Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Indianapolis Star Editorial

Thanks to the Indianapolis Star for penning another great editorial in support of a statewide smokefree air bill. Hopefully 2011 will be the year the state legislature decides to join 23 other states by passing a smokefree air bill that protects all workers.

The 2006 U. S. Surgeon General Report, Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, identified all the reasons Indiana should pass a statewide smokefree air bill.:

1. Many millions of Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces despite substantial progress in tobacco control.
2. Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke.
3. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
4. Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
5. The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
6. Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spain Going Smoke Free

Yesterday, lawmakers in Spain passed a smoke free air law that covers all workplaces including bars, restaurants and casinos. The new law will go into effect on January 2nd. This new law falls into line with other European countries that are already smoke free including Ireland, England, Finland and Greece. This new law is expected to save thousands of lives by limiting workers exposure to secondhand smoke.

If an entire country can go smoke free, why not Indy?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quit Now Indiana Winner From Indianapolis

Back in August we told you about the Quit Now Indiana contest in which individuals who quit smoking were eligible for three cash prizes, the winners have been announced and the grand-prize winner is from Indianapolis! Steve Williams of Indianapolis, a 40-year smoker with grand-kids, was named the $2,500 winner after deciding to finally quit for his family.
Steve's success proves that even long term smokers who have been smoking for years can successfully quit. We know from the Surgeon Generals Report released last week that quitting smoking can improve a persons health even if they have been smoking for 30-40 years. If you need to quit smoking or know someone who does have them call 1-800-Quit-Now for free telephone counselling.

Governor Daniels Would Sign A Smoke Free Air Bill

In the Northwest Indiana Times, Governor Mitch Daniels today's states that he would sign-off on a smoke free air law if it crosses his desk this upcoming session. He went even further stating that he thinks that the state could pass such a law in the future and he urges the Senate to give a bill a fair hearing. This year Governor Daniels is showing more support for a statewide smoke free air law than he has in years past, which is good news for the effort to make all Indiana businesses smoke free.

For more information on the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air, the group working to get a statewide smoke free air law passed, visit their website:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New U.S. Surgeon General Report

Today, the United States Surgeon General released a report: 'How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease;' which found that cell and tissue damage happens immediately when a person is exposure to tobacco smoke. This damage changes your bodies DNA resulting in an increased chance of getting cancer and other adverse health effects. The report also found that it is a lot easier to become addicted to smoking and it is harder to quit because modern cigarettes deliver nicotine in a much more efficient manor than in years past. There is no safe cigarette, all cause harm.

There are 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke including 70 that cause cancer, this number is up from previous estimates of 5,000 chemicals and over 50 cancer causing chemicals. Smoking causes 85% of lung cancers and causes cancer in most other places in the body. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cardiovascular disease and cardiac events. Smoking can also be harmful to diabetics, pregnant women and their unborn fetuses and can cause infertility in women. Secondhand smoke can also cause SIDS in babies.

But there is good news, quitting can reduce the impact of smoking on your body. If you or someone you know needs to quit have them call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free telephone counselling.

We now know that workers are being exposed to the harmful chemicals in secondhand smoke that can lead to cancer, heart attacks and other adverse effects on the body. Indianapolis leaders should immediately take the step to protect all workers from these hazards by passing a smoke free air policy that covers all workplaces.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hospital CEO Letter in this week's IBJ

If you turn to page 15 in this week's Indianapolis Business Journal, you will see an advertisement featuring a letter from all six area hospital CEO's to Mayor Greg Ballard and the City-County Council in support of passing a smoke free air law in Indianapolis. This letter piggybacks with the Letter to the Editor from local faith leaders that appeared in the Indianapolis Star on the November 19th that also asked for a smoke free air law in Indianapolis.

How many of our city leaders and concerned citizens must speak out before our Council and Mayor finally get the message that Indianapolis wants a smoke free air policy sooner rather than later? Please take time to reach out to your Councillor, the four at-large Councillors and the Mayor to tell them you want Indianapolis to be smoke free in all businesses.

Twenty-three states and hundreds of cities have gone smoke free; Why Not Indy?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NEWS RELEASE: Local Universities Ask City Leaders to Make Indianapolis Smoke Free

Yesterday, Smoke Free Indy along with representatives from Marian University, the University of Indianapolis, Martin University, Ivy Tech Community College and IUPUI, participated in a town hall on the importance of smoke free campuses and businesses in Indianapolis.

Here is the news release from that event.


November 30, 2010

Local Universities Ask City Leaders to Make Indianapolis Smoke Free

Indianapolis – On November 30, representatives from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Community College, Marian University, Martin University and University of Indianapolis, came together to ask city leaders to make all Indianapolis’ workplaces smoke free. The meeting, which took place at the Christian Theological Seminary, highlighted the need to protect the community from the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke exposure and to bring Indianapolis up to par with other world-class cities.

Out of the 20 largest U.S. cities, Indianapolis is one of five that does not have a 100 percent smoke free air law. With the fast-growing number of cities around the nation going completely smoke free, there is no doubt of the economic and health benefits of such a law. Why it is taking Indianapolis so long, is the only question left to answer.

“The majority of our students support smoke free policies. Young adults comprise the majority of the population still exposed to secondhand smoke. We want to be able to offer our students a safe environment not only on campus, but also in the community where they work, live and play,” said Kory Vitangeli, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at University of Indianapolis.

Universities are not the only group speaking out in support of a comprehensive smoke free air law in Indianapolis. Influential business, community and faith leaders, including leaders from Indianapolis’ five hospital systems, have all voiced their support and urged our leaders to enact a smoke free air policy to protect all workers without delay.

“At Marian University, we are committed to educating the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. The ‘body’ component means a healthy lifestyle,” said Ruth Rodgers, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Marian University. “We are excited that in July 2011 we will join hundreds of college campuses across the United States in going completely tobacco free. We are excited to join other local universities in supporting the passage of a smoke free air law covering all businesses in Indianapolis.”

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. For more information visit:

Star and the IBJ Again Support Smoke Free Air Effort

Recently both the Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis Business Journal have come out in support of smoke free businesses in Indianapolis and statewide. Both publications have repeatedly shown support for passing a law that would require all businesses to be smoke free further protecting all workers from secondhand smoke.

A big thank you to the editors of both publications for their continued support and sound reasoning on this issue. Hopefully our local and state political leaders read both editorials and take their message to heart by passing a comprehensive smoke free air law covering all businesses.

There have also been several editorials recently in support of the effort to make Indy smoke free. These editorials show continued public support for passing a smoke free air law.

WHO Study on Secondhand Smoke

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO), released a study on the global impact of secondhand smoke. The study found that secondhand smoke causes 600,000 deaths annually across the globe:

Smokers are not only putting themselves at risk, but also 1.8 billion non-smokers. In 2004, 40% of children, 33% of male non-smokers and 35% of female non-smokers were exposed to SHS worldwide. This exposure led to:
379,000 deaths from ischaemic heart disease
165,000 deaths from lower respiratory infections
36,900 deaths from asthma
21,400 deaths from lung cancer

These numbers are staggering and they bring to light the need for smoke free air laws that protect all workers from the harmful impact of secondhand smoke. It also highlights why Indy and Indiana should pass a smoke free air law sooner rather than later because our workers are still being exposed to secondhand smoke.

The WHO study correlates with the study released last year by the Bowen Research Center at the
Department of Family Medicine – IU School of Medicine
, that found "Secondhand smoke costs the residents of Marion County $47.5 million dollars annually in excess medical expenses, or about $54 dollars per person each year."

As 23 states and countless cities have gone smoke free; Why Not Indy?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ACS' Great American Smokeout

Today is the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, a day dedicated to quitting smoking and raising awareness about smoke free air. If you know someone who needs to quit smoking they can call 1-800-Quit-Now, the Indiana Tobacco Quitline, for 4-weeks free counselling and 2-weeks free patch or gum. You can also check out our website for a list of local cessation providers.

Yesterday, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, released it's annual rankings of state tobacco control programs. This year Indiana is ranked 28th in the nation because we only spend $9.2 million dollars a year on tobacco prevention which is only 11.7% of what the CDC recommends for our state. Tobacco companies spend over $462 million dollars every year in Indiana to advertise their products. Indiana also receives $140 million dollars every year from the settlement with the tobacco companies but only spends 7% on tobacco prevention programs.

A new website you can checkout:
Also remember to text "smokefree" to 242-242 for Smoke Free Indy alerts.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

IBJ Article on Indiana Passing a Statewide Smokefree Air Law

This week's Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) has an article on the prospect of the Indiana Legislature passing a statewide smoke free air bill this session. Representative Charlie Brown does plan on re-introducing a bill this session that would require all businesses to be smoke free. This will be the fifth year that this type of bill has been introduced and every year we get a little closer to the actual passage of a smoke free air bill.

Without the Council taking any action in Indianapolis to strengthen our current law, it would be great if the state passed a smoke free air law that covers all workplaces to protect all workers from secondhand smoke. Currently there are 22 states that have laws covering all workplaces and bars.

Here is a map from the Americans For Nonsmokers Rights Foundation listing all the smoke free air laws across the nation. This map is from October 1st and does not include South Dakota which just passed by referendum.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Indiana Latino Institute Town Hall

On October 26th, Smoke Free Indy partners the Indiana Latino Institute, hosted a town hall for the Latino community. Below is information about their town hall.

Growth and Development of the Hispanic Community in Indianapolis
Panel Discussion with Latino Community Leaders

On Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at the Marian Center of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the Indiana Latino Institute, Inc. (ILI), in collaboration with the Latino Health Organization, organized a panel discussion of Latino community leaders with 63 participants from the community in attendance.

The objective for the panel discussion, facilitated by guest Moderator, Marco Dominguez, both in English and Spanish, was to open the lines of communication between Latino community leaders and the Latino community or those interested in or working with the Latino community regarding issues of faith, public safety, business and health, along with local and state public officials.

Fr. Michael O’Mara, St. Mary’s Church, Officer Carlos Trincado, IMPD, Ms. Veronica Guerrero, female business owner of Creaciones Guerrero, Dr. Lluvia Medina – Alivio Medical Center, topic tobacco and the Latino community, Carlos May, Latino Affairs Office of the Mayor, Angel Rivera, City-County Council Member at Large, and Damiel Lopez, Indiana Commission on Hispanic Latino Affairs.

While panelist talked about what their groups are doing, the Indiana Latino Institute, wanted to make sure they are on board with the institute’s mission. ILI wanted to educate Latino leaders on the importance of Indianapolis becoming smoke free. In the Midwest, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are all smoke free states. Why not Indianapolis? Why not Indiana?... Latinos are at high risk for health complications related to tobacco due to first hand or secondhand smoke, as 60% of the Latino community work in the service industry where many places are still not completely smoke free. It is important for Indianapolis to pass a comprehensive smoke free ordinance that covers all workers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

South Dakota Now Smoke Free

Last week voters in South Dakota passed a referendum to make all businesses in the state smoke free including bars and casinos. South Dakota now joins 28 other states that have passed policies that cover restaurants and bars. The other states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

As you can see Indiana is again falling behind the rest of the nation to protect our workers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. There will probably be a bill introduced this upcoming session to make all Indiana businesses smoke free, hopefully our legislative leaders will make the right decision by passing a strong smoke free air law in Indiana.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Day

Tomorrow is election day, remember to get out and vote! Choices you make tomorrow can impact things in Indianapolis for years to come, so please make an informed decision. Here is an election guide from WTHR to check out before you go tomorrow:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Richard Feldman, M.D. Editorial in Today's Star

Dr. Richard Feldman has an interesting and hard hitting editorial in today's Indianapolis Star on the need for Indianapolis to pass a smoke free air law in Indianapolis. In his article Dr. Feldman breaks down why we do not have a current smoke free air law, why we need one and why it is now time to pass a law. Check out the editorial for an interesting read.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Delaware County Health Board To Consider Smoke Free Air Law

The Delaware County (Muncie) Health Board is considering a county-wide smoke free air law for all businesses. If the Health Board passes an ordinance it would still have to be passed by the County Commissioners. By taking this step the Health Board is moving closer to protecting all workers in Delaware Co. from secondhand smoke. If you live in this county and want to get involved please visit the Tobacco Free Coalition of Delaware County website:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rural Indiana Wants A Smoke Free State

A new public opinion poll released by the Indiana Rural Health Association found that 66% of rural Hoosiers support a law making all workplaces, including bars, restaurants and membership clubs, smoke-free.

The survey also found that, on average, 85% of rural Hoosiers believe that workers should be protected from secondhand smoke exposure in all workplaces, with even 60% of current smokers in agreement.

The survey showed that over half (53% ) of rural adult Hoosiers would continue to eat out as often as they do now if all establishments were smoke free and 31% said they would eat out more often. Only 15% said they would eat out less. This represents a net gain of 15% in potential business.

The data was released on October 7th and was analyzed by the Survey Research Center at IUPUI.

This public opinion poll further shows support for the state legislature passing a smoke free air bill this upcoming session. To contact your state legislator in support of Indiana going completely smoke free, please go here:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lowell, IN Goes Smoke Free

Last night the Lowell Town Council passed a comprehensive smoke free air law covering all workplaces including restaurants, bars and private clubs by a vote of 4-1. The new law will go into effect January 2, 2011.

This passage is an important step towards making the entire state smoke free, by motivating other Indiana communities to follow suit. Hopefully Indianapolis will join Lowell in protecting all workers from secondhand smoke sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Smoke-free Legislation and Hospitalizations for Childhood Asthma

A recent report from the New England Journal of Medicine identified a link between childhood asthma and smoke free air laws: Smoke-free Legislation and Hospitalizations for Childhood Asthma. This report concludes that the passage of Scotland's smoke free air law in 2006 was associated with a reduction of asthma admissions by 18.2%.

This study supports the need for smoke free air laws, because:
* Studies in the U.S. have show similar effects, which are not surprising given the impact of secondhand smoke on asthma and the success of smoke-free laws in reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
* Aside from reducing kids' exposure to secondhand smoke in public places, smoke-free laws appear to prompt more people, including smokers, to make their homes smoke-free - thereby even further reducing kids' exposure to secondhand smoke.
* Strong smoke-free laws protect everybody's right to breathe clean air and protect workers and patrons from the 4000 chemicals, including more than 60 carcinogens, in secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses, including the exacerbation of childhood asthma.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Personal Story From A Former Server

Here is another moving story we got from a person who worked in a smokey bar to make ends meet.

When I was laid off my regular job last summer, I was forced to pick up a part time job in a bar to pay my bills. Every day and night the bar would fill up with patrons who smoked constantly. I used to hold my breath as I walked from one end of the place to the other. People would blow smoke right in my face as I took their orders. I would always have trouble breathing for days after each shift and have horrible headaches too. Unfortunately, it was the only work I could find, so I was forced to sacrifice my health for work. Also, people from out of state were always surprised and disgusted with the smoky atmosphere.

Every day in Indianapolis there are workers just like this forced to choose between their health and paying their bills. It's time to make all of Indianapolis smoke free for ALL workers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Study Finds That Smoking Costs Indiana $7.7 Billion Annually

A new study just released by the American Lung Association finds that smoking costs Indiana $7.7 billion annually. This amount includes workplace productivity losses of $2 billion, costs of premature death at $3 billion, and direct medical expenditures of $2.6 billion.

The report also found:
·For every dollar Indiana spends on providing tobacco cessation treatments, it has an average potential return on investment of $1.19.
·In Indiana the retail cost for a pack of cigarettes is $5.13. But the real price of a pack of cigarettes to society and to our state’s economy is $15.90 per pack.
·Indiana could save $14 Million annually by helping smokers quit.

Smoke Free Indy is, and always has been, committed to helping Indianapolis residents quit smoking to better the health of our community. If you or someone you love needs to quit smoking they can call 1-800-Quit-Now for four weeks of free telephone counseling and two-weeks free patch or gum. You can also visit our website for a list of local cessation resources. There is also a contest going on through the end of October, if someone commits smoking starting October 1st they can enter into win $2,500 through the Quit Now Indiana Contest.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CDC Calls for the Elimination of Smoking in Indoor Areas

In the September 7th Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called for the elimination of smoking in indoor areas because individuals are still being exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke has been shown to cause heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults. This release further supports the need for all workplaces in both Indianapolis and Indiana to be smoke free. Indiana is one of the last states not have a smoke free air policy, and Indianapolis is the last major city to not be smoke free who is able to pass such a policy.

Yesterday, the CDC also released a MMWR on current smoking levels of adults in the United States. Smoking rates have been going down the last few years, but at a slow pace and seem to be leveling off. Here in Indiana we did see a drop between 2008 and 2009, from 26.1% to 23.1% - the lowest it has ever been. One way to reduce smoking rates is by passing smoke free air laws, states that have comprehensive laws also have lower smoking rates than Indiana.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Health Finance Commision to Study Making Indiana Smoke Free

On Wednesday, the Health Finance Commission will study the impact of a smoke free air law on Indiana businesses. By taking this step the Commission is recognizing the possible need for a smoke free air law that covers all Indiana workers. Last Saturday, September 4th, the Indianapolis Star wrote an editorial in support of making all Indiana businesses smoke free. The Star has continually stood-up in support of smoke free laws in both Indiana and Indianapolis, hopefully this time our elected officials will listen to their sound advice.

Also in today's Star there is a Letter to the Editor from Danielle Patterson, Chair of the Indiana Campaign for Smoke Free Air coalition and with the American Heart Association. To learn more about this coalition please go here:

This upcoming legislative session will be an interesting one, and hopefully a successful one for smoke free air.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More Smoke Free Cities

The list of smoke free cities keeps adding up across the nation, further leaving Indianapolis behind.

Last week Savannah, GA, passed a smoke free air law that tightened up loopholes created by a statewide law, all businesses including bars and private clubs are now smoke free. They also require a ten-foot smoke free buffer from any entrance.

Brentwood, MO, also passed a comprehensive smoke free air law covering all businesses on August 16th.

There are also a few ballot initiatives coming up in the November election process, both Jefferson City, Mo and Pierre, SD, two capital cities, are hoping to take their cities completely smoke free through popular vote.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bismarck, ND Goes Smoke Free

Ok, so you know how we said last week that it is getting embarrassing that all these places are going smoke free leaving us behind with a law that still allows smoking in bars, bowling alleys and private clubs? Well guess what.. Another city goes smoke free before us and this time it's Bismarck, ND! On Tuesday the City Commissioners voted to strengthen their current ordinance to prohibit smoking in bars along with all other businesses. Five years ago Bismarck passed its initial ordinance which required all businesses and restaurants to be smoke free but not bars. Indianapolis also passed its current ordinance five years ago in 2005. Bismarck is also the capital city of North Dakota, just like we're the capital city. With all these similarities it is hard to imagine why we also cannot go smoke free.

So we are now not only the last major city to allow smoking in bars that is not preempted but we are also being left behind by more progressive cities like Bismarck.

Friday, August 20, 2010

San Antonio To Go Smoke Free

Yesterday the city of San Antonio, TX voted to strengthen it's current ordinance to prohibit smoking in bars and pool/bingo halls along with all other businesses. Indianapolis and Jacksonville, FL are the only cities left in the top 15 cities by population without a comprehensive ordinance protecting all workers. The city of Jacksonville is unable to pass a policy that includes bars because it is preempted by the state so really it is just Indy without a comprehensive ordinance.

How long will we stand for other cities and states passing us by before we demand that Indianapolis be a smoke free city too? Take time today to reach out to your elected officials and ask them to support a policy that protects all workers from secondhand smoke.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Email to Councillors

Here is a great letter from a Smoke Free Indy supporter that was sent to councillors last week.

Dear Councilmember,

I am writing to request that you please take into consideration a bill to make all workplaces in Indianapolis smoke-free, including bars and restaurants. As an individual who has lost dozens of family members to lung cancer from cigarette smoking (both from smoking and from being around smokers), I can tell you that this is a very personal issue for me. My grandmother died from emphysema as did several of her brothers. My partner's grandmother and grandfather both died from second hand smoke induced lung cancer.

This year, I met the father that I had never known after 33 years. He smoked for many years until the legs in his arteries clogged. He quit smoking and after his arterial replacement, he had a hernia. His business went under b/c it was shipped to China and he was told that in order to work the only job he could find in his small town of Delphi (a $9/hr job on a hog farm) he had to have hernia surgery. He did so and his arteries collapsed, he had his legs amputated then later died on the operating table. Smoking took away someone I had spent my entire life searching for. It took away my father and my grandmother, both of whom I never had the opportunity to get to know as well as I would have liked, both of whom were incredibly dear to me.

Times are hard right now and people often take any job that they can find, including working as bartenders and waitresses. Why should those people be forced to inhale copious amounts of cigarette smoke simply because they need to pay the bills and feed their children? Why should people who WANT to spend money at bars with their friends be forced to inhale second-hand smoke?

The bottom line is this: When an action you participate in has the potential to harm others, it must stop. Smoking is not a human right, protecting citizens from second-hand smoke should be.

Please, let's get with the program. Step up your focus on encouraging healthy behavior in your citizens. What good is encouraging healthy living and eating if you're not supporting putting an end to cigarette smoke exposure? I refuse to attend smoking bars, as do dozens of people I know because of their own hereditary propensities for getting lung cancer or due to asthma. Show us that your seat on the city council is to protect your citizens' best interests. If this is not your priority, please step down and allow someone else the opportunity to do so.

Thank you!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pregnant Wife Can't Enjoy Husband's Show

Here is another personal story we got recently which emphasises the need to make Indy smoke free.:

My husband (does not smoke) plays in a local band and often plays at Indy bars, which are not smoke free. I am pregnant with our first child but cannot attend any of his shows because they are at smoking establishments.

How can you not feel for someone in this situation? It is sad on both ends, the husband who has to work in smoke and the wife who has to stay home because of it.

Quit Now Indiana Contest

Do you know someone who wants to quit smoking? Now is the time to encourage them to take the next step towards becoming a former smoker. Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency and INShape Indiana are sponsoring the 'Quit Now Indiana Contest.'

First introduced in 2007, the “Quit Now Indiana” contest is designed to encourage any Hoosier resident 18 years or older and who is a regular smoker to quit using tobacco from Sept. 1st to Sept. 30th. The top prize winner, who successfully quits smoking from September 1st to September 30th, 2010, and whose name is randomly drawn, will receive $2,500 as the grand prize winner. The second and third place winners will receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.

In addition to signing up online at and, tobacco users can sign up at the Indiana State Fair and the 1-800-QUIT-NOW Concert Series at the Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis. The entry deadline is August 23rd.

The odds of winning this contest are much better than the lottery, plus you win the benefit of good health by quitting.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why We Push Forward

We are starting a new series of posts that feature testimonials that are sent to us on a weekly, sometimes daily basis, from Indianapolis residents who want Indy to be smoke free.

Here is a great one that we just got on Monday (it's totally unedited):

Tell us your personal story: I moved here from Atlanta recently and am shocked and disgusted that Indianapolis is not smoke-free. The Indiana government should be ashamed that their archaic legislature makes us one of the last states to still be \"smoker friendly\". If Indiana wants to make their capital city an attractive location to which successful, productive citizens are willing to relocate and businesses are eager to bring conventions, then the laws making us smoke-free need to be passed!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Two great LTEs from ALA and AHA

Many thanks to the American Lung Association and American Heart Association for the great letters that appeared on IndyStar this week:

City can lead state in becoming smoke free

Have a heart and pass comprehensive smoking laws

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

70% of Indianapolis Voters Support Law Making Bars, Restaurants

Voters back measure to protect workers and customers from secondhand smoke

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 21, 2010) – A new poll released today finds that 70 percent of Indianapolis voters support passing a law to make all restaurants, bars and other workplaces smoke-free. The poll shows broad support for the law, including large majorities of men and women, whites and African-Americans, and Democrats and Republicans across Indianapolis.

“Now is the time for the City-County Council and Mayor to reconsider what a significant majority of Indianapolis voters desire - to have all restaurants, bars, and other workplaces be smoke-free. Voters agree that Indianapolis should protect all of its workers and customers from harmful secondhand smoke and join the growing list of great cities that have gone smoke-free,” said Vincent C. Caponi, CEO, St. Vincent Health.

The survey of 500 likely Indianapolis voters was released by Smoke Free Indy and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Smoke Free Indy is a coalition of public health organizations, community-based groups, physicians, businesses, schools, the faith community, and Marion County residents.

By a 70 percent to 27 percent margin, the poll found that voters support a law in Indianapolis that would prohibit smoking in most public places, including workplaces, public buildings, offices, bowling alleys, restaurants and bars. This includes fifty-six percent who strongly favor the law. Support cuts across party lines, including 63 percent of Republicans, 67 percent of Independents and 78 percent of Democrats.

The survey also found among Indianapolis voters:
By a margin of 62 to 27 percent, voters are more likely to support a candidate who supports the smoke-free law over one who opposes it
84 percent believe that secondhand smoke is a health hazard, including 58 percent who say it is a serious health hazard.
72 percent believe that the right of customers and employees to breathe clean air in restaurants and bars is more important than the right of smokers to smoke and businesses owners to allow smoking.
80 percent believe all workers should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke.
86 percent say bar and restaurant workers have the same right to breathe clean air as office employees.

“Voters recognize what the Surgeon General’s report found, that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and they want a strong law that protects their right and the right of all workers to breathe clean air. People across Indianapolis understand that it is wrong to force workers to choose between their jobs and their health,” said Dr. Ray Henderson, currently practicing cardiologist and Immediate Past President, Indiana Black Expo.

To date, 550 cities across the country have passed smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars. Of the 20 largest U.S. cities, 15 are protected by such laws. Indianapolis is one of the five that are not.

The need for protection from secondhand smoke in all workplaces and public places has never been clearer. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome. The Surgeon General has also found that secondhand smoke causes tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year, there is no safe level of exposure, and only smoke-free laws provide effective protection from secondhand smoke.

The evidence is also clear that smoke-free laws protect health without harming business. As the U.S. Surgeon General concluded in a 2006 report, “Evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that smoke-free policies and regulations do not have an adverse impact on the hospitality industry.”

The survey was conducted by the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies. The poll has a sample of 500 registered likely Indianapolis voters and was conducted July 8 and 11, 2010. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.38 percentage points.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Star Article: Stricter smoking ban in Indianapolis may get new life

There is a great article in today's Indy Star by Francesca Jarosz, "Stricter smoking ban in Indianapolis may get new life
This time, mayor's advisers say he's agreeable to seeking a compromise,"
about the possibility of Proposal 371 coming back in the future for a vote. It is now time for Indianapolis to join the over 550 other cities that already have a smoke free air law by passing Proposal 371.

Tomorrow we will be releasing the results from a very interesting Public Opinion Poll, stay tuned for the results.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

El Patron On Westside Goes Smoke Free!

Our friends at the Indiana Latino Institute, Inc. (ILI) have been working with the owner of El Patron to take his bar and nightclub smoke free. On June 15th, owner Edgar Ibañez made the decision to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all his employees and visitors. Way to go El Patron and ILI! Here is a story complied by ILI on this latest success.

For the first time in Indianapolis there is a completely
Smoke free Latino Bar, EL PATRON

Edgar Ibañez has owned several businesses. Along with other family members and Kelly Membreño (his girlfriend), they currently operate the International Convention Center. This is the first events hall that is one hundred percent Hispanic. The capacity for the events hall is enough for both private and public events such as; dances, conferences, community activities, weddings, birthdays, baptisms, and all other occasions celebrated in the Latino community. This events hall is spacious, clean and completely smoke free.

While managing the International Convention Center, Ibañez noticed when he would go out to bars to dance that they were awful and smoke filled. Another thing he noticed was that he could not find a place with a good variety of music. Therefore, he had the idea of opening his own business and with much determination and new ideas he got the opportunity to buy a location that is now known as the Restaurant-Bar “EL PATRON,” the first Latino completely smokefree bar.

For 40 years this business operated as a bar and permitted smoking. The tobacco smell was everywhere. Ibañez conducted a survey with his clients and found that the majority of the people did not smoke or like to visit night clubs that allowed smoking due to the dangers caused by second hand smoke. These results fell in line with his desire to make the Restaurant- Bar “EL PATRON” smoke free. Ibañez began to clean up the bar little by little. He made changes to the location; a new name, determined it would be smoke free and a selection of a variety of music, so people with different taste and from different countries would feel welcome in his place. Now his clients and employees are happy and protected. According to the Centers of Disease Control, making your workplace smoke free will lower business cost and produce a healthier workforce. Thereby, protecting your most important assets – your employees.

The Indiana Latino Institute, Inc. has been in communications with “EL PATRON” for the past six months, educating them and their patrons on the benefits of a smoke free environment. On June 15th, the Indiana Latino Institute, Inc. presented “EL PATRON” a certificate in appreciation for keeping the Latino community in Indianapolis healthy by offering a location to enjoy food and beverage free of tobacco. At the same time they were presented with a smoke free policy to implement within their business for employees and patrons. The U.S. Surgeon General Report concluded that smoke free workplace policies are the only effective way to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace.

ILI congratulates “EL PATRON” for putting the health of their employees and patrons first in going completely smoke free. El Patron is located at 3 Beech Way Dr., Indianapolis, IN, 46224, phone 317-444-1207. Business days and hours are Thursday through Sunday, 5pm to 3am.

To obtain information on how to make your location a smoke free work place contact the Indiana Latino Institute, Inc. (317) 472-1055.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oh And Kansas Smoke Free Too!

The whole state of Kansas is also going smoke free today. Do we need more reasons to also go smoke free?

Wisconsin Now Smoke Free!

Today the entire state of Wisconsin is smoke free! That's right the entire state, bars and restaurants included, is smoke free. Generally when people think of Wisconsin they think of cheese and beer, and amazingly enough such a state can go smoke free and the world did not end. So what is taking us so long? Wisconsin is now the 33rd state to go smoke free, meaning that when Indiana finally goes smoke free we will be on the tail end of states to pass such a law. It is now to the point where it is not even a big deal to go smoke free because everyone else has already done it including Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota. We are being surrounded by states that are smoke free leaving us as the ashtray in the middle. Kentucky does not have a smoke free air law yet, but Louisville and Lexington are completely smoke free something Indy is not.

It is now time for Indiana and Indianapolis to do what everyone else has figured out is the right thing to do and pass a comprehensive smoke free air law for all businesses. Going smoke free helps people quit smoking, reduces cleaning costs, is what the majority wants and does not hurt business; so lets just do it already.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Smoke Free Indy Yard Signs

Smoke Free Indy is launching a new public education campaign in support of making all Indianapolis workplaces smoke free. As a part of this campaign the coalition will be distributing signs to Indianapolis homeowners in the months of July and August. The new yard signs state "Want A Smoke Free Indy? Text 'Smokefree' to 242242."

To pickup a yard sign for your yard please email

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New FDA Tobacco Regulations

Today, June 22, marks the start of the new FDA regulations on the tobacco industry. After the legislation passed in 2009 the FDA has been developing strategies to regulate the industry which had previously been allowed to operate without government over site.

Starting today cigarettes will no longer be called Light, Ultra Light or Low Tar instead you will see Gold and Silver on packaging. Retailers are no longer allowed to sell cigarettes individually they can only be sold in packs of 20 and they must card all individuals under the age of 27. Cigarettes cannot be sold in vending machines unless they are located in a adult only facility. The tobacco industry is also prohibited from sponsoring sporting or entertainment events, handing out logo'd materials or from handing out free samples of cigarettes. For more information on this important legislation and changes to the tobacco industry please visit the FDA's site:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New FDA regulations

On June 22nd the new FDA regulation of tobacco products will go into effect across the United States. Included in these new regulations are limits on the sale of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco to people younger than 18, the sale of cigarette packages with less than 20 cigarettes, the distribution of free samples of cigarettes, the distribution of free samples of smokeless tobacco, and limits on tobacco brand name sponsorship of any athletic, musical or other social or cultural events. One noticeable change you will see in stores is the elimination of the terms Light, Medium or Low Tar because studies have shown that all cigarettes are harmful even when described differently. Instead you will see the terms Gold, Silver and Blue on packs to differentiate between the various kinds.

To learn more about the new FDA regulations visit here:

To be a part of Smoke Free Indy text 'Smokefree' to 242-242.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Health Fitness Rankings

Guess what we are fat lazy smokers! Hooray! Oh wait, that's not a good thing..

Yesterday the American College of Sports Medicine released it's American Fitness Index of the healthiest cities in the United states, out of 50 cities Indy ranks 44th. This is actually a 8 place drop from last years 36th spot. What has lead to this new rank? The fact that we have high obesity rates, fewer park lands, fewer baseball diamonds and high chronic diseases rates including asthma and diabetes. What else led to this new lower ranking? Our high rate of smoking of course!

As discussed in earlier blog posts, states and cities reduce smoking rates through funded tobacco prevention programs, high cigarette tax rates, cessation and smoke free air laws. Here in Indiana we are falling behind on most of these efforts; our tobacco programs are poorly funded, our cigarette tax is low, our quitline is not fully funded and we do not have a comprehensive statewide smoke free air law. Also many chronic diseases are caused by smoking. So one way to increase our health ranking is to pass a smoke free air law and to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

Oh and the top five healthiest cities all have comprehensive smoke free air laws in place. To read the full report please go here:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Letter to the Editor's

There have been several great Letter to the Editor's in the Indianapolis Star lately on the NEED to make Indianapolis a smoke free city.

There is a particularly great one in today's star from a Mr. Charles Hardy who moved here from Austin, TX after experiencing going smoke free firsthand.

Last week there was a LTE from a Mr. Bruce Secor on his experience of moving here from Chicago, which is totally smoke free.

On May 6th, there was a LTE from a Mr. Derek Sumpter asking why the whole state of Michigan can smoke free but Indianapolis still allows smoking.

How many people writing into the Star will it take before our city and state leaders realize that it's what people want and a good thing to do?

Oh and the whole state of Wisconsin will go smoke free on June 1st. That's right the beer drinking, cheese eating and fun loving state to the north will be smoke free while we still allow secondhand smoke to impact our workers health.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

IndyFringe: Diva Fest

Smoke Free Indy is helping to sponsor IndyFringe's Diva Fest tonight through Saturday. Below is more information on these important shows featuring women playwrights. Please try to make time in your busy weekend and attend one of the shows!

DivaFest, May 6-9, IndyFringe Theatre

Three days and five new original plays all by women. Just like the IndyFringe festival all shows are $10 and one hour long. Enjoy a variety of unique stories by experienced and first time playwrights. Buy the Fiver Pass and see all plays for only $40. Mothers day weekend - bring the most important woman in your life!

Tickets and show info available at

DivaFest aims to:
Engage the community in how to approach a new script as an audience member as well as learn from actors, directors and designers how they approach a new script.
Establish Indianapolis as a centre for developing women playwrights through an annual DivaFest and ultimately as a vibrant part of the annual IndyFringe.
Provide benefits to community, university and professional theatres through an ongoing DivaFest where women can share their stories.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Below is a Press Release that Smoke Free Indy sent out last Friday on Michigan going smoke free, and Indiana being left behind - AGAIN!

April 20, 2010

Michigan is now smoke-free: Will Indiana be last?
All of Indiana’s neighbors in the Midwest have passed laws to protect workers from secondhand smoke

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With Michigan’s smoke-free air law going into effect May 1, 2010, Indiana is among the last states that does not have a law that protects its workers from exposure to secondhand smoke. All of Indiana’s Midwest neighbors – Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio – have passed laws to protect workers in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars.

Other states in the Midwest that have passed comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws include Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and Iowa.

“Indiana is once again falling behind. The need for protection from secondhand smoke in all workplaces has never been more clear,” said Melissa Lewis, Chair of Smoke Free Indy. “We can no longer afford the heavy burden brought on from the health and economic impacts of secondhand smoke. Now is the time to make our state capital smoke-free.”

Smoke Free Indy hopes that Marion County will soon pass a comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance that protects all of Marion County’s workers from the known health hazards of secondhand smoke.

Nine cities and two counties in Indiana have passed comprehensive smoke-free air laws. Indianapolis’ current ordinance, which went into effect March 1, 2006, prohibits smoking in some workplaces but exempts bars, bowling alleys, and private membership clubs with liquor licenses.

“Our policymakers must not continue to wait for another body to do the job. Workers in Indianapolis need our city-county council to take action now, and we hope the state will follow suit,” Lewis said. “We congratulate the Michigan state legislature for taking such an important step that will allow Michigan workers to earn their paychecks in a healthier environment. We hope that it serves as a call to action for our local policymakers to do the same.”
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. For more information visit:

Monday, April 26, 2010

New CDC Report: Tobacco Control State Highlights: 2010

In conjunction with a new Tobacco Control State Highlights Report issued from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency (ITPC) and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced new statistics on Indiana’s Adult Smoking Rate las Friday.

Here is an overview of the report by the CDC:

The CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) released the “Tobacco Control State Highlights: 2010” report last Thursday, April 22, 2010. This report provides tobacco control programs and decision-makers with state-specific data regarding proven, high-impact tobacco prevention strategies, including:

  • Increasing the price of tobacco products;
  • Implementing smoke-free policies and norms;
  • Reducing tobacco advertising and promotion;
  • Controlling access to tobacco products; and
  • Promoting and assisting tobacco users to quit.

In conjunction with the release of the CDC Report, ITPC issued a joint news release with ISDH highlighting updated statistics that revel that Indiana is making “great strides” on the tobacco front. The Indiana news release includes the following IMPORTANT data: Indiana’s 2009 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Program data show that smoking rate for Hoosier adults dropped from 26 percent in 2008 to 23.1 percent in 2009!

According to the CDC’s new State Highlights Report, concentrating on these proven strategies could result in even greater success for Indiana:

(1) Protect all workers from secondhand smoke exposure. Smokefree laws save lives and prevent heart attacks. Only 8% of our Indiana population is covered by a comprehensive smokefree workplace law that includes workplaces, restaurants and bars.

(2) Increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation. Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation is funded at only 15% of the level recommended by CDC. Increased and sustained funding would be especially useful in increasing the number of smokers who could access and receive help through the Indiana Tobacco Quitline.

(3) Raise cigarette and tobacco taxes. Indiana’s current cigarette tax is 99.5 cents per pack. The national average State cigarette taxes if $1.34 per pack.

Hopefully we will be able to implement these proven strategies in Indiana soon, allowing for more adult smokers to quit and fewer youth from starting smoking.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ballard: Air Schmair

Air Schmair -- This is what it's like to not be able to breathe at work, too.

April 19, 2010
Mayor Greg Ballard today holds his breath as he reads the new educational children's book, "Air Schmair" to kids at The Project School. The mayor holds his breath to mimic an animal character who learns air exists although you cannot se it. (Kelly Wilkinson / The Star)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Smoke Free Indy Texting Campaign

Smoke Free Indy is proud to announce the launch of our new texting campaign! If you live or work in Indy and you want text alerts from Smoke Free Indy as events happen related to Proposal 371 and smoke free air than text SMOKEFREE (one word not two) to 242-242. Standard text messaging rates apply if you opt into the campaign.

We hope you take a quick second to join our new campaign to learn more about making Indy a truly worldclass SMOKE FREE city.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Smoke Free Supporters

Here is a great picture from yesterday's American Heart Association, National Start! Walking rally. These two care so much about making all workplaces in Indy smoke free that they ran on a treadmill with signs! This is just another example of how Indianapolis citizens want smoke free air.
This picture is taken by the Star's Kelly Wilkinson and appears on page A16 of today's Indianapolis Star.

Save ITPC in the News

Last week the Indianapolis Star had a great editorial on the importance of keeping ITPC as an independent agency, to see the article go here.

This editorial follows a March 31st article by Shari Rudavsky which analyzed both sides of the argument to move ITPC into ISDH. The editorial board of the Indianapolis Star clearly agrees with us that it is important to keep ITPC an independent agency as it is now.

Yesterday there was also a great Letter-To-The-Editor from Dr. Maria Fletcher in support of ITPC and in support of making all Indianapolis/Indiana workplaces smoke free.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Final Four Bar Guide

With the Final Four being here this weekend, we thought it was important that visitors to our city know where they can go to enjoy a smoke free experience, so we created a Final Four Bar Guide listing all smoke free downtown establishments. To get a copy of the guide go here.

Luckily this time all the home bars are smoke free which will make for a better experience for those visitors who are watching the other game or simply enjoying food and drinks.

Butler -- Ram Restaurant & Brewery (140 S. Illinois St., Indianapolis; 317-955-9900)
Michigan State-- Champps Americana (49 W. Maryland St., Indianapolis; 317-951-0033)
Duke -- Buffalo Wild Wings (Seven E. Washington St., Indianapolis; 317-951-9464)
West Virginia -- Scotty's Brewhouse (One Virginia Ave., Indianapolis; 317-571-0808)

If you are visiting this weekend, we hope you enjoy our great city. Hopefully the next time you come back all bars will be smoke free!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Which Airlines Allow E-Cigarettes?

Have you seen e-cigarettes yet? If you have been to Circle Center or Castleton malls than you may have seen the well dressed young man trying to foist their product on people. Or you may even know someone who is using this product. There is a lot of controversy around them; what is in them, do they even contain nicotine or should they be allowed indoors? For more info on e-cigarettes go here.

Check out this release from the American's For Nonsmokers Rights on which airline allows e-cigarettes. So the next time you are on an airline and you see someone using one please talk to their staff about their policy for these new devises.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Saint Patrick's Day Celebrations

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick's Day! A great day for us Irish or those who pretend their Irish to celebrate the day away. Here in Indy there are a number of events which you can participate in if you feel up to it tomorrow.

You can join Smoke Free Indy at the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Indy at 11:30 a.m. We will be walking in the parade and handing out festive green beads.

There are also a number events at many local bars going on tomorrow too. Here is a brief list of those that are having fun smoke free events:

Scotty's Brewhouse - 1 Virginia Ave., Downtown
Rathskeller - 401 E. Michigan St., Downtown
Brothers Bar & Grill, 910 Broad Ripple Ave., Broad Ripple
Union Jacks, 924 Broad Ripple Ave., Broad Ripple
Pat Flynn's, 5198 Allisonville Road, , Northeast
Claddagh Irish Pub - 3835 E. 96th St., North ~ the one downtown allows smoking

If Ireland Can Go Smoke Free, Why Can't Indy?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

For Immediate Release: Big Ten Bar Guide

March 11, 2010

The Big Ten Conference is On: Looking for Smoke-Free Bars?
Smoke Free Indy to provide list of smoke-free venues to basketball fans

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Big Ten Basketball Tournaments have started and with them many visitors will be coming to Indianapolis from states or cities that are already smoke-free. To help these visitors feel at home Smoke Free Indy will be providing a guide listing all the smoke free bars in downtown Indianapolis. Smoke Free Indy volunteers will be downtown Thursday afternoon handing out the guides.

The guide also includes a list of the universities’ home bars. Eight of the eleven assigned home bars are smoke-free. Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State were assigned to bars that allow smoking. These three universities come from states that have already passed a smoke-free air law.

“I am so thankful that the Purdue bar is smoke-free. It's great that visiting Boilermakers can still breathe smoke-free air in a city that has yet to make a commitment to protecting all its workers and patrons from secondhand smoke,” said Missy Lewis, Purdue Alumna and Chair of Smoke Free Indy. “Hopefully Indianapolis will take note of the success of other smoke-free cities and protect all Indianapolis residents as well as the millions of visitors who come to our great city.”

Michigan is going smoke-free May 1 leaving Penn State as the only Big Ten team coming from a city that still allows workplace smoking. Twenty-eight states across the nation have smoke-free air laws covering workplaces, and of the top 15 largest U.S. cities, only Indianapolis and San Antonio, TX are not smoke-free.

Many in the tourism and convention industry are concerned that the lack of a comprehensive smoke-free policy can hamper the development of tourism and convention business in Indianapolis. The American Public Health Association, for instance, will not host a conference in a city that allows indoor workplace smoking. Their annual conference draws 13,000 attendees.

“We look forward to the day that all bars and restaurants in Indianapolis are smoke-free,” said Don Welsh, Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association CEO. “We're counting on that because we know many of our visitors this weekend are coming from cities where this is the case.”


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. For more information visit:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Let It Out

In last Monday's (3/1) Let It Out section of the Star this blurb was included:

"Mayor Ballard, you can't be for a healthier lifestyle and be against a comprehensive smoking ban. Pick one."

We did not write it, but it's interesting to see that others feel this way.

Congrats to Dr. Larkin

Congratulations to Dr. Gregory N. Larkin in his new role as State Health Commissioner at ISDH. Dr. Larkin has been a great ally to Smoke Free Indy and has served as our honorary chair of the coalition. We know he will do a great job as the new Commissioner and will lead our state down a healthier path. Here is an article in today's Star on his new position.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Officials: Weak smoking ban hurts city's hospitality efforts | Indianapolis Business Journal |

Great article on IBJ! If you want to show IBJ how much you like the story, write a letter-to-the-editor and send it to:

Officials: Weak smoking ban hurts city's hospitality efforts Indianapolis Business Journal

February 27, 2010

The ongoing smoking-ban debate is getting a new spark from convention leaders trying to light a fire under lawmakers, who have been reluctant to approve the kind of comprehensive smoking ban that health—and now tourism—officials say is needed here.
The smoking-ban debate in this city and state is getting a new spark from a fired-up group of tourism and convention officials.They’re trying to light a fire under lawmakers, who have been reluctant to approve the kind of comprehensive smoking ban that health—and now tourism—officials say is needed here.Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association CEO Don Welsh and other area tourism and convention officials say Indianapolis officials’ unwillingness to strengthen anti-smoking legislation is imperiling the city’s growing tourism trade.“In many cases, the ordinances have been driven politically or solely due to the desires of local citizens,” Welsh said. “While I understand that, the desires of visitors who spend billions of dollars in our community every year have not been considered.”On the state level, the Indiana House on Feb. 24 passed a measure that would ban smoking in all enclosed public places except casinos and horse tracks. Several local tourism officials said they plan to get in the ear of state politicians as the bill progresses through the General Assembly.A number of cities in the United States and abroad have passed legislation outlawing smoking in all public places, including hotels, restaurants and bars. Welsh said he recently heard from visitors from New York who were disgusted by Indianapolis’ policy.“When Paris passed their anti-smoking legislation 18 months ago, that set the tone globally,” Welsh said. “It’s what people come to expect, and Indianapolis is being left behind.”Welsh is far from alone in his concern.Jeff Sweet, president of the Greater Indianapolis Hotel and Lodging Association and general manager of Hilton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites, said the complaints he hears from visitors about Indiana’s smoking policies are becoming louder and more frequent.“Our guests, quite frankly, are taken aback by the smoking in our city,” said Sweet, whose hotel is in the process of going completely smoke-free. “There’s no getting around it. It’s starting to affect the city’s image, and not in a good way.”Dirk Ebener, CEO of Atlanta-based NuernbergMesse North America, which represents more than 100 trade shows globally, said a city’s smoking policy has a major impact on its image. Ebener, who recently conducted a site inspection in Indianapolis, said the smoking in entertainment hot spots here is a definite drawback.“There are a growing number of conventions in various sectors that definitely prefer a non-smoking city,” Ebener said. “A city’s smoking policy says a lot about it. It speaks to cleanliness of the city, demonstrates the health awareness of the city, and calls attention to its overall progressiveness.”In 2006, the City-County Council enacted an anti-smoking law, but there are several exemptions, including bars and other establishments that don’t allow anyone under 18 and businesses that don’t employ anyone under 18.In October, the City-County Council voted against an ordinance that would have strengthened the existing smoking ban to include bars and the vast majority of workplaces. Council members then decided in a 14-13 vote to table the legislation, which means it can return to the council agenda at a future meeting.
Mayor Greg Ballard has said he would veto such an ordinance if it reaches his desk.That stand, Welsh said, is endangering a critical sector of convention business the ICVA is trying to develop.“Many in the life sciences, bio and medical fields are vehemently against smoking in public places,” Welsh said. “I’m not sure it’s always a show stopper, but it’s certainly an unnecessary worry and concern that we shouldn’t have.”Medical and life sciences conventions and corporate meetings are key to the city’s plan to grow downtown and its convention business, Sweet said.“Bio and life sciences is a premium-rated business,” he said. “There’s a huge benefit to getting a foot in the door with that industry. Since that sector is growing rapidly, now is a critical time for this city to put its best foot forward with those organizations.”Sweet said the current policy hurts the city’s otherwise pristine reputation among convention-goers.“In order to be perceived as being a more progressive city, we have to have a smoking ban,” he said.The city’s rapidly growing tourism and convention business means there’s plenty at stake.A 2006 study by Washington, D.C.-based industry analyst D.K. Shifflet and Associates showed the city’s annual visitor spending hitting $3.6 billion.Life sciences currently generates 4 percent of Indianapolis’ convention and visitor business, but within a few years, Welsh said, it could account for 20 percent. Sports is the city’s largest convention and visitor moneymaker, he said, making up 24 percent of the pie.While the money spent on life sciences and medical conventions is considerable, it’s just part of the benefit. ICVA and its partners in the endeavor to grow that sector hope exposure from the medical and bio gatherings gives the region further gravitas as a life sciences hub. That, BioCrossroads President David Johnson said, will help build the credibility of companies located here.“If we could make Indianapolis ground zero for these types of meetings, that would be a tremendous way to show the strengths of this community in a way others in the industry don’t normally think of,” said Johnson, whose organization heads economic development for Indiana’s life sciences initiative.Not everyone in the local convention and tourism sector favors strengthening the city’s anti-smoking law. John Livengood, president of the Indiana Restaurant & Hospitality Association, said there’s an intense divide among members of his organization.While some agree with Welsh and Sweet that Indianapolis’ smoking laws are scaring off certain visitors, he said others fear an all-out smoking ban will hurt the city with other patrons.“There’s only one policy that works for everyone,” Livengood said. “To have no policy and let each company decide for itself. It’s a free enterprise issue.”Waiting for local businesses to conclude that smoking must be banned, Welsh said, could have detrimental consequences.“I understand civil liberties, but there’s enough medical documentaion to know smoke—firsthand or secondhand—is bad for you,” Welsh said. “Our current policy makes this city look not very progressive.”•

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Your Doctor Wants You to Smoke?!?

Your Doctor Wants You to Smoke

Vintage propaganda is always fun, but old cigarette ads may be the most cringeworthy. The New York Public Library just opened "Not a Cough in the Car," an exhibition of tobacco ads that emphasized healthiness. Enjoy!

Read more:,29307,1848212,00.html#ixzz0gZbYi3gN

Good News.

Good news, the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors is down across the state! This will hopefully decrease youth consumption rates and the reduce the number of youth becoming lifetime smokers.

Today's Indy Star is reporting that the statewide smoke free air bill is not dead and will be considered in conference committee. We will be watching this one for sure to see if it becomes a reality. Even with this possibility we should not give up on making Indy smoke free, every year for the last few years there has been a bill introduced to go smoke free, none of them have passed. So until this is a reality we should continue to push to make Indy a completely smoke free city.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Quick Update

Here are a few updates from this week:

SB 298, the bill to eliminate ITPC, was not voted out of committee last week, which means for now it is dead. Though because it was voted out of the Senate it can be brought back up in conference committee, so please continue to educate others on the importance of keeping a state agency only dedicated to tobacco control.

This week's IBJ has an interesting article on the impact of the tobacco industry's sponsorship on the racing industry, check it out here.

Also Phillip Morris is planning on launching their Snus tobacco product nationwide, which means we must have liked them because they were test marketed here, and that is not a good thing.

And in yesterdays Indy Star there was a story on more senior citizens smoking pot... which is very bizarre.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SB298 Update

Tomorrow (1/17) the House Ways and Means Committee will hear SB298 the government consolidation bill that includes language to eliminate Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency (ITPC.) The hearing is set for 10:00 a.m. in room 401 at the Indiana Statehouse.

Abolishing ITPC's board and staff would do a disservice to the people of Indiana, great strides in reducing youth smoking rates have occurred under their rein and many local smoke free air laws have been passed. Tobacco prevention programs were all but eliminated in Mississippi & Ohio after their programs were moved into their state health departments. Indiana cannot afford to loose tobacco prevention funding, we are already 2nd highest in the nation for adult smokers and there are 27 other states with smoke free air laws and it appears that we are no where near getting one passed here.

Please if you have the time come out to the hearing tomorrow and show your support for ITPC. Indiana cannot afford to loose more fellow Hoosiers to smoking and to fall farther behind other states by not having tobacco prevention programming.

Here is an article from Dr. Richard Feldman on the topic from today's Indianapolis Star.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Benefits of Raising Cigarette Taxes by $1

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids just released a report that identifies the many benefits Indiana would experience if the state increased our tobacco tax by $1. Some of the benefits include $230.1 million in new revenue, 63,600 youth prevented from smoking and 30,900 lives saved from premature death. In this time of budgetary crisis this could be a good angle for the state to consider when thinking of new revenue streams.

Go here for the full report:

Currently our cigarette tax is only 99.5 cents, which ranks us 29th in the nation. The current national average is $1.34 a 34.5 cent difference.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

HB 1131 DOA

It appears that HB 1131, the smoke free air bill, is DOA in the Senate with Senate President Pro Tempore David Long not willing to let it be heard. He believes, and rightfully so, that the state legislature is not ready to pass a comprehensive smoke free air law, evidence of this can clearly be seen through all of the exemptions put in by the House.

Now is the time for Indianapolis to pass a comprehensive smoke free ordinance, the state legislature is not going to do it this year so it is up to us to make it happen. Everyday there are workers in Indy who have to work an 8 hour shift in a smoky room just to make ends meat, as citizens of this great city we have the power to prevent this from happening. Contact your councillor today and tell them that now is the time to make Indy smoke free.

The only other important bill still alive is SB298, which would abolish ITPC's board, it is now in the House for consideration. For reasons as to why this portion of this bill is not a good idea please see this earlier post. There is still time to voice your opinion with your Representative today, to find out who that person is go here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

HB 1131 Update

Representative Charlie Brown's bill HB1131, the smoke free air bill, passed out of the House yesterday with a vote of 73-26 and is now headed to the Senate. Unfortunately more exemptions were added to the bill, specifically to exempt VFWs and Legion Halls. So under the current version of the bill you could not smoke at restaurants, daycares, government buildings and other businesses. Clearly this bill is no where near being comprehensive and would not protect Indiana workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Continually we are being left behind by other states going smoke free, we are now almost surrounded by smoke free states with Michigan, Ohio and Illinois all being totally smoke free. Even Louisville to the south is totally smoke free. Yet the state legislature is still trying to exempt bars, clubs and casinos which is something that no one else in the nation is still doing..

Here is a synopsis of the bills status from today's Indianapolis Star:

Smoking ban
The Indiana House voted 73-26 Tuesday night to pass a statewide smoking ban, albeit a watered down one.
When Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, authored House Bill 1131, it only excluded the state's casinos and horse tracks from the ban. But after the House voted to adopt several amendments, those exemptions expanded to include bars, taverns, smoke shops, small businesses not open to the public, VFW and American Legion halls.
"We've exacted this down to the point where I think it's only illegal to smoke inside an oxygen tent in the intensive care unit of a hospital," said Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington. "This is not even close to a comprehensive ban anymore."
Despite how much the ban had been weakened, several Republicans voted against the measure.
"I still have a profound disagreement that this is good policy for the state of Indiana," said Rep. Matt Bell, R-Avilla. He said the decision on smoking bans should rest, as it does now, with individual communities.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Legislative Update

This session there are several important bills related to tobacco control being considered.

The first and probably most pressing is SB298, this bill covers a number of government consolidation issues including combining retirement services of ISTA with PERF. Also included within this bill is language to abolish the Indiana Tobacco Prevention Cessation Agency's (ITPC) Board on July 1, 2010, and transfers all assets, obligations, powers, duties, and appropriations into the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). This is not a new idea, one that has been considered before, but in 2007 Health Finance Commission summer study committee advised against this action. ITPC has done great work in Indiana to help reduce youth smoking rates and to educate adults about the impact of smoking and secondhand smoke. We know that to effectively reduce the number of smokers within a state you need a high cigarette tax, smoke free air laws, a fully funded cessation quitline and a fully funded tobacco prevention program; Indiana does not meet any of these requirements, hence why we have the second highest smoking rate in the nation. If ITPC is moved into ISDH it could prove to be potentially harmful to Indiana by creating a lag time in which tobacco prevention services could be provided to reducing of number of staff and dollars dedicated to helping Hoosiers quitting tobacco. Recently Indiana saw a 21% decline in the number of high school smokers between 2000-2008, we do not want to see more youth smoking by reducing the amount of tobacco prevention services in the state.

There are also a number of bills to make Indiana workplaces smoke free, the one that has been given a hearing and voted out of committee is HB1131 sponsored by Rep. Charlie Brown. Unfortunately yesterday HB1131 had a series of amendments added to it, namely to exempt bars and added preemption language which would prevent local communities from passing a stronger ordinance. After these exemptions were added Representative Brown decided to withdraw the bill before it was voted on rather than let it pass full of exemptions. At this time it is undetermined what the fate of HB1131 is or what will happen to the other smoke free air bills. Now truly is the time for Indianapolis to go totally smoke free on its own rather than wait for the state legislature to pass something because it very well will not happen this year. Everyday Indianapolis workers are negatively impacted by secondhand smoke, now is the time to provide every worker with a healthy smoke free environment.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

House Committee Passes Smoke Free Bill

Today the House Public Policy Committee voted 7-5 to pass HB1131 out of committee. The bill now goes in front of the full House of Representatives for a vote, and then to the Senate if the House passes the measure. HB1131 would require all workplaces in Indiana to be smoke free with the exception of casinos, horse tracks and off-track betting parlors.

Here is an IBJ article summarizing today's events:

What's in that Cigarette?

So what is in that cigarette? No one except the tobacco industry really seems to know. With the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of June 2009 the FDA now has the authority to find out what exactly everyone is smoking. It has been speculated, and in some cases even proven through lab tests, that cigarette makers include extra ingredients to enhance the impact of nicotine in a persons body by making them more addictive. We also do not know exactly how much nicotine is included in cigarettes and other tobacco products, studies have shown that the amount of nicotine has increased over time, further limiting ones chances of quitting. Hopefully we will finally know how harmful cigarettes really are after the FDA identifies all of their ingredients.

Here is an article on the FDA's new study: What's in a Cigarette? FDA to Study Ingredients - ABC News

Also as a side note, how depressing is it that the picture in this article was taken at the Red Key Tavern? Do we need more proof that we smoke too much than to be identified by the national news? There is a reason we have the 2nd highest smoking rate in the nation...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We Failed, Again...

Yesterday the American Lung Association released their State of Tobacco Report in which Indiana got a mostly failing grade for our tobacco prevention efforts.

We got an 'F' for Tobacco Control Prevention and Spending because Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (ITPC) is only funded at $11,896,858, no where near the CDC recommended level of $78,800,000. This amount is even down from the previous years amount of $15,921,124.

We also got an 'F' for Smokefree Air because only a small number of places are covered by smoke free air laws, and an even smaller number of bars are smoke free. Increasingly we are being left behind by other states going smoke free, North Carolina just went smoke free at the new year and our neighboring state Michigan will go smoke free on May 1st.

Indiana got a 'D' for Cigarette Taxes, our tax is only at 99.5 cents, the national average is $1.36. In this current economy many states are looking to raise cigarette taxes as a way to supplement their state budgets, it is only a matter of time before the national average will go up again further leaving us behind.

Lastly we got a 'C' for Tobacco Cessation Coverage, because we do have a statewide cessation quitline and cessation services are covered within Medicaid and state employee insurance programs. Unfortunately cessation is not mandated within private insurance and the quitline is not fully funded to allow every individual who needs to quit smoking the proper help needed.

Indiana still has a long way to go before we can receive a passing grade, increasingly we are being left behind by other states, which is why we are now number 2 in the nation for adult smokers. Of the 10 states with the highest smoking rates in the nation, none of them have a smoke free air law.

We can reverse this cycle of loosing our loved ones to the effects of tobacco by fully funding ITPC, increasing our cigarette tax, passing a strong statewide smoke free air law and by fully funding the state quitline. Hopefully these goals will be met in the near future before another child picks up a daily tobacco habit.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Community Affairs Committee To Hear Proposal 371 On April 14th

At the December 30th meeting of the Community Affairs Committee, councillors voted to hold a public hearing on Proposal 371 at their April 14th meeting at 5:30 p.m. This is great news for us smoke free air advocates, it means that the proposal is not dead and instead is alive and well and just needed sometime to be regrouped.

Please mark your calendars for this very important date, we will need all supporters to again come forward in support of making Indy a healthier and smoke free place to live, work and play.

It is also not too late to contact your councillor in support of this issue; also don't forget the four at-large councillors when you send your email or make a call.

2010 is our year to go totally smoke free!