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.”•