Indiana state senators consider exactly where to snuff out smoking

Indiana could snuff out smoking

April 5, 2011

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A state-wide smoking ban continues to move through the Indiana legislature. The measure has already passed the Indiana House and is now in the hands of state senators.

On Wednesday the Senate’s public policy committee will consider exactly what public places Hoosiers can and cannot smoke; they will consider exemptions for casinos, bars, fraternal clubs, smoke shops and nursing homes.

Policy committee chair Ron Alting says proponents lobbying for a more comprehensive smoking ban with fewer exemptions could end up killing the chances to enact any ban at all.

Lobbyists for gambling industry contend a ban would hurt their business, but state coffers would suffer, too; the state from collecting millions in revenue from gambling operations.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency estimated Indiana could lose more than $180 million a year if a ban is applied to casinos.

Nonetheless, volunteers of the American Cancer Society are expected to lobby lawmakers for a tougher ban before tomorrow’s committee vote.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels says he support any smoking ban that makes it his desk.

State Representative Charlie Brown of Gary started the legislative push for a statewide smoking ban.

Statewide smoking bans have been suggested for several years but never cleared the Senate.  Some Indiana towns have enacted their own bans on smoking in public places, and proponents say that may have bolster support for a statewide ban.