Monday, December 12, 2011

Indianapolis Business Journal Urges Councilors to support Proposal 352

Thank you to the Indianapolis Business Journal for their continued support for making Indy smoke-free. Sorry for the poor quality, click on image for a closer look.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Supports a Smoke Free Indy

The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) is joining Smoke Free Indy in support of a smoke-free ordinance that includes 100 percent of bars, restaurants and hotel rooms. The ICVA is the official sales and marketing organization for the city, charged with driving tourism and booking conventions.

“Eliminating smoking in Indianapolis’ hospitality industry will benefit the region’s convention and tourism industry,” said Leonard Hoops, president and CEO of the ICVA. “A smoke-free law will not only help us attract new business, but will enhance the visitors’ experience while protecting hospitality workers from secondhand smoke.”

Tourism is big business for Indianapolis, generating more than $3.4 billion in economic impact annually and supporting more than 69,000 jobs.

“Indianapolis is fortunate to attract more than 18 million visitors every year. Whether they come from another state or another country, most of them are protected by smokefree laws where they live and are shocked when they realize Indianapolis still allows smoking inside,” said Lindsay Grace, Chair of Smoke Free Indy. “We want to show our visitors that we’re a world class city that cares about the health of our guests as well as our workers.”


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:


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:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Smoke Free Indy Response to Councillor Vaughn’s Recent Proposal

Smoke Free Indy is dedicated to protecting every Indianapolis worker from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Earlier today, Councilor Ryan Vaughn submitted a proposal that would eliminate many, but not all, of the loopholes in Indianapolis’ current Smokefree law. His proposal strengthens the current policy by eliminating exemptions for bars, bowling alleys, hotel/motel rooms, workplaces and nursing homes; and would protect a majority of Indianapolis workers who are currently exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke in the workplace.

We thank Councillors Angela Mansfield and Benjamin Hunter for their dedication to this issue over the years and are encouraged to see the interested parties coming together to address this critical issue.

We urge all members of the City Council and the Mayor’s Office to work together to pass a strong smoke-free law. Smoke Free Indy will continue to work toward a smoke-free ordinance that protects every worker in Indianapolis.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Media Alert: Smoke Free Indy Launches New Campaign



Lindsay Grace


On the 36th annual Great American Smokeout, Smoke Free Indy will build on its dedication to reducing secondhand smoke by unveiling its new public education campaign in conjunction with seeking the support of the City Council and the Mayor’s office to work together to pass a law that will protect all workers from secondhand smoke.

WHEN – Thursday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.

WHO – Lindsay Grace, Chairwoman of Smoke Free Indy

Dr. Virginia Caine, Director, Marion County Public Health Department

Mara Hoberty, Indianapolis resident

Benjamin Hunter & Angela Mansfield, Indianapolis City-County Councilors

WHERE – Indianapolis City-County Building, 2nd Floor

WHY – Strengthening the existing smoke-free law is a priority in order to ensure that all workers in Indianapolis work in smoke-free environments. Bi-partisan support is in place in the City Council to facilitate a change in the near future.


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, November 10, 2011

Smoke Free Indy Response to Marion County Election Results



Thursday, November 10, 2011


Lindsay Grace


Smoke Free Indy Response to

Marion County Election Results

Current changes in the City-County Council show bi-partisan support

for a strong smoke-free ordinance that will protect all workers.

With 70% percent of Marion County residents supporting smoke-free workplaces, including restaurants and bars, it is no surprise that this issue was front and center in many City-County Council races and the Mayoral election. With the results of Tuesday’s election there is now a bi-partisan majority of City-County Council members and the Mayor on the record supporting a strengthened smoke-free law which includes all restaurants and bars.

“It was encouraging that strengthening the current smoke-free law was forefront in many campaigns across the county,” said Lindsay Grace, Chair of Smoke Free Indy. “We are looking forward to working with the new City-County Council and the Mayor’s office to pass a strong smoke-free ordinance protecting Indianapolis workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.”


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, October 31, 2011

Meet Alice Curry

On July 9, 2011 Alice Curry passed away from a battle with lung cancer. Alice never smoked a day in her life and there is no history of cancer in her family. Alice Curry worked in many smoke-filled environments throughout her career. Secondhand smoke kills 1,100 Hoosiers every year, Hooisers just like Alice Curry. We have started a campaign, to honor Alice and her dedication to making sure that everyone has the right to breathe clean air.

Are You Alice?

Please share your personal story of how secondhand smoke has affected you or someone you know. This could be anything from your hair smelling like smoke after a night out with friends, to an asthma attack to serious health condition. Please tag @SmokeFreeIndy and use the hashtag #IAmAlice when sharing your story on Twitter. Or share your story on our Facebook Page.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tobacco Industry Sues the FDA

As we all know, the FDA is requiring cigarette companies to include graphic warning labels on all packaging by 2012, in response to these new warning requirements the tobacco industry is suing the FDA. They are suing because these labels 'unfairly urge adults to shun their legal products and will cost millions to produce.' So it seems they are suing because the government is finally requiring them to tell the truth that by using their product you can die. Again the tobacco industry is really looking out for all of us and not the bottom line (insert sarcasm). Last year in Indiana the tobacco industry spent $307.5 MILLION to advertise their products, and they are complaining about the ink it will cost to print these new warning labels? Give me a break...

David Orentlicher has a good synopsis of why the tobacco industry's legal fight won't hold up in court in today's Indianapolis Star:

Friday, August 12, 2011

IU Health's New Smokefree Policy

IU Health has a new smokefree policy that will protect patients and staff from thirdhand smoke. Employees are no longer allowed to smoke during work hours, in the past they were not allowed to smoke on hospital property but could go off property during their shift to smoke. This new policy will protect patients from thirdhand smoke, the lingering chemicals and smell left on a person after they smoke. Studies have shown that thirdhand smoke exposes individuals who do not smoke to the harmful chemicals in cigarettes and can trigger asthma attacks and other breathing issues.

Congratulations to IU Health for taking the health of their patients and staff seriously.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Star Editorial

There is an interesting editorial in today's Indianapolis Star about the reduced adult smoking rate:
The editorial brings up a good point that the smoking rate could be lower if Indiana had full tobacco prevention funding and a smokefree air law.

Muncie Smokefree Today!

Today is the official start of Muncie's smokefree air ordinance that covers all workplaces in Delaware County. Muncie now joins Fort Wayne, West Lafayette, Bloomington, Greenfield and Terre Haute with a comprehensive smokefree air law. It is now very clear that Indianapolis is not only falling behind the rest of the nation in not having a comprehensive law, but we are also falling behind the rest of Indiana.

Check out this great editorial from a veteran who is happy that her club is now smokefree:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lower Smoking Rate in Indiana

Yesterday, the Indiana State Department of Health released the 2010 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System results, Indiana's smoking rate is now 21.2 percent, down from 23.1 percent. This is the lowest smoking rate that Indiana has ever seen, but it is still higher than the national average of 17.3 percent. Indiana still has a long way to go to further reduce smoking rates, we still need to pass a comprehensive smokefree air law, increase tobacco prevention funding and increase the tobacco tax. Hopefully the 2012 legislative session can bring positive change for Indiana.

In the mean time, if you know someone who wants to quit smoking tell them about the Quit Now Indiana Contest. If they quit between October 1-31 and stay quit they can enter the contest for a chance to win $2,500. They can sign-up on line or visit the Quit Now booth at the Indiana State Fair in front of the grandstands.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Smokefree Air Laws Do Not Impact Urban OR Rural Economies

A recent study released out of the University of Kentucky found that comprehensive smokefree air laws do not harm businesses in either rural or urban communities. Through an analysis of both types of communities in Ohio and Kentucky, researchers found that going smokefree does not negatively impact the number of employees, wages paid or the number of hospitality establishments. This study shows that if Indiana goes completely smokefree our hospitality establishments would not be negatively impacted from Indianapolis to Cicero.

Tobacco Free Kids Action Fund Endorses Melina Kennedy for Mayor

The Tobacco Free Kids Action Fund released a statement today endorsing Melina Kennedy for Mayor of Indianapolis. The Campaign sites her support for smokefree air as the reason for their endorsement. Go here for complete information about this endorsement:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lawsuit in Muncie

I guess the individuals in Muncie suing over the impending smokefree air law did not get the memo that this type of law is already in place in over half the country including Fort Wayne, Bloomington and West Lafayette. There is no constitutional 'right' to smoke. Going smokefree is not ground breaking and these lawsuits get thrown out of court. Instead of waisting their money on legal action they should be happy with all the money they will be saving from reduced cleaning and health care costs.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Updates

After a brief summer hiatus we are back and blogging about smoking and smokefree air in Indiana and Indianapolis. Here is a brief list of important developments and articles that we missed while we were away.

The FDA released new warning labels on cigarette packaging, the new labels will appear in 2012. The labels show the real impact of tobacco use with images of cancer and deceased individuals. It is still to be determined whether or not these labels will motivate a long time smoker to quit, but they will deter young people from starting to smoke.

The American Cancer Society - Cancer Action Network just released a report that determined Indiana would save $74.5 million in lung cancer, heart attack and stroke costs and 27,300 fewer youth would start smoking if the state went totally smokefree. This report fuels the need to pass a strong smokefree air law in Indiana.

Making Indiana and Indianapolis smokefree continues to be a key issue in both local and state politics. In local politics, we know that mayoral candidate Melina Kennedy supports making Indianapolis smokefree, but Mayor Greg Ballard does not. It also appears that many of the Democratic council candidates support making the city smokefree. We hope that the Republican candidates will also support making the city smokefree for the health of all workers. Clearly making Indy smokefree is an important step towards making the city a greener and more progressive city

Lastly, the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency is now a part of the Indiana State Department of Health and is called the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission. The new Commission is still able to give out funding to local organizations to do tobacco control and prevention, which is good news for all Hoosiers.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Statewide smokefree air law could save IN $74million

A new study releases by the American Cancer Society (ACS) this week estimates that Indiana could save $74million in reduced health care costs associated with smoking-related diseases. The study, "Saving Lives, Saving Money: A State-By-State Report on the Health and Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Smoke-Free Laws" focused on the 27 states without current comprehensive smoke-free air laws and provides expanded estimates for "public health benefits and economic savings." The study also concludes that in addition to saving money in Indiana, a comprehensive statewide smoke-free air law could also result in 65,300 fewer adult smokers and keep 27,300 youths from picking up the habit.

ACS also released a study that examined the public health and economic benefits of increasing cigarette taxes by $1 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The study estimated that if Indiana were to do this smoking-related deaths would decrease by 41,400 in five years. In addition to this the state would bring in an additional $280 million in tax revenue.

Check out the great article and op-ed in the Indy Star on these reports.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Indiana Legislature drops ball on tobacco control in 2011

Tobacco control in Indiana took some pretty big hits in this year's legislative session. First was the failure to pass a comprehensive smoke free air law to protect all workers. Indiana is one of only 13 states without a statewide smok free air laws. Three out of our four closes neighbors have comprehensive laws and this is leading many to consider our state the "ashtray of the Midwest." The other major blow to tobacco control came in the form of the dismantling of Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation(ITPC). ITPC has been recognized as one of the country's top tobacco control programs and has had many great successes over the last decade. ITPC will close its doors in June of this year and its responsiblities and budget will be moved to the Indiana State Department of Health. Despite things not going our way we want to give a big thanks to all of our supporters for all of your help this year. Hopefully in the next year Indy and Indiana will catch up with the times and protect all workers from the dangers of second hand smoke.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Support for ITPC Across Indiana

A number of newspapers have come out in support of maintaining ITPC's funding, realizing that this last minute attack by the Senate will do nothing but harm to the Agency and all Hoosiers.

Matthew Tully has a great article in today's Star in which he calls out Senator Kenley.
The Greenfield Daily Report wrote in support of ITPC.
Here is an article in the Journal Review out of Crawfordsville.
The IBJ covered the budget cut on Wednesday.
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette covers the cuts today.
Leo Morris of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel called the Senate "Swindling Swine" for their last minute actions against ITPC.

There might be some misconceptions about ITPC's funding, they do not get tax dollars.
The money that ITPC gets is from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the states and the tobacco industry. This year Indiana is going to get $130 million from this settlement, we are only asking that $9 million goes to the one agency dedicated to reducing smoking rates and preventing youth from starting smoking; ITPC.

ITPC has been in existence since 2002 and has proven to be effective in reducing smoking rates in both adults and youth. The agency funds the Indiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-Quit-Now) which offers free counselling to anyone who wants to quit smoking. The agency also funds tobacco prevention and advocacy programs in virtually every county in Indiana.

Smoking is the number one preventable killer in the United States and secondhand smoke is the third. Every year smoking kills 10,000 Hoosiers and costs the state $2 billion in in preventable health care costs. Smoking also kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides, drugs and fires combined. So spending $9 million a year to fund an Agency dedicated to reducing costs and saving lives in Indiana is a small sum in the big scheme of things.

Our only hope is that in conference committee the Agency's funding will be restored and they will be allowed to remain as an independent agency. The actions by the Senate are those of only a few individuals and the tobacco lobbyist who are against ITPC, this is not what the state needs or wants to happen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Senate's hit job on tobacco prevention

Some in the Senate have painted a bull’s eye on Indiana’s highly successful tobacco prevention program… again! House Bill 1001 – the budget bill, which passed out of the Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday– puts a clear target on the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency (ITPC) with a nearly 50% cut in funding and the dismantling of the program as we know it.

The Senate not only leaves Indiana's tobacco prevention efforts severely underfunded, but it sets back tobacco prevention efforts indefinitely by abolishing ITPC's independent, volunteer, expert Executive Board. Instead of an independent board charting the course of this very successful program, they propose ISDH take over. And we all know why, they want ITPC to fail.

These cuts and this attempted hit job on ITPC appears to be a deliberate effort of the Senate committee leadership to rollback Indiana's progress on tobacco in Indiana, an outcome that would have a catastrophic impact on Hoosier health.

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Write your Senators in the next 24 hours and tell them to stand up for ITPC.

Ask policymakers to stand with the Governor in supporting $9.23 million per year for ITPC because: 1) there remains a great need for tobacco prevention and cessation services; 2) ITPC has had great success in meeting that need; and 3) ITPC’s work will pay dividends (in lives and taxpayer dollars) to Hoosiers over time.

Don’t stand by silently as this program goes under attack. Your Senator needs to hear from you in the next 24 hours!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Editorials on Making Indiana Smokefree

In response to HB 1018, the smokefree air bill, not being heard in the Senate Public Policy committee last week there have been quite a few editorials expressing frustration with this decision. The Indianapolis Star continues to support making Indiana smokefree, here is an editorial they released last week: There is an especially good line at the end of the editorial; "They should remind their elected servants that, for 1,000 Hoosiers, there won't be a next year." There have also been a couple letters to the editor in the Star expressing frustration that Indiana is once again behind the rest of the nation in protecting it's workers from secondhand smoke. How much more proof do legislators need on smoking? Embarrassed to live in state that lacks smoke-free law For more editorials visit the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air website.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

No Progress Made in Indiana

Once again the Indiana General Assembly failed to protect thousands of Hoosiers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. We, members of the Smoke Free Indy coalition, can all understand how important it is to pass a good bill. Six years ago, when the Indianapolis law was passed, we didn’t expect we would still be stuck with that law today. Passing HB 1018, in the form that it was in yesterday, would have meant passing one of the worst laws in the nation. We know Indiana is better than this, and we WILL eventually pass a good law that ensures that no one will have to be exposed to secondhand smoke just to earn a paycheck. Passing a better law in Indy will likely make the difference for the state. An editorial published today on Indianapolis Star said it best: “Hoosiers deserve better than HB 1018. If they can't have a law that's up to the task this year, they're better off waiting. They should remind their elected servants that, for 1,000 Hoosiers, there won't be a next year.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wages of Service Industry Workers

Today's Indianapolis Star, has an interesting article on the wages that Indiana's service industry workers earn on the job. Waiters and Waitresses are still only making $2.13 an hour plus tips, which works out to be $12-$15 an hour. As can be imagined this is a small amount in which we are asking the people who serve us food and drinks to live on. When you factor this amount in with the fact that most restaurants and bars do not offer health insurance, you have a group of people who desperately need to work in an environment that does not give them cancer. The servers and bartenders of today unfortunately could be the individuals of tomorrow who need government assistance for health care costs if they work in a smoky place. Indiana and Indianapolis needs to pass a strong smokefree air law that protects all workers from the cancer causing chemicals in secondhand smoke. We need a strong law now, and not one that is watered down with exemptions.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Star Editorial

Today, the Indianapolis Star published another supportive editorial on the need to pass a strong smokefree air law in Indiana. We thank the Star for continually standing up for the rights of all Indiana workers to breathe smokefree air. Also today, there were several news conference held around the state by local coalitions and organizations, including Smoke Free Indy, asking for the exemptions to be removed from HB 1018. It is important that all workers are protected from the harmful chemicals in secondhand smoke. Many of our neighbors have strong smoke free air laws that cover all workplaces including bars (Illinois, Ohio and Michigan) along with 21 other states. Now is the time to pass a strong smokefree air law for the health of all Hoosiers.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

HB 1018 Update

Yesterday, the Senate Public Policy Committee heard several hours of testimony both for and against HB 1018, the smokefree air bill. Unfortunately, not a lot of progress happened at the hearing with no real consensus being made by the members of the committee. They will be meeting again next week to decide on removing the exemptions for bars, membership clubs, casinos, nursing homes and/or tobacco stores. They could also decide to add in more exemptions that would exclude even more workplaces in Indiana, further exposing workers to the harmful chemicals in secondhand smoke.

During the hearing there was very moving testimony given by Alice Curry of Columbus, who has stage four lung cancer even though she never smoked, but she did work in smokey environments. She pleaded with the committee to not let another worker in Indiana experience what she is going through by passing a comprehensive smokefree air law. Though it appears that members of the committee may very well turn a deaf ear to her pleas and either not pass a comprehensive bill and or pass one that is so watered down that it proves to be useless.

We are surrounded by smokefree states, and every year more and more states are going smoke free in all businesses including restaurants and bars. How is it that Indiana is so far behind on this issue? Do we really need to be last on everything? The fact that the room yesterday was littered by tobacco and casino lobbyist may tip the hat as to why Indiana can't pass a good public health bill that will save lives and money and is instead budding up to special interests.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Smokefree Air Laws Do Not Impact Off Track Betting Parlors

A new study out in this month's Tobacco Control Journal, finds that smokefree air laws do not impact business in off-track betting parlors (OTB). The research was done by Jon Macy at Indiana University and covers OTB's in Indiana. Macy found that Fort Wayne's OTB did not loose business after going smokefree compared to the OTB's in Indianapolis and Merrillville that allow smoking. All three OTB's business fluctuated with the economy at a similar rate even after the Fort Wayne smokefree air law was implemented in 2007.

This study is very important because it debunks the claim by the gambling industry that going smokefree will hurt their business. This study aligns itself with the many other studies done across the nation which found that going smokefree does not harm restaurant or bar revenue.

If the state does not pass a smokefree air bill this session, hopefully Indianapolis will pass a law that covers all businesses including our OTB sooner rather than later. If 24 states and countless cities can go smokefree, Why Not Indy?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hearing on HB 1018

This Wednesday, March 23rd, at 1:30 p.m. in room 431 there will be a hearing on HB 1018 in the Senate Public Policy Committee. The hearing will offer a time for supporters of a statewide smokefree air law to come forward and show their support for the bill.

If you would like to contact members of the committee in support of HB 1018, you can visit this link to send messages to the individual Committee members.

List of Public Policy Committee Members:
Senator Ron Alting (Chair, Co-sponsor)
Senator Vaneta Becker
Senator Mike Delph
Senator Randy Head
Senator Jim Merritt
Senator Joe Zakas
Senator Tim Lanane
Senator Greg Taylor (Co-sponsor)
Senator Jim Arnold
Senator Brent Waltz

Every worker deserves the right to breathe smokefree air, including those in bars, casinos and private clubs.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

IBJ Article on Big Ten Tournament Bar Selection

Today, the Indianapolis Business Journal, has an article on the bar selection for each visiting team of the Big Ten Tournament. Three of the eleven teams were given smoky bars as their home bars, even though two come from Michigan which is a smokefree state. Penn State, which also got a smoky bar, has law that is similar to ours but is preempted from passing a stronger law.

A group of Michigan State Alumni sent a letter to the IBJ speaking out about the bar selection for their school. Here is the letter:

Recently, a bar guide was released for the Big Ten Tournament with the assigned bars for each school. I was shocked to see that Michigan State and Michigan were assigned bars that still allow smoking. In total, 8 of the 11 teams were assigned smokefree bars. This shows a lack of concern for our health. Why are Michigan residents singled out? We cherish our health just as much as anyone else. We’ve proven that by establishing a smokefree law in our state. Many Michigan State fans will not be happy leaving our smokefree state and traveling to Indianapolis where we will have to put our health at risk by inhaling the secondhand smoke of others. It’s time for Indiana to join Michigan and the rest of the Midwest and make all restaurants and bars smokefree.

Sincerely, Michigan State Alumni

For the second year in a row Smoke Free Indy has developed a bar guide that highlights the home bars along with a list of smokefree bars downtown. This is the guide mentioned in the letter. Smoke Free Indy would like all bars to be smokefree and we realize that visitors from other smokefree cities and states do too which is the point behind developing the guide.

If you want to speak out about some of the home bars selected being smoky you can contact the Indiana Sports Corporation here: or email:

Spending two hours in a bar is equal to smoking five cigarettes.

Smoke Free Indy Press Release on the Big Ten Bar Guide

Foul Play: Three Schools assigned smoking home bars for the Big Ten
Smoke Free Indy to provide list of downtown smoke-free venues to basketball fans

INDIANAPOLIS – The moment basketball players receive the ball they have three options: to shoot, pass or dribble. A player who excels in all three of these tasks is called a triple threat. Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State fans visiting Indiana for the Big Ten Basketball Tournaments will face their own triple threat: the tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide in secondhand smoke.
Out of the 11 teams in the Big Ten, these three schools were assigned home bars that allow smoking, exposing fans wishing to watch the games or congregate with their peers to potential lethal damage to hearts, lungs and arteries.

“Now that Michigan is smoke-free, we [Michigan residents] expect bars to be smoke-free. It would be great to be able to visit Indianapolis without having to go back home smelling like an ashtray,” said Jason Harder, East Lansing, MI, resident and Michigan State alumnus.

Penn State is the only Big Ten team coming from a city that still allows workplace smoking. Pennsylvania state law prevents cities and communities from passing a smoke-free air law. Furthermore, twenty-four states across the nation have smoke-free air laws covering all workplaces, and of the top 15 largest U.S. cities, only Indianapolis and Philadelphia are not 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. The guide also includes a list of the universities’ home bars. Fans can pick up a guide at several home bars and downtown hotels or download a copy at

“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.”

Many in the tourism and convention industry have expressed concern 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.

- ### -

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:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Five-Year Anniversary

Yesterday was an important anniversary for Indianapolis, one not really noticed by anyone but the Smoke Free Indy coalition, it was the five-year anniversary of Indianapolis' smokefree air law. On March 1, 2006, Indianapolis implemented its smokefree air law in restaurants and businesses. While at the time this was an important victory for Indianapolis and public health, five years has now lapsed and the victory seems pretty hollow, especially as countless cities and states have passed stronger policies around the nation.

It does not look like Indianapolis will pass a smoke free air law anytime soon with the lack of full support in the Council and Mayor's office. At this time our best hope is that the state can pass a strong smokefree air law this session, otherwise we may have to wait until 2012 after the election before anything can pass in Indianapolis. But let our smokefree air law serve as an example to the state legislature that if a weak law passes now it could take at least five years for the loopholes to be fixed.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Legislative Update

HB 1018, the smokefree air bill, has been sent to the Senate and assigned to the Committee on Public Policy. The Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air is hopeful that the amendments added in the House will be removed in the Senate, i.e. exemptions for bars, private clubs, nursing homes, tobacco stores and casinos.

HB 1233, has language that would remove the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency Executive Board, this bill is in the House for 2nd reading. It is still too early to determine what this bill will mean for tobacco funding in Indiana. Last year there was a bill introduced to eliminate the Board and merge staff with ISDH, there is a good possibility that this bill is being setup to have the same language. It is important to maintain tobacco control funding in Indiana to combat the $426 million spent by tobacco companies.

HB 1001, the budget bill, has the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency in at $9.2 million. But there are efforts to reduce funding by an additional million dollars which is a bigger reduction than what is proposed for other state agencies.

HB 1405, is also making its way from the House to the Senate, this bill will bring Indiana Code up-to-date with the Federal Legislation passed in 2009 that regulates the tobacco industry.

We will keep you updated on these bills as they move through the House and Senate.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cigarette Sales to Minors Down

Good news from the Indiana Tobacco Retailer Inspection Program, cigarette sales to minor has reached a new low, only 3.8% of retailers sold cigarettes to minors in 2010. At one point 40% of retailers in Indiana sold cigarettes to minors. This reduction is a great success for the Indiana State Excise Police and Indiana as a whole. If a retailer does not sell tobacco to a minor than that minor is less likely to become a lifetime smoker that negatively impacts their own health and the health care system as a whole.

Yesterday, Dr. Richard Feldman had a great editorial on the impact of limited tobacco funding in Indiana. Indiana's current funding for tobacco prevention is $9.2 million, far less than the CDC recommended level of $78.8 million a year.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Michigan Not Negatively Impacted By Going Smoke Free

In December, the Michigan Department of Treasury released a report, The Early Impact of Michigan's Smoking Ban, finding that the statewide smoke free air law has not made an impact on the states restaurant and bar industry. This study mirrors the many other reports from cities and states around that nation that have also found that going smoke free does not hurt bar and restaurant business and in some cases can actually increase sales.

Hopefully the state legislature will use this new data as reasoning to pass a statewide smoke free air law that covers all businesses including bars.

Monday, January 31, 2011

HB 1018 Passes House

The House of Representatives just passed HB 1018, the smoke free air bill, out of the House 68-31. Thanks to those Representatives who voted in favor of making Indiana the next smoke free state. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration and hopefully removal of the exemptions added in the House.

Now is the time to contact your Senator in favor of making ALL Indiana workplaces smoke free this year.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Local Media Gets It

The local print media gets the fact that Indiana and Indianapolis needs to pass a smoke free air law this session or very soon for the health of all workers. So why doesn't the state legislature or our local elected officials get it? Yesterday the Indianapolis Star had an editorial requesting that the state legislature listen to Indiana citizens who want a strong smoke free air law and not to those lobbying on behalf of casinos, bars and big tobacco. This week the Indianapolis Business Journal has an editorial urging Mayor Ballard to stand up and support the effort to make Indianapolis completely smoke free. Bruce Hetrick also has a wonderful opinion piece on the exemption for casinos in HB 1018, the proposed smoke free air bill.

Thanks to the Star, the IBJ and Bruce Hetrick for getting the fact that we are falling behind the rest of the country by not passing a comprehensive smoke free air law that protects our workers from secondhand smoke.

Hopefully this will be the year that the state legislature listens to this sound advice by passing a strong smoke free air law. If they do not pass a law this year than lets hope a watered down version does not get passed and we try again in 2012.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

HB 1018 Watered Down..

Yesterday, in the full House of Representatives, HB 1018 got very watered down with exemptions for bars, private clubs and nursing homes. These exemptions are in addition to the ones added in committee for tobacco stores and casinos. The current version of the bill would make all other businesses smoke free such as restaurants, law offices and factories. One good thing that did happen yesterday is that a proposed amendment to add preemption to the bill which would prevent Indianapolis from passing a stronger bill was voted down.

The progress of HB 1018 is very disappointing with 22 other states already having stronger smoke free air laws than this and with more and more states passing stronger laws every year. It is hard to understand why our legislators want to pass a weak bill with so many holes when no other state in the country is passing such a law. I mean seriously we are surrounded by states that are smoke free in all businesses including bars; Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc. Last week Terre Haute added its self to the list of cities with strong smoke free air laws by passing a law that will make all businesses smoke free including bars and restaurants. Representative Charlie Brown has a great quote in today's Star "It’s unconscionable that Indiana always brings up the rear,” Brown said. “If a North Carolina can do this, what does that say about Indiana?... It’s mind-boggling how we are so backwards.”

Our partners with the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air are working hard to get these added exemptions removed from HB1018 before it gets to the Senate. To learn more about them visit their facebook page:

Please take the time to contact your Representative or Senator in support of making ALL Indiana businesses smoke free this legislative session:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

HB 1018 Advances

Yesterday, the House Public Health committee voted 9-3 to send HB 1018 to the full House. The committee did vote to exempt casinos and tobacco stores from the bill. The bill still has to get through the full House and the Senate before it can become a law. There is also a chance that additional amendments or exemptions can be added to the bill in the future. It would be great if all Indiana businesses were included in the law, and we hope that additional exemptions are not added in the future.

Here is an article in today's Indianapolis Star on the bill:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Matthew Tully Article

In today's Indianapolis Star, Matthew Tully pens a great article on the need to make Indianapolis completely smoke free, that we are falling behind many other places that already have smoke free air laws. He brings up a good point when he mentions that those visitors who will be coming here for the Super Bowl will most likely be coming from a city or state that is already smoke free. What will they think when they come to a place where we favor 23% of the population over the health of our workers and the 77% that does not smoke? It will be interesting to see what happens this upcoming election with the known support of Melina Kennedy for smoke free air and the denial that it is even an issue by Mayor Ballard.

Matthew Tully's article reminds me of the YouTube video produced in 2009 by the American Lung Association on what happened to the then Proposal 371 with the Mayor's intervention.

In other news, HB 1018 the smoke free air bill will be heard for a vote today in the Public Health committee at 3:30 p.m. in the House Chambers. The bill is expected to pass but will probably include exemptions for casinos and cigar bars. We of course would want the bill to cover all workplaces, but it is a long legislative session so we will have to wait to see how it all plays out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Terre Haute To Go Smoke Free!

Last night the Terre Haute City Council voted unanimously to make the entire city smoke free. The smoke free air law will cover all businesses except outdoor areas, some hotel rooms and tobacco shops, the law goes into effect July 1, 2012.

Way to go Terre Haute for passing a smoke free air bill protecting all workers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. If Terre Haute can go smoke free, Why Not Indy?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hearing on HB1018

Tomorrow, 1/12, there will be a hearing of HB 1018, the smoke free air bill, in the Public Health Committee. The exact time of the hearing is to be determined but it will occur sometime in the afternoon immediately following the adjournment of the House session. There will be public testimony taken on the bill if you are interested in testifying.

For live updates during the hearing follow Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Airs Twitter feed:

Or check our facebook page:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bill to Watch

Representatives Charlie Brown and Eric Turners smoke free air bill is HB 1018, please add this number to your bill tracker. There may be an accompanying bill in the Senate but so far nothing is listed on the state website. HB 1018 is a good piece of legislation that if passed would make all Indiana workplaces smoke free including restaurants, bars and casinos. It will be interesting to see what happens to this bill during the legislative process, hopefully Indiana passes a strong bill that protects all workers from the harmful chemicals in secondhand smoke.