerous and harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Hoosiers should not have to choose between providing for their families and their own health,” said Rep. Turner. “We have tried to find the sweet spot that minimizes the number of exemptions for a smoking ban and maximizes the number of smoke-free work places to bring Indiana closer to becoming entirely smoke free.”

Owners, operators and managers of smoke-free public places are required to post conspicuous signs that read “smoking is prohibited by state law” or other similar language.

The bill 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, with certain government agencies as well as law enforcement included as part of enforcing the law.

The bill will now be heard in the Senate, and would be effective upon passage.

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

NEWS - Smoking Ban legislation passes out of House.docx