Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays everyone from your friends at Smoke Free Indy.

We hope that this holiday season is full of gladness and good cheer. Hopefully you will be able to fill this season with some good old fashion smoke free fun.

As New Years approaches please add making all Indianapolis workplaces smoke free to your 2010 list of resolutions. This is one that we can surely make happen, 2010 is our year, I just know it!

Also if you know someone that needs and or wants to quit tobacco have them call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-Quit-Now for free telephone counselling and 2 weeks free patch or gum. They can also visit the website www.QuitNowIndiana.net.

This is it from us through the New Year, we'll be back in 2010 to make things happen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Help Mellencamp Quit Smoking

John Mellencamp's son Speck is trying to get one million facebook users to join his page in support of his father quitting smoking. Currently the group is at 237,590 members, almost a quarter of the way toward his goal. Take a minute to join this group to support Mellencamp going smoke free. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=info&gid=202540109208

Nonsmokers Top Smokers in Well-Being Across All Incomes

Here is an interesting report stating that nonsmokers have a higher well being than smokers at every income level.

Check it out here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/124280/Nonsmokers-Top-Smokers-Across-Incomes.aspx?CSTS=alert

If you want to quit to increase your overall well being call Indiana's free tobacco quitline at 1-800-Quit-Now.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

National Report: Indiana Ranks 29th in Protecting Kids from Tobacco

A new report released today from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) lists Indiana as 29th in the nation for protecting kids from tobacco. This rate is better than our adult smoking rate which is 2nd in the nation, but we still have a long way to go to prevent youth from becoming future smokers. We know from research and through examples from other states that smoking rates decrease through increased tobacco taxes, smoke free air laws and comprehensive tobacco programs, currently Indiana is falling behind the rest of the nation in all three of these fronts.

Here is the press release from CTFK:

CONTACT: Joel Spivak/Ashley Rockhold, 202-296-5469

National Report: Indiana Ranks 29th in Protecting Kids from Tobacco
After Cutting Funding for Tobacco Prevention by 28%

Washington, DC (December 9, 2009) –Indiana has cut state funding for tobacco prevention programs by 28 percent in the past year and currently ranks 29th in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released today by a coalition of public health organizations.

Indiana currently spends $11.8 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, including $10.8 million in state funds and a $1 million federal grant. This total is just 15 percent of the $78.8 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Last year, Indiana ranked 28th, spending $16 million on tobacco prevention.

Other key findings for Indiana include:
· In the past year, Indiana has cut state funding for its tobacco prevention program by 28 percent, from $15.1 million to $10.8 million.
· Indiana this year will collect $622 million from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend less than two percent of it on tobacco prevention programs.
· The tobacco companies spend $426.2 million a year to market their products in Indiana. This is 36 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

The annual report on states’ funding of tobacco prevention programs, titled “A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 11 Years Later,” was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation program has contributed to significant declines in tobacco use. Between 2000 and 2008, smoking declined by 42 percent among Indiana high school students (from 31.6 percent to 18.3 percent) and by 58 percent among middle school students (from 9.8 percent to 4.1 percent). However, Indiana still has one of the highest adult smoking rates in the nation at 26.1 percent. Every year, another 8,600 Indiana kids become regular smokers, and tobacco use claims 9,700 lives and costs the state $2.1 billion in health care bills.

“Indiana has made significant progress in the fight against tobacco, but Indiana this year has taken a step backward and cut state funding for tobacco prevention by more than a quarter,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Indiana’s progress in reducing tobacco use is at risk unless state leaders restore funding for tobacco prevention. Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is a smart investment that reduces smoking, saves lives and saves money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs.”

Eleven years after the 1998 state tobacco settlement, the new report finds that the states this year are collecting record amounts of revenue from the tobacco industry, but are spending less of it on tobacco prevention. Key national findings of the report include:

· The states this year will collect $25.1 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 2.3 percent of it – $567.5 million – on tobacco prevention programs. It would take less than 15 percent of their tobacco revenue to fund tobacco prevention programs in every state at CDC-recommended levels.
· In the past year, states have cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by more than 15 percent, or $103.4 million.
· Only one state – North Dakota – currently funds a tobacco prevention program at the CDC-recommended level.
· Only nine other states fund prevention programs at even half the CDC-recommended amount, while 31 states and DC are providing less than a quarter of the recommended funding.

The report warns that the nation’s progress in reducing smoking is at risk unless states increase funding for programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. The United States has significantly reduced smoking among both youth and adults, but the CDC’s most recent survey showed that smoking declines among adults have stalled. Currently 20 percent of high school students and 20.6 percent of adults smoke.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year. Every day, another 1,000 kids become regular smokers – one-third of them will die prematurely as a result.

More information, including the full report and state-specific information, can be obtained at www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reach Out to Your Councillors and Mayor Ballard this Holiday Season

If you are sending out holiday cards this season, please consider sending one to Mayor Ballard and your city-county councillor, letting them know that YOUR wish for this holiday season, and resolution for 2010 is a Smoke Free Indianapolis.

What You Can Do

Please consider sending a Christmas or holiday card to Mayor Ballard telling him why a Smoke Free Indy is your New Year’s Resolution - for living, working, visiting, and playing. Help encourage him to be a champion for a healthier, more vibrant and livable Indy that protects the freedom to breathe for all workers.

You can send the card to:

The Honorable Greg Ballard
Mayor of Indianapolis
Office of the Mayor

2501 City-County Bldg.

200 E. Washington St.Indianapolis, IN 46204

If you live in Indianapolis, please send a card to your councillor. If they are support of Proposal 371, please thank them for their support! If they have not yet supported Proposal 371, please encourage them to do so.

Don't know who your councillor is? Follow this link to find out.

Councillors Who Have Shown Support for Proposal 371

Councillor Benjamin Hunter (21)
10921 Midnight Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46239

Councillor Angela Mansfield (2)
7836 Harcourt Springs Ct
Indianapolis, In 46260

Councillor Jose Evans (1)
P.O. Box 68077
Indianapolis, IN 46268

Councillor Paul Bateman (11)
241 City-County Building

200 E. Washington St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Councillor Maggie Lewis (7)
241 City-County Building

200 E. Washington St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Councillor Brian Mahern (16)
1415 Lexington Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46203

Councillor Barbara Malone (At-Large)
6953 Bretton Wood Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46260

Councillor Mary Moriarty Adams (17)
5256 E. 13th St
Indianapolis, IN 46219

Councillor Jackie Nytes (9)
3444 Washington Blvd
Indianapolis, IN 46205

Councillor Joanne Sanders (At-Large)
5144 N Carrollton Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46205

Councillor Kent Smith (At-Large)
241 City-County Building

200 E. Washington St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Councillor Ryan Vaughn (3)
241 City-County Building

200 E. Washington St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Councillors Who Have Not YET Shown Support for Proposal 371

Councillor Vernon Brown (18)
11817 Brocken Way
Indianapolis, IN 46229

Councillor Virginia Cain (5)
241 City-County Building

200 E. Washington St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Councillor Jeff Cardwell (23)
3205 Madison Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46227

Councillor Bob Cockrum (22)
6004 W. Ralston Road
Indianapolis, IN 46221

Councillor Ed Coleman (At-Large)
241 City-County Building

200 E. Washington St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Councillor Susie Day (20)
245 Churchman Ave
Beech Grove, IN 46107

Councillor Robert Lutz (13)
1156 Texarkana Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46231

Councillor Janice McHenry (6)
7641 Torbay Circle
Indianapolis, IN 46254

Councillor Michael McQuillen (12)
9130 Prairie Ridge Ct
Indianapolis, IN 46256

Councillor William Oliver (10)
4712 E 34th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46218

Councillor Lincoln Plowman (25)
7915 S Emerson #296
Indianapolis, IN 46237

Councillor Marilyn Pfisterer (14)
1001 Mt. Auburn Dr
Indianapolis, IN 46224

Councillor Christine Scales (4)
5133 Plantation Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46250

Councillor Mike Speedy (24)
4733 Moss Creek Terrace
Indianapolis, IN 46237

Councillor Monroe Gray, Jr. (8)
4811 Seville Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46228

Councillor Dane Mahern (19)
2313 S Garfield Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46203

Councillor Doris Minton-McNeill (15)
241 City-County Building

200 E. Washington St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204

In this season of giving and gratitude, please show Mayor Ballard and your councillor that they can give Indianapolis the best gift of all - healthy and safe workplaces for all Indianapolis employees and patrons.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Smoke Free Indy Position Statement on 371 Going Back to Committee

December 2, 2009

Smoke Free Indy’s Position Statement

Indianapolis, Ind. – Proposal 371, which would extend the current smoke free air law to include bars, bowling alleys and membership clubs, was sent back for additional committee review at the last Marion County City-County Council meeting on Monday, November 30th. While the council did not enact Proposal 371 at that time, the smoke free air proposal remains a pressing issue for Indianapolis workers and residents.

This step is a temporary, but necessary, delay to our ultimate goal of protecting workers, including hospitality workers, from secondhand smoke in the workplace. There is already strong bipartisan support among the council and overwhelming community support. Over the next few months, we will continue to work diligently toward council passage and to gain Mayor Ballard's support.

Smoke Free Indy wants to thank the councillors who have supported and led the fight to make Indianapolis a healthier city in which to live and work. Comprehensive smoke free workplace laws prevent disease and death and improve the economic development climate by reducing preventable health care costs.

We will remain focused on the health of Indianapolis workers and we are hopeful that the council will continue to work to protect all workers in Indianapolis from the dangers of secondhand smoke. No one should have to choose between their jobs and their health.

# # #

Smoke Free Indy is a coalition of state and local public health organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association of Indiana as well as other groups, businesses, and Marion County residents, that support making all workplaces smoke free. We are dedicated to reducing secondhand smoke, tobacco usage and tobacco initiation through education, prevention and advocacy. For more information visit: www.smokefreeindy.com.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bars' victory hazardous to health | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

Below is the newest editorial from the editorial board of the Indianapolis Star lamenting the fact that the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council did not enact Proposal 371 at the council meeting on Monday night.

Bars' victory hazardous to health IndyStar.com The Indianapolis Star

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Proposal 371 Sent Back to Committee

Proposal 371, the proposed Indianapolis smoke free ordinance that covers, bars, membership clubs and bowling alley, was sent back to committee for further consideration in the City-County Council meeting last night.

This keeps the legislation live and active so we ultimately can get a majority for passage.

See article on Indy Star:

IndyStar.com Both sides cheer vote on smoking ban The Indianapolis Star

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rally On Monday

On Monday, November 30th, at 7:00 p.m. the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council will vote on Proposal 371 at the City County Building's Public Assembly Room. We are asking all supporters to attend the council meeting as a way to show support for making Indy smoke free. We are also asking all supporters to wear their green Smoke Free Indy t-shirt as a way to show unity for smoke free air.

Before the council vote we will be having a rally in support of smoke free air at the Indianapolis City Market.
When: Monday, November 30th
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Where: Indianapolis City Market - West Plaza, 222 E. Market St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Why: To get revved up about Indianapolis going smoke free!

Thanks to everyone for their work thus far. We couldn't have gotten this close without your help.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ACS' Great American Smokeout

Tomorrow is the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, a day dedicated to quitting the tobacco habit. In honor of this day Smoke Free Indy will be throughout the city educating the public about secondhand smoke and sharing resources on quitting smoking.

If you would like to quit smoking you can call 1-800-Quit-Now the free Indiana counseling line which will send you 2 weeks of free patch or gum by signing up, or you can visit our cessation page for local resources.

Tomorrow can be the first day of your life as a NONSMOKER! You can do it, I know it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Who We Are: In Response to Recent Inquiries

Smoke Free Indy is a coalition of state and local public health organizations, community based organizations, physicians, businesses, schools, the faith community, and Marion County residents dedicated to reducing secondhand smoke, tobacco usage and tobacco initiation through education, prevention and advocacy. Our coalition membership includes many state, local and national organizations, including but not limited to the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and American Lung Association of Indiana. For a complete list of Smoke Free Indy’s coalition partners, please visit www.smokefreeindy.com.

The organizations that are partners in Smoke Free Indy are committed to the principles of the coalition at the direction of their own governing bodies and donors. Our partner organizations are in compliance with local, state and federal laws. Smoke Free Indy does not receive federal funds and therefore is not in violation of the Hatch Act, as has been suggested.

Internal tobacco industry documents now available to us show clearly that one of the key tactics the tobacco industry uses to undermine effective policy change is to make false claims of illegal political activity or lobbying so they can smear a tobacco-free coalition's efforts. More information can be found here: http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/TCRB/monographs/16/m16_8.pdf.

Smoke Free Indy remains focused on the health of Indianapolis workers and we are hopeful that the City-County Council will continue to work to protect all workers in Indianapolis from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Hoosiers burned in smoke study | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

Hoosiers burned in smoke study | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

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State outpuffs most of nation | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

Smoking rate now No. 2 in the country

State outpuffs most of nation | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

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Friday, November 13, 2009

USA Today Article on CDC Prevalence Data Featuring a Photo from Indianapolis

Literally the poster child…

Below is a link to a story from USA Today about the CDC release of the national prevalence data. The photo that accompanied the USA Today story was of a person smoking inside the Red Key Tavern in Indianapolis.

To effectively reduce smoking prevalence, three proven policy solutions that work synergistically together are : 1) comprehensive smoke free workplace laws, 2) increase in the price of tobacco products, and 3) adequate funding for a state’s tobacco prevention and cessation program.

Indianapolis has an opportunity to address one of those three on Monday, November 30th when the City-County Council considers Proposal 371, a comprehensive smoke free workplace ordinance that includes, bars, bowling alleys and clubs.

USA Today: Adult smoking rate rises slightly for 1st time in 15 years

By Darron Cummings, AP

A customer at the Red Key Taven in Indianapolis lights a Marlboro cigarette.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Morty's Comedy Hypnotist Show

Smoke Free Indy would like to invite you to join us for this fun filled, smoke free event.

Procedural Victories Keep Proposal 371 Alive for Consideration

Thanks to some very adept procedural maneuvering at yesterday’s council meeting in Indianapolis, Proposal 371 — which would make workplaces, including bars, bowling alleys and clubs, smoke free — was taken off the table and it’s now on the agenda for consideration by the City-County Council at the November 30th meeting. See the Indy Star story below for details.

IndyStar.com | Stronger smoking ban gets new life | The Indianapolis Star

Monday, November 9, 2009

Indy Star: 10 percent of lung cancer patients never smoked

Check out this article on Indy Star:

10 percent of lung cancer patients never smoked

According to Dr. Nasser Hanna, an associate professor of hematology/oncology at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a physician-researcher with the I.U. Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, 10 percent of lung cancer patients are non-smokers.

"Exposure to second-hand smoke and such long-term occupational risks as working in factories and coal mines put non-smokers at increased risk."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fun Fact: Libertarian Party of IN Violates its Own Stated Purpose/Principles in Opposing Smoke Free Laws

The Libertarian Party of Indiana violates its own stated principles articulated in its by-laws with its position opposing comprehensive smoke free workplace laws that protects all workers.

Check out this portion of the LPIN bylaws from the organization’s website below [the highlighting is my addition]:


Libertarian Party of Indiana -- By-Laws


Section 2. Principles. The LPIN affirms the following principles:

a. That all people possess certain unalienable natural rights, and that among these are rights to life, liberty, justly acquired property, and self-governance.

b. That the only moral basis of government is the preservation and protection of unalienable natural rights.

c. That no person or institution, public or private, has the right to initiate the use of physical force or fraud against another person, and that all people are bound, without contract, to abstain from infringing upon the natural rights of other people.

[Approved at State Convention May 1999; As Amended at State Convention April 2001; As Amended at State Convention April 2004; As Amended by Central Committee October 2005; As Amended at State Convention April 2006]

The Libertarian Party of Indiana chooses to defend the last two inalienable rights listed under Article II, Section 2 a—property rights and self-governance—at the expense of the first two inalienable rights –LIFE and LIBERTY. Secondhand smoke is a cause of death, and to defend the status quo where workers continue to health their health jeopardized by exposure to secondhand smoke, the LPIN threatens those workers’ rights to life and liberty. Not only is the health of workers seriously threatened by secondhand smoke [infringing on the inalienable right to life], but it also infringes on when secondhand smoke is present in the air because it takes away everyone’s liberty to breathe air free of secondhand smoke.

But really, the most egregious betrayal of the LPIN’s own principles and purpose by opposing comprehensive smoke free workplace laws is made clear in Article II, Section 2[c]. Libertarians say one key principle is that “all people are bound, without contract, to abstain from infringing upon the natural rights of other people.” Unfortunately, by opposing comprehensive smoke free workplace ordinances, Indiana’s Libertarians were active parties to ensuring that some people will continue to infringe upon the natural rights of other people [continuing to smoke inside an enclosed workplace or enclosed public place and risking the life and liberty of those occupants].

Normally, I wouldn’t spend time analyzing the bylaws of a 2% fringe political party, but since they have inserted themselves so visibly and vocally into the dialogue about whether Indianapolis should protect all workers from a known and preventable occupational health risk, I thought it would be worthwhile to see what they’re supposed to be about. It looks like they’re about picking and choosing which inalienable natural rights they want to defend and which ones they think it’s okay to trample on.

Just FYI…

Halloween Treats: Two Great Editorials

Almost two years after Candidate Ballard said in 2007 he would support any legislation to limit the impact of secondhand smoke, and after months of not offering a public position, Mayor Ballard came in quietly behind-the-scenes to ask for defeat of this common sense smoke free workplace proposal.

We can thank our well-informed and engaged media here in Indianapolis for covering this issue in-depth and for helping illuminate Mayor Ballard’s position on Proposal 371.

Ban goes down in flames of secrecy | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

Take the lead, Mayor Ballard | IBJ.com | The Indianapolis Business Journal

Why Indy's behind the pack | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

Why Indy's behind the pack | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

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The IndyChannel.com: Ballard Weighs In On Smoking Ban Debate


Ballard Weighs In On Smoking Ban Debate
Mayor: Debate Should 'Concentrate On Health'

POSTED: 7:45 am EDT October 30, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS -- Just days after a controversial comprehensive smoking ban was voted down in the City-County Council, Mayor Greg Ballard weighed in on why he didn't actively support the ban.

When he ran for office, Ballard said he would support a smoking ban, but reports from some media outlets accused him of convincing the council to vote against the ordinance.

Ballard said Thursday that he didn't influence anyone, but that his support for the ban waned as he considered who would have been affected.

"I've been pretty clear that I'm never going to tell an Iwo Jima vet that he can't smoke in the VFW. You can take that for what it's worth," Ballard said. "I think there's something out there, but I wish they would concentrate on the health and stop demonizing everyone."

Supporters of a stricter smoking ban believe the health of bar workers should trump a business owner's right to choose to allow smoking.

Many bar owners believe being forced to ban smoking would have crippled their businesses.

Supporters vowed to keep fighting Proposals for a statewide ban in Indiana have died in legislative committee three times.

Marion County's current smoking ban was passed in 2005. It prohibits smoking in any business that allows patrons under the age of 18.

Copyright 2009 by TheIndyChannel.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Smoke Free Indy Statement on Council Action on Proposal 371

Smoke Free Indy wants to thank the councillors who have supported and led the fight to make Indianapolis a healthier city to live and work in. We were very close, and while the smoke free workplace proposal did not pass last night, we will continue to work toward having everyone protected by Indianapolis law from diseases caused by on-the-job exposure to secondhand smoke.

While Proposal 371 may have been tabled, it was not defeated on Monday night. The smokefree workplace proposal is very much alive and this issue is just as important to the workers and residents of Indianapolis today as it was yesterday and it will remain tomorrow.

The council did not adopt a comprehensive smoke free workplace policy last night, but we are hopeful and confident that they will someday, just as so many other municipalities, states and countries have done. Indianapolis was not among the first major world-class cities to adopt a comprehensive smoke free workplace policy to protect all workers, and it would not even be among the middle today, but we do not want to be the last to adopt this common sense smoke free solution that protects the health of workers and improve the economic viability and quality of life for the people of Indianapolis. We hope the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council will embrace a comprehensive smokefree workplace policy sometime in the near future.

We will continue to work to protect ALL workers from secondhand smoke exposure. Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of heart disease, lung cancer, respiratory disease and other serious health hazards, not just a mere annoyance. No one should have to choose between their jobs and their health.

Update on Proposal 371

Last night, the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council voted on Proposal 371, the smoke free workplace proposal that would remove smoking from most indoor workplaces in Indianapolis, including bars, nightclubs and bowling alleys. Neither the supporters of Proposal 371 nor the opponents had enough votes to pass or kill Proposal 371.

A motion was made and passed to table Proposal 371. So what does this mean? 15 votes will now be required at a Council meeting to re-hear Proposal 371 and then it can be voted on again.

If you missed the news, here are just a couple of links:
Channel 6
Fox 59

Thanks to everyone for their work thus far. We couldn't have gotten this close without everyone's help. And there are still things you can do today to continue to help us fight (see below).

The opposition isn't giving up and neither are we. This proposal is NOT dead. We will continue to work untill all workers in Indianapolis are protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke.


-Send a thank you e-mail to those who voted "YES" for proposal 371.
Councillor Benjamin Hunter: bdhunter@sbcglobal.net
Councillor Angela Mansfield: angelamansfield@aol.com
Councillor Jose Evans: info@evansforindy.com
Councillor Paul Bateman: ccpsbateman@hotmail.com
Councillor Maggie Lewis: mlewis2@indygov.org
Councillor Brian Mahern: brian@mahern.net
Councillor Barbara Malone: barbara_malone@sbcglobal.net
Councillor Mary Moriarty Adams: mmadams@iquest.net
Councillor Jackie Nytes: jackie@jackienytes.com
Councillor Joanne Sanders: jmsanders@msn.com
Councillor Kent Smith: ksmith4ccc@gmail.com
Councillor Ryan Vaughn: rvaughn@indygov.org

-Send an e-mail to the Mayor at jcochran@indygov.org and tell him you STILL support Proposal 371.

-Write a letter to the editor in support of Proposal 371.

-Stay tuned with all the latest details by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

All workers should have the same protection...whether you work in an office or bar, whether you took the bar exam or you are a bartender; the law should cover all. Let's make Indianapolis a truly world class city!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Today is the D-Day!

Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council Meeting, Proposal 371

WHERE: City County Building, 200. East Washington St., 2ND floor

WHEN: Meeting begins at 7pm.

There will be no testimony on the ordinance at all. We’re attending en masse to pack the room with supporters so they know that concerned citizens are watching the outcome.

Indianapolis council to vote tonight on stricter workplace smoking ban IndyStar.com The Indianapolis Star

Indianapolis Star editorial re-affirms endorsement of Proposal 371

The editorial in the Sunday edition of the Indianapolis Star is a thoughtful, well-reasoned and thorough refutation of the common arguments against smoke free workplace laws presented by opponents. The editorial says “The case for going smoke free is airtight based on the facts.” Then one-by-one, the Star tells each one of these tried and untrue opposition claims to go fly a kite.

The editorial even flips the script on these arguments by asserting that “economic and personal rights, far from being abridged by a smoke free environment, have been enhanced in cities bold enough to go all out for public health. This is the second editorial this month endorsing Proposal 371 and calling for its passage. Thanks, Indy Star!

Please share with key opinion leaders and councillors. And on that note, please contact members of the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council to ask them to vote “yes” on Proposal 371 tonight.

Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce Endorses Proposal 371

The Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce announced that it endorses Proposal 371, the ordinance that would make workplaces, including bars, bowling alleys and clubs, smokefree.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Secondhand Smoke = $47.5 M in Excess Health Costs for Marion County

Today, Smoke Free Indy released a study on the economic impact of secondhand smoke exposure that was conducted by the IU School of Medicine, Bowen Research Center.

The key finding is that secondhand smoke costs Marion County residents $47.5 million annually in excess health costs, or $54 per person. Links to the executive summary and full report can be found here.

While the significant health harm caused by secondhand smoke is a compelling reason to support comprehensive smokefree workplace laws by itself, the fact that secondhand smoke exposure has such a staggering cost in Indiana provides even more reasons why the City-County Council should adopt Proposal 371 in its present form and without further amendments.

Proposal 371, the smokefree workplace proposal will be up for consideration and action by the full council on Monday night at 7pm. Please contact the Indianapolis City-County Council and Mayor Greg Ballard to ask them to support Proposal 371 to protect the health of workers. Go here to find out who your Councillor is and call Mayor Ballard at: (317) 327-3601.


Secondhand Smoke Costs Millions, Harms Workers, Chokes Economic Development

INDIANAPOLIS – A study released today revealed that the economic impact of secondhand smoke costs $47.5 million annually, according to a new economic impact study released today by IU’s Bowen Research Center, and this staggering total inhibits economic growth in Indiana.

“Secondhand smoke results in excess medical costs of $54 per capita for Marion County residents,” said Dr. Terrell Zollinger, Dr.PH, Bowen Research Center, IU School of Medicine. “The burden of these expenses is assumed by businesses, government, and individual citizens.”

The study, presented at a news conference at the Indianapolis City Market, included estimated costs related to ambulatory care, hospital inpatient stays, and loss of life based on hospital discharge data, vital statistics and census data. The results come as the Indianapolis Marion County City-County Council of Indianapolis and Marion County considers a comprehensive smoke free workplace ordinance that would include all workplaces, including bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and membership clubs.

According to Zollinger, the estimated health care costs for 2008 was over $18 million for hospitalization and health care of patients with diseases attributed to secondhand smoke exposure. Additionally, another $29 million was lost due to premature death that can be attributed to secondhand smoke exposure. These costs do not include the health care and loss of life costs of Marion County residents who are smokers.

“The stunning economic costs contained in this report from the Bowen Research Center should be an economic warning signal to our city-county councillors,” said Missy Lewis, Smoke Free Indy Coalition Chair. “Indianapolis needs a comprehensive smoke free workplace law to protect both the health of our workers, and the economic health of our entire community.”

The release of the new Marion County economic report comes on the heels of a new national report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) confirming that secondhand smoke could cause heart attacks and that smoke free laws prevent heart attacks and save lives. The IOM report confirmed that eliminating smoking in all workplaces is an effective way to protect Americans from the health effects of secondhand smoke, particularly heart attacks.

“The costs of secondhand smoke, in addition to its detrimental health impact, should be considered when developing policy recommendations,” Zollinger said. “This makes good business sense because employers bear additional costs for the health insurance premiums used to pay for treatment of disease caused by secondhand smoke and they assume the indirect costs associated with increased sick leave and lost work time.”

The Bowen report further concluded that consumers and society carry a portion of the economic burden of secondhand smoke as well. Consumers assume additional costs with their portion of insurance premiums and any additional coinsurance and/or co-payments associated with the hospitalization, physician and pharmaceutical costs resulting from exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, businesses pass on their increased costs of health care in higher costs for goods and services to consumers.

Society assumes the cost burden for the uninsured population through the large amount of uncollected hospital revenues. Taxpayers bear the cost of Medicaid benefits for the indigent population and for Medicare clients requiring treatments for secondhand smoke-related diseases.

The report was prepared by the Bowen Research Center, Department of Family Medicine in the IU School of Medicine. The data was compiled using the number of Marion County deaths in 2007 and hospital discharges from 2005 to estimate the number of individuals affected by secondhand smoke. All cost estimates were adjusted to 2008 dollar values.

For more information regarding Smoke Free Indy, visit our website at www.smokefreeindy.com. For additional information regarding the adverse effects of secondhand smoke, visit www.in.gov/itpc.

# # #

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Countdown to a Smoke Free City!

Dear friends,

We are only six days away from the full council vote on Proposal 371!

We need everyone's help. If you haven't already done so please contact your councillor and ask him to vote YES on proposal 371 with no further exemptions.

Also, don't forget to contact our Mayor and ask him to protect the health of all workers by making Indianapolis smoke free.

If you'd like to get more involved in our efforts please send an email to info@smokefreeindy.com

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Now that Proposal 371 has been voted out of committee, it will be heard and voted upon by the full city-council on October 26th. There will be no public testimony at this point but it's very important to still show our support by attending this meeting. We will need all supporters to come down to City Hall.

Save the date: Monday, October 26th @ 7:00


-Send an e-mail or write a letter to the Mayor and tell him you support Proposal 371.

-Send an e-mail or write a letter to your City-Councillor and tell them you support Proposal 371.

-Plan to attend the Full Council Vote on Proposal 371 on October 26, 2009 at 7p.m. at the City County Building.

-Don't forget to follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

All workers should have the same protection...whether you work in an office or bar, whether you took the bar exam or you are a bartender; the law should cover all. Let's make Indianapolis a truly world class city!

Institute of Medicine Report Concludes Smoke-Free Laws Prevent Heart Attacks; It's Time to Make All Workplaces and Public Places Smoke-Free

The Institute of Medicine released a landmark report today which found that there is clear and overwhelmingly conclusive evidence that comprehensive smokefree workplace laws prevent heart attacks and that even brief, short term exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to a heart attack.

This research serves as yet another clarion call for policymakers in Indianapolis and across Indiana to act now to protect all workers from the serious health threat posed by on-the-job exposure to secondhand smoke.

Click here to read an statement by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and find a link to the full report.

Proposal 371, Smokefree Workplace Law Covering Bars, Passed Out of Indianapolis City Council Committee!!!

Proposal 371, smokefree workplace ordinance that expands Indianapolis' law to bars, bowling alleys and other workplaces, was approved by the Indianapolis City-County Council's Community Affairs Committee by a 4-2 vote.

The committee amended the ordinance to exclude cigar and hookah bars, but otherwise the ordinance remains unchanged.

Thanks to all who came out to yesterday's hearing to testify or just show support, and also to those who have worked hard to get us to this point.

There's a lot of work to do before this is over.

The ordinance next will be considered by the full council on Monday, October 26th.
Now is the time to make contact with the MAYOR and YOUR COUNCIL MEMBERS to ask then to support Proposal 371 without further amendment.

Here are some of the news stories regarding the Community Affairs Committee Meeting last night:

Channel 6

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Going Smokefree - Catch the Wave

Westfield adopted a smoking ban in work and public places such as outdoor arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters, that goes into effect today, October 14th.
On the surface it seems all good but in the big picture Westfield joins the list of local cities, including Indianapolis, which adopted limited bans still allowing smoking in bars, private clubs and restaurants that serve adults 21 and over.
Limited bans still leave a large number of citizens unprotected including workers. Workers exposed to second hand smoke on the job are 50% more likely than the general population to develop lung cancer.
No one should have to choose between their job and their health.
Indianapolis has fallen behind considering 25 states and thousands of cities and counties across the nation now have 100% smoke free workplaces that include bars and restaurants. Indianapolis has to take the lead as the Capital of our state to push for a more comprehensive smoke free policy.
As Indianapolis prepares for hosting more conventions and major sporting events wouldn’t it be great to also promote a “healthier and cleaner city” by pushing for a more comprehensive smoke free ordinance? If Indianapolis can do it, cities like Avon, Carmel, Greenfield, Greenwood, Lawrence, Speedway, Whitestown and Westfield can have a local example of strengthening an adopted smokefree ban to a more comprehensive one. We shouldn’t have to wait for a Statewide ordinance. Our city-council’s main function is to protect all citizens. Why not go with the tide of smokefree bans and ride the next big wave to a comprehensive smokefree ordinance for the city of Indianapolis? Let us join our local communities that already have comprehensive smokefree laws in Indiana – Bloomington, Cumberland, Elkhart, Franklin, Ft. Wayne, Greencastle, Hancock County, Monroe County, Plainfield, West Lafayette and Zionsville.

Aida McCammon, Ph.D, MSW
Indiana Latino Institute, Inc.

Will healthy workplace hopes go up in smoke?

Will healthy workplace hopes go up in smoke?

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A new research study released yesterday quantifies the poor indoor air quality due to secondhand smoke in smoking-permitted hospitality venues that were exempt from the current Indianapolis law compared with similar hospitality establishments that were required to be smokefree by law.

The research demonstrates the disparity in indoor air quality that exists for those workers not protected from secondhand smoke under the present Indianapolis ordinance.

You can find the full study and executive summary at: http://www.smokefreeindy.com/news/fact-sheets/.

Matthew Tully: Ballard must emerge from haze of smoking debate | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

Another great column by Tully:

Matthew Tully: Ballard must emerge from haze of smoking debate IndyStar.com The Indianapolis Star

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Smoke Free Indy Calls on City-County Council to Adopt Comprehensive Measure

INDIANAPOLIS – Amid the backdrop of a now smoke-free stage at a downtown Indianapolis nightclub, results of an air quality study were announced that revealed the level of indoor air pollution is 11 times higher in Indianapolis venues that permit smoking compared to smoke-free establishments.

The study, conducted in March 2009, measured indoor air quality in 10 workplaces in Indianapolis, including bars, restaurants, nightclubs and off-track betting sites. Each of the locations allows smoking indoors.

“The findings of this study reveal that the level of fine particulate air pollution is very unhealthy. In fact, this level of pollution is 11 times higher than smoke-free venues, and 12 times higher than outdoor pollution levels in Marion County,” said Tim Filler, a spokesperson for Smoke Free Indy. “The data clearly shows the disparity in the air we breathe in workplaces in Indianapolis. Workers who are not protected from secondhand smoke by the current law, like bar and nightclub employees, have their health jeopardized every day, while many other Indianapolis workers breathe freely in smoke-free workplaces…everyone deserves the same protection from on-the-job exposure to secondhand smoke.”

The results come as the Indianapolis City-County Council considers a comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance that would include all workplaces, including bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and membership clubs.

The study, completed by Buffalo, N.Y.-based Roswell Park Cancer Institute, also indicated that employees in the Indianapolis venues that permitted smoking were exposed to levels of air pollution three times higher than safe annual levels, as established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This was due solely to their occupational exposure to tobacco smoke.

The concentration of fine particulate air pollution, PM2.5 was measured with a TSI SidePak AM510 Personal Aerosol Monitor. The unit captures particulate matter in the air smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. Particulates of this size are often released in significant amounts from burning cigarettes, are easily inhaled deep into the lungs, and
are known to cause a variety of adverse health effects, including cardiovascular and respiratory morbidity and death.

“As a physician, concerned with the health of my patients, it is imperative that the public be made of aware of these risks and that we do everything we can to create an environment where people don't have to worry about being exposed to secondhand smoke,” said Christopher Doehring, M.D., a family physician.

In terms of the work environment, the owner of Crackers Comedy Club, Ruth-Anne Bunting, says the difference is “night and day” in terms of the effect that a smoke-free club atmosphere is having on patrons and employees.

“I'm not losing anything in the way of business because of this decision and what's more, our patrons don't have to worry about going home selling like smoke and, even better, our employees don't feel as though they have to compromise their health for a paycheck, added Bunting.

For John Page, another of Bunting’s employees, the job of earning a living is now much easier.

“Just knowing that I don't have to go into work and face all that smoke is a relief…it leaves me looking forward to doing an even better job of serving our customers,” explained Page, who works as the club’s manager.

Under the direction of Miranda Spitznagle, director of program evaluation, ITPC worked in conjunction with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute to collect the data as part of the organization's ongoing evaluation efforts on the impact of smoke free air policy and secondhand smoke exposure on workers across Indianapolis and Marion County.

“This study gives us data that secondhand smoke is harming people right here in Indianapolis,” explains Spitznagle. “Rather than trying to convince people with data from faraway places outside of our state, we can now show Hoosiers the harmful effects of secondhand smoke in the exact places where they work and play.”

Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), founded in 1898, is the nation's first cancer research, treatment and education center and is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. For more information, visit RPCI’s Web site at http://www.roswellpark.org/.

# # #

Monday, October 12, 2009

IBJ Editorial

An ordinance that would ban smoking in enclosed spaces where it’s still allowed—primarily bars and bowling alleys—is once again being considered by the City-County Council. And again we urge councilors to adopt the measure.Government’s primary role is public safety. Contrary to some government regulations that overreach by protecting us from ourselves, the smoking ordinance would protect the majority non-smoking population from others—those who still engage in a habit Americans have known is dangerous for almost 50 years now.No one credibly disputes the dangers of secondhand smoke, yet it still swirls here in places of business, endangering employees and patrons. Indianapolis should join the tide of history and ban this dangerous habit as have our neighbors in places like Franklin, Plainfield and Zionsville. And when legislators convene next January, they should extend the same protection to people statewide.
To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's Official: Proposal 371!

The proposed comprehensive smoke free workplace ordinance, Proposal 371, was introduced last night before Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council, and it was assigned to the Community Affairs committee.

Proposal 371 is a proposed comprehensive smoke free workplace ordinance that makes all workplaces smoke free, including bars, bowling alleys and clubs.

The next scheduled meeting of the Community Affairs committee is next Wednesday, October 14th at 5:30pm. At this point, per standard council procedure, this committee hearing is the single planned opportunity for concerned citizens, community leaders and other important stakeholders to testify before the council and speak in support of Proposal 371. Please save the date, plan to attend, and if you want to testify send an email to info@smokefreeindy.com.

Meanwhile, this is what you can do:
- Write a letter or call your councillor and ask him to support Proposal 371 (Click here to find out who your councillor is http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Council/Councillors/Pages/home.aspx).
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper in support of smoke free workplaces.
- Go to our website (http://www.smokefreeindy.com/) and sign up to support smoke free workplaces.

New Release from the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association

Indianapolis Needs a Comprehensive Smokefree Law

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association today called on the Indianapolis City-County Council to protect the health of the entire Indianapolis workforce by enacting a comprehensive smokefree workplace ordinance.
Backed by an ever-growing coalition of supporters, Indianapolis Councilors introduced an ordinance this week to ensure healthy, smokefree workplaces county-wide, including bars and bowling alleys. This comprehensive smokefree ordinance will improve upon the current smokefree law which allows exemptions for certain businesses. Comprehensive smokefree workplace policies protect all workers from the known health hazards of secondhand smoke.
Working together with Smoke Free Indy, the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association are committed to ensuring that all workplaces are smokefree and that no worker is treated as a second class citizen when it comes to their health.
“No one should have to choose between their job and their health. All workers should have the same protection from deadly chemicals in secondhand smoke whether they work in an office or restaurant, whether they took the bar exam or are a bartender; the law should cover everyone,” said Tanya Husain, Executive Director for the American Cancer Society, Central Indiana Area Service Center.
Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It contains more than 4,000 chemicals including over 60 carcinogens, causing 35,000 – 40,000 deaths from heart disease every year, and 3,000 lung cancer deaths among otherwise healthy nonsmokers.
According to a May 2009 public opinion poll by the Survey Research Center at IUPUI, 81 percent of Marion County residents support the current smoke free law; 87 percent agree that all Indianapolis workers should be protected from secondhand smoke; 69.5 percent of Marion County resident support a law prohibiting smoking inside all workplaces, including bars, restaurants and bowling alleys.
“It’s time for Indianapolis leaders to take charge and pass a comprehensive smokefree law for the health and safety of all their citizens,” said Doug Stafford, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in Indiana. “All workers need to be protected – bartenders, servers, cooks and all the others who comprise the hospitality industry deserve the same protection from the harmful toxins in secondhand smoke responsible for thousands of deaths each year.”
Smokefree policies protect our most vulnerable citizens. A comprehensive policy would enable children, the elderly, and people with certain health conditions to enjoy establishments and venues in this city without putting their health at risk. Nonsmoking sections and ventilation systems, on the other hand, don’t eliminate exposure, as even the best ventilators are incapable of removing the free-floating poisons of secondhand smoke.
Smokefree policies benefit not only the health of non-smoking workers, but they also decrease absenteeism among all employees, as well as reduce housekeeping and maintenance costs, lower insurance rates and result in fewer smoking-related fires. A number of economic studies show that comprehensive smokefree workplace laws have a positive impact on business.
Currently, nine Indiana cities (including Franklin, Plainfield and Zionsville) and two Indiana counties (Hancock and Monroe) have smokefree laws that cover all workplaces including bars and restaurants.

# # #
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

About the American Heart Association
Founded in 1924, we're the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases -- America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers -- we fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit http://www.americanheart.org/.

About the American Lung Association
For over 100 years, the American Lung Association has been the lead organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air.” For more information about the American Lung Association call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to http://www.lungusa.org/.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tougher ban is blow for health | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

In today’s edition, the Indianapolis Star editorial board endorsed a comprehensive smoke free workplace law for Indianapolis that covers all workplaces, including bars, bowling alleys and membership clubs [see link for full editorial below].

Thanks to the Star for this well-written and well-reasoned editorial supporting our campaign to protect all workers from on-the-job exposure to secondhand smoke.

The Indianapolis-Marion County City Council will begin consideration of Proposal 371, the proposed comprehensive smoke free workplace ordinance, tonight as the Proposal 371 will have first reading and be assigned to a committee tonight. This introduction tonight officially begins the formal council phase of the smoke free campaign we have been working on in Indianapolis for all these months and years.

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days and weeks.

Tougher ban is blow for health IndyStar.com The Indianapolis Star

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Matthew Tully: Passing a no-exemptions smoking ban is the right thing to do | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

Matthew Tully: Passing a no-exemptions smoking ban is the right thing to do IndyStar.com The Indianapolis Star

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

The time has FINALLY come!!!

The time has FINALLY come!!! On Monday night, October 5, the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council will have the first reading of a COMPREHENSIVE smokefree workplace law that would cover ALL workplaces, including bars.

This is something we have been working toward for many years! Thanks in advance for your continued patience, support and commitment to saving lives in Indianapolis!

No one should have to choose between their job and their health. Everyone has the right to breathe smokefree air.

Smoke Free Indy’s Statement on Proposed Comprehensive Smokefree Workplace Ordinance for Indianapolis

Smoke Free Indy supports the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council’s decision to move forward with a comprehensive smoke free ordinance to protect all workers from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Smoke Free Indy applauds Councillors Benjamin Hunter and Angela Mansfield and our other smoke free air champions on the council for their strong leadership in protecting the health of workers in Marion County. Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease and other serious health hazards. It is not just a mere annoyance. No one should have to choose between their jobs and their health.

Comprehensive smoke free workplace ordinances prevent disease and death and improve the economic development climate by reducing preventable health care costs. Furthermore 70 percent of Marion County residents support expanding the Indianapolis ordinance to include ALL workplaces, including bars.

It is time for Marion County to join many communities in Indiana and thousands around the world that have enacted a comprehensive smoke free ordinance that covers all workplaces.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How to Reduce Heart Attacks

A new study released today in the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association reports that heart attack rates decrease after passing smoke free air laws. The study analyzed the results from 13 studies in 5 countries in which heart attacks rates were found to decrease by an average of 17% the first year and as much as 36% within three years of passing a smoke free air law.

Another study also released today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, analyzed 11 reports from 10 locations, including Indiana, and found that heart attacks decreased 17% overall all and then decreased by 26% each year after.

These two studies highlight the importance of passing smoke free air laws, not only because they improve the health of workers, but also because they improve the health of the overall community. Now is the time for Indianapolis to join the rest of the nation by passing such an important public health policy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Westfield Going Smoke Free

The City of Westfield passed a smoke free ordinance last night that covers all workplaces with the exception of those that only allow patrons over 21 and private clubs. This is a good step forward for a city that previously had no secondhand smoke protection for their workers. Hopefully it will not be too long before they take the next step to protect all workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. The Westfield ordinance goes into effect on October 14th.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Smoke Free Comedy Now Available

Good news, all comedy clubs in Indianapolis are now SMOKE FREE!
Last night Crackers Comedy Club (both locations) went smoke free. You can visit the Broad Ripple location this weekend and see David Alan Grier of In Living Color and other fame. Morty's Comedy club went smoke free on August 1st, and word is that business is going well.

Now we just need an ordinance for all the other businesses that have not seen the light requiring them to go smoke free.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Big Tobacco at Rib America

If you attended the Rib America Festival at Military Park last weekend you were sure to see big tobacco present; there was a Longhorn spit tobacco booth, a Copenhagen spit tobacco booth and a Camel booth. The Copenhagen booth was the first booth at the West St. entrance and had an attractive lady luring people into the booth. Camel was over a little further with around 20 attractive young ladies and a large RV with their logo all over it. The Longhorn booth was over by the Canal, but was still in a very noticeable location. So you can imagine my surprise when I strolled in with my baby and husband to an event that I thought was family friendly only to see that the first booth was promoting a deadly product that kills 53,000 Americans every year. To say that I believe it is irresponsible for the festival to cater to families, music fans and meat lovers and still allow big tobacco to give out their deadly products is an understatement.

Here is all the FREE tobacco that we rounded up simply by visiting the various tobacco booths.

If you ever wonder why it is so hard for people to quit or why young people start smoking at all when we all know the health warnings, it is because of practices like this. Big tobacco attends events in which they are able to freely hand out their product (you did have to be 18 to get the products and say you want to use tobacco) in order to maintain their current client base and to hook new people. They are also present at many of our local bars every weekend handing out free cigarettes, and they give money to our local decision makers to lobby for their own interests. Tobacco companies out spend public health dollars millions to one every single year. It will be up to all of us to say that it is not OK for the companies to continue to addict individuals and to hook our youth in order for this to stop. Next time you are somewhere and you see big tobacco with their 'free' tobacco please tell the owner that you don't want to see it happen anymore and that its not the responsible thing to do.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Where can you find pregnant smokers?

Why here in Indiana of course!

A report, released August 15th by the Prenatal Substance Abuse Commission (PSAC), indicated that an estimated 20 percent of women used tobacco while pregnant; ranking Indiana seventh highest in the nation among all 50 states. That's nearly 18,000 babies that are born in Indiana to mothers who smoke. These babies are more likely to suffer from SIDS, to be born premature, have low birth weights and other health problems.

The Indiana Tobacco Quitline offers a specially designed free counselling service deigned for pregnant smokers. Included as part of the program is a series of up to 10 phone calls that are completed with the mother both during – and after – the term of pregnancy is completed. Quit coaches are specifically empathetic to the mother’s needs and they help make sure they have the right support network as part of the treatment services. For this service expectant mothers can call 1-800-Quit-Now (784-8669).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

FDA Warns Against E-Cigarettes

In July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers about the use of e-cigarettes because they contain chemicals harmful to humans. E-cigarettes have become popular within the last couple years as a 'safer' alternative to cigarettes and are being sold online and in shopping malls. Through analysis of their ingredients the FDA has found that the e-cigarettes have traces of diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans, and in several other samples, the FDA analyses detected carcinogens, including nitrosamines. E-cigarettes also contain nicotine, the addictive substance found in traditional tobacco products. These new electronic cigarettes could increase a persons addiction to nicotine and could lead to addiction in young people.

The FDA is looking into regulating or banning these products because they do not contain health warnings found on cigarettes and because they contain harmful chemicals. Currently there is a pending lawsuit in Oregon against a Florida e-cigarette maker claiming that they target children with their fruit and other flavorings. The countries of Hong Kong and Finland have banned them outright and Canada is halted all sales until further testing is complete.

It will be interesting to watch what does happen with e-cigarettes whether they become banned outright or are added to the FDA's regulation of products. It can be said that all products that contain nicotine are addictive and harmful to people who use them.

Monday, August 31, 2009

How Many People Will Die From Tobacco Next Year? A Whole Lot..

The World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society released their annual Tobacco Atlas last week in which they found that 6 million people worldwide will die from tobacco related causes (cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other diseases.)

Some of the other findings from the report include:
* 1 billion men smoke -- 35 percent of men in rich countries and 50 percent of men in developing countries.
* About 250 million women smoke daily -- 22 percent of women in developed countries and 9 percent of women in developing countries.
* The risk of dying from lung cancer is more than 23 times higher for men who smoke than for nonsmokers and 13 times higher for women smokers.
* Tobacco kills one-third to one-half of those who smoke. Smokers die an average of 15 years earlier than nonsmokers.
* Tobacco use will eventually kill 250 million of today's teenagers and children.
* Nearly one-quarter of young people who smoke tried their first cigarette before the age of 10.
* Occupational exposure to secondhand smoke kills 200,000 workers every year.
* Tobacco use costs the global economy $500 billion a year in direct medical expenses, lost productivity and environmental harm.
* "One hundred million people were killed by tobacco in the 20th century. Unless effective measures are implemented to prevent young people from smoking and to help current smokers quit, tobacco will kill 1 billion people in the 21st century," the report predicts.

Lets hope that the FDA's regulation of the tobacco industry will help combat the impact tobacco has on the American people. These devastating statistic also highlight the need for tobacco prevention funding and smoke free air policies in Indiana

If you don't want to be one of these statistics and want to quit smoking call 1-800-Quit-Now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Indiana Legislators Tied to Casino Lobbyists

According to a study released yesterday by the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Foundation casino lobbyists spent a significant amount of money on Indiana legislators during the past two legislative sessions. The study draws a direct correlation between dollars spent by the industry and the unwillingness of Indiana lawmakers to pass a comprehensive smoke free air law that includes casinos. The study found:

BIG LOBBYING EXPENDITURES: Gaming interests reported more than $3.6 million in lobbying expenditures between May 1, 2007 and April 30, 2009, according to public records online.

BIG POLITICAL PARTY DONATIONS: Major state political party committees and legislative caucus committees took in more than $228,000 in donations from people employed by lobbying firms that represent Indiana casinos and horse tracks in 2008.

BIG DONATIONS TO A KEY PLAYER: House Speaker Patrick Bauer’s reelection campaign received at least $60,000 in donations in 2008 from horse racing industry supporters, individuals employed by lobbying firms for casinos and affiliated contributors, including $39,000 on a single day.

Hopefully during the next legislative session legislators will be able to see beyond lobbying dollars to pass a strong public health law in which all Indiana businesses are smoke free, including casinos..

Friday, July 31, 2009

News Release: Talbott Street and Gregs are going smoke free

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – More and more businesses in Indianapolis are not waiting on the City-County Council to protect all workers from secondhand smoke. Talbott Street and Gregs, two of the most popular LGBT bars in Indianapolis, are going smoke free this Saturday, August 1st.

Tobacco is a major issue in the LGBT community. LGBT adults and youth have roughly 40 percent to 70 percent higher smoking rates than the general population; and bartenders and servers in LGBT oriented nightclubs are disproportionately exposed to secondhand smoke.

To Michael Strapulos, Talbott Street’s owner, health was a major factor in his decision.

“I want to provide a safe, clean, and healthy environment for my Talbott Sreet family and our guests,” Strapulos said.

According to Gregs’ owner, Phil Denton, the idea to go smoke free was brought up by his employees who repeatedly came across customers’ complaints about the cigarette smoke. He decided to survey his customers to get feedback on making the bar smoke free.

“There were a lot of positive comments, not mentioning the countless thank you emails,” Denton said. “It’s an important decision and we are all very excited.”

Gregs’ survey showed that 73 percent of the respondents answered “yes” to the question: “Should Gregs be smoke free?” and the great majority said they would frequent the bar more or as often if it was smoke free.

In fact results from a recent public opinion poll of Marion County residents conducted by the Survey Research Center at IUPUI show similar results. Over two thirds (69.5 percent) of adults in Marion County would support an ordinance in Indianapolis prohibiting smoking in all workplaces including restaurants, bars, and bowling alleys.

Indianapolis’ current smoke free ordinance, which went into effect in March 1, 2006, prohibits smoking in public workplaces and places of employment with some exceptions. Workplaces not covered by the law include bars or taverns that do not allow anyone under 18, bowling alleys, and private clubs with liquor licenses.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Indy Star Column: Smoking Prevention takes big new hit in budget

Thanks to Matthew Tully of the Indianapolis Star for another great column:

Smoking prevention takes big hit in new budget

By definition, bottom-line budget decisions are usually regrettable. That's because they're often made with short-term goals in mind, regardless of long-term consequences.

Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indiana lawmakers made one such decision in the closing days of this year's legislative session: They took a whack out of the state's well-respected but perpetually underfunded anti-smoking program. The decision to slash spending on the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation program was not surprising; plenty of other programs took hits this year. But the size of the cut -- roughly 33 percent -- stunned many working hard to reduce the state's smoking rate.

"It's a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the state budget," Aaron Doeppers, Midwest director for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said of the $5.35 million cut. "But it's a huge amount of money for tobacco prevention.

"I don't understand it."

How could he?

The state in recent years has actually taken a number of steps suggesting it was finally getting serious about anti-smoking efforts. The governor pushed through a major cigarette tax increase in 2007, many local communities have adopted no-smoking ordinances, and a new report shows a significant drop in the rate of smoking by Indiana youths.

Meanwhile, Daniels and lawmakers had been in agreement earlier in the year: The anti-smoking program's spending, which comes mainly from the 1998 tobacco settlement, would be cut by about 10 percent -- from $16.2 million to $14.5 million. That cut was big, but still similar to those other programs faced.

"We understood," Doeppers said. "You have to take your lumps and say, 'We're willing to go along with this just like everybody else.' "

As lawmakers moved into a special session, though, the anti-smoking program took a uniquely large hit -- down to $10.85 million. While that is the same amount the state spent on anti-smoking programs in 2007, it is a drop from the past two years and woefully short of the $32 million the program received in its earliest years. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the way, recommends Indiana spend more than $30 million on the program.

Facing cuts, the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (ITPC) board will gather Thursday to craft a vastly scaled-down spending plan. The impact will be felt by those struggling to give up their cigarettes, and those trying to help them. Spending on the state's successful Tobacco Quitline -- (800) 784-8669 -- will take a bruising. Meanwhile, much-needed grants for local groups throughout the state, many of which finance campaigns aimed at children, will be hit hard.

Karla Sneegas, ITPC's executive director, said the cuts to the Quitline will be particularly painful. With a recent increase in the federal cigarette tax, the line has seen a four-fold increase in the number of calls from wannabe quitters. The hotline will continue, she said, but her group will not be able to advertise it.

Because of that, "there won't be nearly as many smokers that will find out about it," Sneegas said.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Monroe, who has been a strong supporter of efforts to reduce smoking, hopes recent steps taken by the federal government will blunt the impact of the state spending cuts.

Let's hope she's right.

But why take a chance on losing momentum? With more and more smokers trying to quit because of tax increases, and in the wake of news that youth smoking rates are improving, this would be a perfect time to beef up anti-smoking programs.

Regrettably, Indiana is heading in the opposite direction.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Surgeon General of the United States

Alabama Physician Chosen as Surgeon General

By Gardiner Harris

Bill Starling/The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, via Associated Press Dr. Regina Benjamin

President Barack Obama has selected Dr. Regina Benjamin, an Alabama family physician, as the U.S. surgeon general, two administration officials said on Monday.

Mr. Obama will announce his selection officially at a Rose Garden ceremony at 11:40 a.m.

An African-American, Dr. Benjamin is nationally known for establishing a rural health clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala. — a small shrimping village along the Gulf Coast. Hurricana Katrina destroyed the clinic in 2005, and then when it was rebuilt, the clinic burned down on the eve of re-opening.

In 2002, she became the president of the Alabama Medical Association, making her the first African-American woman to be president of a state medical society in the United States. In September, she was one of 25 recipients of the $500,000 “genius awards,” awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

She completed her residency in family medicine at the Medical Center of Central Georgia. She is a graduate of Xavier University, Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

The titular head of the U.S. Public Health Service, the surgeon general is a largely ceremonial post used by numerous administrations to communicate important health messages to the public. The office itself has only a handful of staff and must rely for research and support on the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the uniform of the surgeon general invests its wearer with credibility in the public’s eyes and has often led the wearer to distance themselves from the political priorities of the administration.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Save The Date: Baseball, Burgers and Business Cards

Are you a young professional in Indianapolis? Then come check out Young Professionals Unite '09, a night of baseball, burgers and business cards. An awesome opportunity to network other community minded young pro's in Indianapolis. Get your tickets now as there are a limited amount! Oh yeah, Victory Field is smoke free!


Where: Victory Field
Date: August 6th, 2009
Time: Unlimited networking, food and beer from 5:30-7:00pm. Game starts at 7pm.
Ticket Includes: Unlimited food and beer (until 7pm), networking event, door prizes, ticket to game. First 200 tickets going for $20-after that $25
Click Here to order your tickets!

Please submit all questions to young.pros.unite@gmail.com

Again, space is limited and all tickets must be purchased by July 17th.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Indianapolis Business Journal: Clean Air Strategy

Check out the story below that ran in the Indianapolis Business Journal regarding establishments going "smoke free" on their own.

In order for a place to be smoke free, it needs to be smoke free 100% of the time. Not just during lunch, or before 10pm.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another Event!

Are you a bartender? Own a bar? Manage a bar or nightclub? Or a smoke free advocate? If so, you need to come to this forum on the economic impact of smoke free bars. One of the most well respected researchers in the field will be speaking along with a guest panel of experts as well. All are welcome. E-mail info@smokefreeindy.com with questions.

Sorry fot the Hiatus-2 New Awesome Events Coming Up!

Hi Everyone. Sorry for the long delay. We lost our main blogger to maternity leave, so I'll try and keep up as well as she did. Anyways. See the picture for details on this awesome event we have coming up. Hope you can make it!

Questions? info@smokefreeindy.com