State smoking ban bill would trump rules in Lafayette, WL

By ERIC WEDDLE • • January 21, 2010

A no-smoking sign is in plain sight on the door of DT Kirby's in downtown Lafayette on Wednesday. (By Brent Drinkut/Journal & Courier)

Lafayette-area smokers, bar owners and anti-tobacco advocates have heard it before.

Proposed statewide smoking restrictions, advanced Wednesday by an Indiana House committee, have become a familiar story, they say.

But a smoking ban bill’s author, state Rep. Charlie Brown, a Gary Democrat, said this third attempt to stop smoking in many public places has more bite than before. And Brown said the time has come for statewide smoking restrictions.

If passed in its current form, the statewide measure would push aside smoking ordinances in place in Lafayette and West Lafayette. Stricter in scope, the bill would ban cigarette, pipe, cigar and other tobacco puffing just about everywhere, including bars, restaurants, private clubs, hotel rooms and tobacco stores.

No one at Lafayette’s Ben Hur Tavern Wednesday afternoon was buying into his plan.

“Oh, Brown is trying again?” asked Steve Bolin, of Lafayette, as he finished a cigarette. “I am not saying that smoking has never hurt anyone, but we should be able to smoke if we want.”

The South Fourth Street bar is one of 41 businesses in Lafayette with an exemption allowed under Lafayette’s citywide smoking ban.

As part of Lafayette’s ordinance, passed in 2008, bars, restaurants and other businesses that only employ and serve those 21 years and older are eligible for the exemption.

If Brown has his way, House Bill 1131 will not make exceptions for private clubs or bars. It does allow an exemption for casinos and parimutuel horse racing venues.

“Last year, they hired everyone who was available to lobby against the legislation,” Brown said of the gaming industry. “I am wholeheartedly in favor of a smoking ban in all places. But I have to crawl before I walk.”

He said a ban that included casinos could hurt their business and reduce tax revenue to the state at a time when Indiana’s tax collections are falling far short of previous expectations.

Smoke-free workplace laws have been implemented in eight counties and 31 cities in Indiana, according to the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency. But the rules vary, and many communities have no regulations at all.

Brown said he wants a uniform state code.

The Indiana House passed a similar bill last year. But the measure failed in the Senate and died during late-session negotiations.

Stan Balser, owner of the Ben Hur, said he is opposed to any bill that would wipe away his business’ exemption. He favors Lafayette’s current ordinance and wants it to stick.

“You have a choice of where you can go,” Balser said. “I don’t smoke —  haven’t for 15 years. But people should have the choice. If you want to smoke, you can come here. If you don’t want to be around it, you can go to West Lafayette.”

In 2007, West Lafayette banned smoking at all bars and restaurants and many other workplaces. Lighting up is allowed only at tobacco shops and designated hotel rooms.
Tristan Kirby of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Tippecanoe County said a blanket ban would offer the most protection to employees from secondhand smoke. That’s the major push behind Brown’s legislation.

“There is no safe level of secondhand smoking,” Kirby said. “Any level can be detrimental to an employee. The only way to be truly free of secondhand smoke, 100 percent, is to not allow smoking inside a facility.”

Kirby said there are worries about the health of casino workers. But she said the Tobacco Free Partnership would support House Bill 1131.

Lafayette City Council member Steve Meyer, D-at large, called the bill a double-edged sword.

Meyer pushed for the amendment in the Lafayette smoking ban to exempt businesses serving and employing those over 21.

“I think it is good to be uniform across the state, but I think our way is better because it allows business owners to make a decision,” Meyer said. “Those type of business owners should retain that decision.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

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  1. Bob says:

    Why don’t they just look at the many problems these bans have caused their neighbors. Many small neighborhood bars have to ignore the bans just to stay in business.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    You forgot to mention he pulled his smoking prohibition bill yesterday. Its DEAD.


    Ask the anti-tobacco folks to tell you what truly is in second hand smoke…when it burns from the coal its oxygenated and everything is burned and turned into water vapor…thats right water…you ever burned leaves in the fall…know how the heavy smoke bellows off…….

    Thats the organic material releasing the moisture in the leaves, the greener the leaves/organic material the more smoke thats made..thats why second hand smoke is classified as a class 3 irritant by osha and epa as of 2006……..IN 1993 EPA decided to change the listing of shs to a carcinogen for political reasons ……because it contained a trace amount of 6 chemicals measured in picograms so small even sophisticated scientific equipment can hardly detect it.

    If the same standards to make shs/ets a carcinogen were applied to a glass of tap water, certain foods and most other things in the natural environment they would also be carcinogens. The failure of the EPA to use the dose makes the poison chart in this political decision makes their entire claim a moot point.

    However osha still maintains shs/ets as an irritant only and maintains the dose makes the poison position…….as osha is in charge of indoor air quality its decisions are based on science not political agendas as epa’s is. We can see this is true after a federal judge threw out the epa’s study on shs as junk science..What OSHA should be doing is applying the general duty clause and set indoor standards where limits of safe levels are set. But dog gone it,thats why OSHA didnt set a standard because there was just nothing in shs/ets that could be deemed harmful to humans. So it was left as it was a simple class 3 irritant.

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008 British Medical Journal & WHO conclude secondhand smoke “health hazard” claims are greatly exaggerated The BMJ published report at:

    concludes that “The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer are considerably weaker than generally believed.” What makes this study so significant is that it took place over a 39 year period, and studied the results of non-smokers who lived with smokers…..

    meaning these non-smokers were exposed to secondhand smoke up to 24 hours per day; 365 days per year for 39 years. And there was still no relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. In light of the damage to business, jobs, and the economy from smoking bans the BMJ report should be revisited by lawmakers as a reference tool and justification to repeal the now unnecessary and very damaging smoking ban laws. Also significant is the World Health Organization (WHO) study:

    Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer-official By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent ” The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: ‘There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood.’ ” And if lawmakers need additional real world data to further highlight the need to eliminate these onerous and arbitrary laws, air quality testing by Johns Hopkins University proves that secondhand smoke is up to 25,000 times SAFER than occupational (OSHA) workplace regulations.

    The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke About 94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 3 % is carbon monoxide. The last 3 % contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke… but found, obviously, in very small quantities if at all.This is because most of the assumed chemicals have never actually been found in secondhand smoke. (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80). Most of these chemicals can only be found in quantities measured in nanograms, picograms and femtograms. Many cannot even be detected in these amounts: their presence is simply theorized rather than measured. To bring those quantities into a real world perspective, take a saltshaker and shake out a few grains of salt. A single grain of that salt will weigh in the ballpark of 100 million picograms! (Allen Blackman. Chemistry Magazine 10/08/01). – (Excerpted from “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains” with permission of the author.)

    The Myth of the Smoking Ban ‘Miracle’ Restrictions on smoking around the world are claimed to have had a dramatic effect on heart attack rates. It’s not true.

    As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that: “Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997

    Heres what the smoke free groups did to try and prove a connection to heart disease and second hand smoke….

    The “30 minute” experiments that the statement is based on have nothing at all to do with the exposures one might get on a park bench sitting next to a smoker or even with what one would normally get in any decently ventilated bar or restaurant.

    The exposures in the supportive experiments involve smoke concentrations at levels of 400% to 2,000% as high as what used to be measured in the middle of the smoking sections of pressurized airplanes!! (Which used to be held up as one of the worst smoking environments.)

    The experiments take nonsmokers who avoid smoke in all their daily home, social, and working life, force them to sign papers

    acknowledging the “danger” they are about to be put in, and then sealing them in smoke-choked chambers that nonsmokers would run screaming from if they weren’t being paid $100 to endure 30 minutes for science. . . . When the poor souls come stumbling out blood test measurement show small changes that could theoretically relate to heart disease.

    The changes are like ones other experimenters find when they feed subjects a bowl of corn flakes and milk…. but in the kooky world of antismoking research those results get twisted into representing an unusual and deadly threat.

    And remember: they only get those results in EXTREME conditions, nothing like normal restaurant/park or even decent bar/casino exposures. . . . The Antismokers today are lying just like Big Tobacco did back in the 1950s.
    Antismoking extremism needs to be put to rest. Smoking is unhealthy like a lot of other things, but the smoke from burning smokers at the stake smells a lot worse than Newports. . . .

    Cornflakes, White Bread Could Boost Heart Risk
    ‘High-glycemic’ carbs like these hamper blood vessel function, study shows.

    THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) — Eating a diet rich in carbohydrates that boost blood sugar levels — foods such as cornflakes or white bread — may hamper the functioning of your blood vessels and raise your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, a new study suggests.

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