Monday, November 2, 2009

The 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.

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