Monday, March 30, 2009

Monroe County Bans Smoking in Cars

Last Friday (3/27), the Monroe County Commissioners banned smoking in cars with kids younger than 14 years old. If someone is caught smoking with a child they will face a $100 fine. This ban only covers the unincorporated areas of the county, or 39% of the county's population. The county health board does plan on working with the incorporated areas of the county to pass similar laws.

This law will be enforced in correlation to another violation and not on its own. So if you are in Monroe and are speeding and smoking with a child you will get two fines, but you would not get pulled over just for smoking.

Monroe County now joins many other municipalities and states that have banned smoking in cars including California, Maine, Virginia and North Dakota along with others.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fix It OR Kill It

'Fix it or Kill it' is now the mantra for HB 1213 from many statewide organizations working on passing a smoke free air law in Indiana. The current version of HB 1213 has exemptions for casinos, bars, private clubs, nursing homes, and in home businesses. These exemptions do not protect all workers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke on the job. The bill is currently waiting to be heard in the Senate Commerce, Public Policy and Interstate Cooperation committee. Recent news reports have had Senators Alting and Dillon talking about not even allowing the bill to be heard due to the lack of support for its current version. Having the bill not be heard is not a bad thing, it would prevent a weaker version from being passed and then taking years for Indiana to finally pass a comprehensive law.

So there is still time to contact your Senator or a member of the Commerce committee with the message fix HB 1213 back to its compressive smoke free version in which all businesses are covered or kill it and we will try to get something passed next year.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kick Butts Day

Today is Kick Butts Day, a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak up and take action against Big Tobacco. Tonight at 6:00 p.m. at the United Artists movie theater at Circle Center Mall, 49 W. Maryland St., local Voice youth will be holding a demonstration to protest smoking in G, PG and PG-13 movies. To learn more about smoking in movies visit Smoke Free Movies.

Also as a part of the Kick Butts Day celebration the VOICE movement is planning two
other events: on March 27th, youth ages 13 to 18 are invited to attend a March Madness Lockin
from 10p.m. to 7a.m. at Snapperz & Sports of all Sorts, located at 6002 Sunnyside Road,
Indianapolis. On March 28th, kids who bring a tobacco advertisement or wear VOICE gear
will get in FREE at the Kick Butts Day Skateland Celebration, which will take place from 2p.m. to
6p.m., at the Skateland Roller Skating Center, located at 3902 Glen Arm Rd, Indianapolis.

Today also marks the first day for Hancock County to be completely smoke free. So take a moment to drive across the line to visit one their now smoke free bars, bowling alleys or private clubs!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IU Center for Health Policy's Secondhand Smoke Policy Brief

Today the IU Center for Health Policy released a policy brief "Smokefree Workplace Laws Save Lives and Money Without Hurting Business" highlighting the impact smoke free air laws have on the state of Indiana and across the nation.
Through a review of many scientific reports and studies the Center was able to determine that:
  • Smokefree workplace laws do not have a negative economic impact on restaurants and bars.
  • While secondhand smoke has been definitively linked to many kinds of health problems, the most significant health consequence related to secondhand smoke is death.
  • Servers, bartenders, dealers and other workers in restaurants, bars and casinos may regularly be exposed to high levels of secondhand smoke.
  • Smokefree workplace laws do not hurt casino business.
  • Smokefree workplaces save employers money.
  • Secondhand smoke exposure costs Indiana money.
  • Hoosiers support smokefree workplaces.

Eric Wright, PhD, Director of Indiana University’s Center for Health Policy and Associate Dean of IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, will join leaders of Smoke Free Indy for a media availability tonight at 5:30pm to discuss this policy brief which shows comprehensive smokefree workplace laws do not result in negative economic impact to the hospitality industry.

WHAT: Media Availability…
Dr. Eric Wright, Director, IU Center for Health Policy
Associate Dean, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Smoke Free Indy Leaders and Spokespeople

WHERE: Knall Room, Marion County Central Library
40 E. St. Clair St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

WHEN: Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 at 5:30p.m.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bruce Hetrick Article

In this week's Indianapolis Business Journal, Bruce Hetrick writes a great article on the new Indiana Live Casino. Hetrick visited the casino recently and found that he could only stay for twenty minutes before leaving due to the intense smoke filled air. If he could only stay for twenty minutes, imagine what it would be like to work there 40 hours a week? Many individuals who work in a casino love what they do, and with this economy are grateful to have a good paying job, but imagine doing that year after year in the haze of smoke, it would probably stop being so great after awhile. His article points to the reason why everywhere should be smoke free, because of the people who work there and because secondhand smoke is harmful to everyones health.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Saint Patrick's Day

Last Saturday, March 14th, Smoke Free Indy sponsored the Shamrock Run and Walk in downtown Indianapolis. The event was a great success with thousands of Indianapolis walkers and runners participating in the event. It was also a great opportunity for us to talk to Indianapolis citizens about the importance of smoke free workplaces.

Tomorrow, March 17th, we will be participating in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Look for us to be parade unit number 38. The parade kicks off at 11:30 at Pennsylvania and North Streets. If you work downtown or find yourself downtown come out to the parade to get your Smoke Free Indy green beads!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cigarettes Getting More Expensive

On February 4th President Obama signed into legislation a $.61 federal cigarette tax increase to expand the coverage of the SCHIP children insurance program. The new tax increase will take effect on April 1st.

But many cigarette companies are already raising their prices ahead of the April 1st deadline. This week Phillip Morris raised their price per pack by $.71, $.10 above the federal increase. This price increase is in addition to the $.09 price increase the company implemented in February of this year. This new increase brings the price of Marlboros in Indiana to $5.05 up from $4.25 per pack. Channel 6, the Indy Channel, has a good report about Hoosiers responses to this new increase:

Raising cigarette taxes is a good thing, studies have shown that when the price increases more individuals quit smoking because it becomes too expensive, especially in this economy. Studies have also shown that when cigarettes cost more fewer youth are likely to start smoking because they become too expensive for them.

So, has the new prices motivated you to quit? If so, call 1-800-Quit-N0w (1-800-784-8669) for two weeks of free patch or gum and free telephone counselling. You can also check out the Smoke Free Indy Cessation Resource page for a list of local quit smoking classes and providers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

South Dakota to Go Smoke Free

Yesterday South Dakota's House passed a bill 46 to 23 to make all workplaces in the state smoke free including bars and restaurants. The bill now goes to Governor Rounds for his signature. The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2009. South Dakota now joins the many other states and municipalities that have passed smoke free air laws. Hopefully some day soon Indiana will also be among this list.

Monday, March 9, 2009


HB1213 has been assigned to the Senate Commerce, Public Policy and Interstate Cooperation committee. The bill may be heard this week in committee, it's to be determined what the committees calendar will entail.

There is still time for you to contact your Senator asking them to return HB1213 to its original comprehensive state covering all workplaces. Please also ask them to make sure that preemption is not included back into the bill, we want to maintain local control. While contacting your Senator please also consider contacting members of the Commerce Committee with the same message.

We will keep you updated on what happens to the bill in committee.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Faith Leaders Hold Rally

Yesterday members of the Hoosier Faith & Health Coalition held a rally at the Indiana Statehouse to ask for the state legislator to pass a comprehensive smoke free air bill. The coalition is made of faith and community leaders from around Indiana.

Here is an article in the Star about the event:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another Reason to Go Smoke Free

As if we need yet another reason why Indianapolis should go smoke free, but just in case you do here is one:

Last week the city of Houston released results of a study that analyzed the impact its comprehensive smoke free air law had on its bars and restaurants two-years after the law went to effect. The study found that there was no economic impact on its either bars or restaurants, revenues remained stable. Houston now joins the many other cities that have not experienced a negative economic impact by going smoke free; Plainfiled, IN, New York City, Boston, Lexington, KY, the state of California, the state of Minnesota along with many others.

Houston, TX is twice the size of Indianapolis, so if they can go smoke free and experienced no economic impact, don't you think it would be the same in Indianapolis?