Friday, February 20, 2009

Plainfield's Tax Revenue Increases

The Indianapolis Star reported yesterday that restaurant and bar revenue in Plainfield increased after the passage of their comprehensive smoke free air law. Revenues increased from $722,000 in 2006 to $819,900 last year. This is further proof that smoke free air laws do not harm businesses, instead they serve as an actual benefit. Yet another reason why Indianapolis should also pass a comprehensive law; businesses will not be impacted.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Got Tickets to the Vogue? It's Now Smoke Free.

The Indianapolis Star reported yesterday that the Vogue Theater will go smoke free for all ticketed shows after many requests made by artists and patrons. This is a good first step, but now that they realize that people do want smoke free venues they should just make the decision to go smoke free all of the time.

So the next time you are at the Vogue thank them for their new policy, but suggest that they make it permanent.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


HB1213 passed out of the House of Representatives yesterday with a vote of 70-26. The bill now moves to the Senate where it will hopefully be strengthen back to its original comprehensive form.
Here is are the exemptions currently in HB1213:
  1. A private residence, except when used as a licensed child care, adult day care, or health care facility. (so you can smoke after the kiddies leave for the day)
  2. A family owned and operated business in which all employees are related to the owner, but only if the enclosed areas of the business are not open to the public.
  3. The place of business of a self-employed individual in which all employees are related to the self-employed individual, but only if the enclosed areas of the place of business are not open to the public.
  4. A hotel or motel room: as long as not more than twenty percent of the rooms rented to guests in the hotel or motel are designated as smoking rooms.
  5. A retail tobacco store.
  6. A vehicle used by an employee while in the service of an employer if the vehicle is occupied only by that employee. (so your co-worker can smoke in there right before its your turn to take the truck)
  7. A tobacco bar.
  8. (Bar) A licensed premises (as defined in IC 7.1-1-3-20) that: (A) holds a beer, liquor, or wine retailer's permit; (B) permits no individual to enter at any time who is less than eighteen (18) years of age; (C) employs no individual less than eighteen (18) years of age; (D) is not located in a business that would otherwise be subject to this chapter; and (E) has provided notice to the local health department as part of its annual application for a retail food establishment license that: (i) it intends to permit smoking; (ii) it intends to serve only customers who are at least eighteen (18) years of age; and (iii) the establishment is otherwise entitled to an exemption under this section.
  9. (Private Club) A business that: (A) is exempt from federal income taxation under 26 U.S.C. 501(c); (B) is a club (as defined in IC 7.1-3-20-1) or a fraternal club (as defined in IC 7.1-3-20-7); (C) holds a beer, liquor, or wine retailer's permit; and (D) provides food or alcoholic beverages only to its bona fide members and their guests.
  10. (Casino) The premises of any of the following: (A) A horse racing facility that is operated under a permit issued under IC 4-31-5. (B) A riverboat (as defined by IC 4-33-2-17) that is operated under a license issued under IC 4-33-6 or a contract as an operating agent under IC 4-33-6.5. (C) A facility that operates under a gambling game license
    under IC 4-35-5. (D) A satellite facility that is licensed under IC 4-31-5.5.
  11. (Nursing Home) If a health facility that is licensed by IC 16-28 chooses to provide a smoking area, a separately enclosed designated smoking area in the health facility.

So after all that what would be covered? All other businesses such as factories, law offices, accounting firms, restaurants, coffee shops and other enclosed public spaces (not that an enclosed space is defined.) The law would go into effect on July 1, 2009. This law is basically the Indianapolis law with the inclusion of casinos, and as you know we want to strengthen the Indianapolis law to cover all workers. Which is the same thing we would want to happen for the entire state.

So please contact your Senator and ask them to strengthen the current bill to be comprehensive, passing this law is not effective public health policy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hb1213 Update

Yesterday the House of Representatives passed HB1213 on the second reading. But before they passed the bill they did amend the current version to remove language that would preempt local municipalities from passing stronger laws. Removing this language is a good thing, but the current law still allows workers to be exposed to the deadly toxins in secondhand smoke. There will be a fourth reading sometime this week to pass the bill out of the House.

There is still time to contact your Representative to ask for HB1213 to be amended back to its comprehensive version to make all workplaces smoke free.

Smoke Free Town Hall

The Smoke Free Indy Town Hall hosted in partnership with Councillor Kent Smith last night was a great success with an excellent panel of local concerned citizens speaking out about the importance of making Indianapolis completely smoke free. The panel included Tim Filler of Smoke Free Indy, former councillor and Marion County Assessor Greg Bowes, respiratory therapist Deborah Hudson, nurse practitioner Marcia Plant-Jackson, IBE CEO Tanya Bell and it was moderated by Tony Lamont. The room was packed with about 50 people in attendance all wanting to hear about making Indianapolis smoke free.

Councillor Smith plans on hosting two other town halls in the future on the subject. Word is that the next one will be hosted by individuals who do not want to pass good public health policy in Indianapolis and instead want to leave workers exposed to deadly secondhand smoke. Once we have a date and place for this town hall we will let you know so you can attend in support of making all Indianapolis workplaces smoke free.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Smoke Free Indy Town Hall

Smoke Free Indy and Councillor Kent Smith invite you to a town hall meeting to discuss a comprehensive smoke free air ordinance that would cover all workplaces in Indianapolis including bars, bowling alleys and membership clubs. All are welcome. Elected officials will be present. Come show your support!

Some details:
When: Monday, February 16th, 2009
Where: Irvington Branch Library
5625 E. Washington Street
Time: 5:30pm-7:30

Please wear your green Smoke Free Indy T-shirt. If you plan on attending and do not have a shirt, please e-mail with your name and shirt size. Let’s pack the house!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

HB1213 Update

Today the House of Representatives Public Policy committee voted to move HB1213 to the full House of Representatives. But before they made that decision they added a series of anti-public health exemptions to the bill.
The exemptions include:
--Hotel rooms designated for smoking.
--Tobacco stores.
--A tobacco bar.
--Private clubs.
--Bars who have no customers or workers under 18.
--Casinos, although they would be required to have a least 20 percent of gaming positions designated as non-smoking.

The bill also includes preemption language that would prevent a local entity such as Indianapolis from passing a stronger law.

Smoke free air laws are about the health of the worker, no one should have to choose between their health or their job. But with this new version of the bill they are essentially making Indiana workers choose to earn a living doing something they enjoy (bartending, casino dealer, waitress, etc.) or their health. Most white collar workers in Indiana already work in healthy smoke free environment, why should we force some to make this decision.

Please take a moment to contact your local Representative to ask them to remove these exemptions and to make all places in Indiana smoke free.

Also in today's Indianapolis Star, Sheri Rudavsky did a good job analyzing why smoke free air laws to do not hurt businesses economically.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Statewide Smoke Free Air Action

Last week's hearing in support of making the entire state smoke free was a huge success with smoke free air supporters filling two hours worth of testimony in support of HB1213. There were so many supporters that a number of people did not get to testify because they ran out of time. There was also a lot of great publicity in support of passing the statewide bill:

Tomorrow the Indiana House of Representatives Public Policy Committee will vote on whether or not to move the bill out of committee into the full House for a vote. You can contact a committee member in support of HB 1213 by clicking here.

Stay tuned for the outcome of HB1213.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Secondhand Smoke is Costly For Hoosiers

A new study published by the Bowen Research Center at the IU School of Medicine yesterday found that secondhand smoke costs Hoosiers $390 million in health care costs and premature loss of life and kills 1,194 annually. These are staggering figure that cannot be ignored. It is now time for the Indiana and Indianapolis to pass smoke free air laws that cover all workplaces. The study was featured in an article in today's Indianapolis Star:

Remember if you are able to attend, there is a hearing about HB1213, the smoke free air bill, tomorrow from 9-11 at the Indiana Statehouse in the House Chambers. Be there if you care to speak out in support of making all of Indiana smoke free.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Smoke Free Indy Happy Hours: Why They're a GOOD Idea

Back in October, Smoke Free Indy started to host happy hours at local businesses that are already smoke free. We decided to do these happy hours as a way to support businesses who made the right choice by going smoke free and to bring supporters of smoke free air together for a casual mix and mingle. Contrary to some individuals belief these happy hours are not developed to show that the current law is working because we have these very few restaurants with bars that are smoke free, instead they were developed as a way to show that yes you can go to a smoke free business and have a good time, that there are a lot of individuals who prefer smoke free, and that a smoke free night out is the better choice.

Making Indianapolis smoke free is not about removing the choice of smokers to smoke, instead it is about making sure that ALL workers in Indianapolis get to work in a smoke free environment. Hospitality workers who still work in a bar, bowling alley and private club are still being exposed to over 250 cancer causing chemicals everyday and are 34% more likely to get lung cancer than individuals who work in a smoke free environments. Smoke free is not about choice, its about the right of all workers, not just white collar workers, to work in a safe, healthy and smoke free environment.