Wednesday, March 9, 2011

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.

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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:

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