Smoke-Free Indy Promotes Smoking Ban in Indianapolis

Tonight the Indianapolis City Council will hold a Committee Hearing on Proposal 371, a suggested law that will ban smoking in all workplaces in the Circle City. The proposal was introduced to the Indianapolis City Council earlier this month. An anti-smoking group is placing pressure on the City-County Council to ban smoking in all workplaces including bowling alleys, bars and restaurants.

The group, Smoke-Free Indy, argues that employees who breath in someone else’s smoke at work endangers their own health everyday. Smoke-Free Indy’s claims are not unfounded, they have the research to prove it. They conducted an air quality study, which compared smoking environments to places where smoking is not allowed.

In the study, ten workplaces throughout Indy had their air quality measured. Smoke-Free Indy found that indoor air pollution was 11 times higher in smoking venues, as compared to non-smoking Indianapolis businesses. Click here to read the study for yourself.

“It is time to enact a comprehensive public health ordinance that seeks to protect people in Indianapolis – our patients – from the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke. It is unconscionable especially in this current economy to place our citizens in a position of having to decide between their own health and whether or not to keep their current job,” said Dr. Christopher Doehring, St. Francis Hospital.

Many Indianapolis restaurants and Indianapolis bars are already going smoke free. Crackers Comedy Club, where Smoke-Free Indy announced the results of their study has already gone smoke free in both their Broad Ripple Village and in Indianapolis downtown locations. The famous Indianapolis comedy club found that more and more performers were asking for smoke free shows.

Many proponents of Proposal 371 wish to reduce heart attack rates in the Indianapolis community, pointing to evidence of this happening in other communities with smoking bans. However, some Indianapolis restaurant and Indianapolis bar owners feel a smoking ban will hurt business. They argue it should be a decision made by Indianapolis business owners.

And of course their are many smokers in Indianapolis who are adverse to the idea, when smoking is already restricted in so many places. But medical experts like Dr. Doehring say there is no safe levels of secondhand smoke.

“Eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace is the most significant public health measure the city county could will address this year,” said Doehring.

Defenders of the expanded ban point to 360 cities across the United States that have gone completely smoke free in all workplaces including restaurants and bars. Not only is Indiana behind the times, they say, this ban is necessary to maintain Indianapolis health.