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Will Bedford Become A Smoke-Free Community?

Last updated on Thursday, August 29, 2013

(BEDFORD) - Bedford City officials Tuesday night listened to more than 30 people discuss the potential of a potential smoke-free Bedford ordinance.

Mike Lewis of the Times Mail reports that 25 five people were in favor of the smoke-free plan, while a small group spoke against it.

Karin DuBois, a tobacco prevention advocate working through Hoosier Uplands, is spear heading the campaign for the smoke-free ordinance.

Michael McDonald, an anti-tobacco advocate from Hendricks County, said going smoke-free helped businesses in Avon and Plainfield, two communities that already have enacted such ordinances.

Four people spoke for tobacco retailers: Darren Collett of Collett Enterprises Inc. owns the Smoker Friendly outlet in Bedford and two dozen other stores. Shantea Lessign, manager of Bedford Smoker Friendly, Sean Musgrave a "certified retail tobaccoist." And Tim McKinney represented the National Association of Tobacco Outlets.

They did not dispute what the anti-tobacco speakers said, but they did ask for exceptions for tobacco retailers, which are open only to those age 18 and older. Musgrave says businesses need an exemption from tobacco-free rules so they can market their products.

Musgrave noted that business at retail tobacco stores is growing in Bedford compared to Bloomington and Columbus, two communities with smoke-free laws.

The smoke-free proposal is to "to close the loopholes and exemptions that were left by the statewide smoking law," according to DuBois.

The state law banned smoking in most public places. But some establishments, such as bars and casinos, were exempted. Private clubs also were left to let their memberships decide whether to ban smoking in their premises.

DuBois says the result has been confusion about where smoking is allowed and where it is banned.
City officials agreed to take input during a public hearing, which was conducted after Tuesday's council meeting.

If the council decides to pursue the issue, an ordinance will be presented at a later meeting.

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