(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana's Smoking Ban has officially kicked in. The new law primarily bans smoking in restaurants, workplaces, hotels and building lobbies in Indiana.
It does not prohibit smoking in bars, taverns, casinos, retail tobacco shops, cigar and hookah bars or private membership and fraternal clubs.
American Lung Association of Indiana Spokesperson Lindsay Grace says the ban is a step in the right direction, but the group wanted state lawmakers to pass a complete ban. Grace says the law leaves out too many workers and has too many exemptions.
Still, Grace says the ban should help reduce the number of deaths from second hand smoke each year in the state. Currently, about 1200 Hoosiers die each year from ailments brought on by exposure to second hand smoke.
Grace says bar and restaurant workers have upwards of a 30 percent higher chance of lung cancer brought on by exposure to smokers. Bars and veteran's posts across Indiana have filed suit against the ban, claiming it's unconstitutional and interferes with personal rights, but Grace says the likelihood of their success is minimal. She says smoking bans nationwide have withstood strong challenges.
The statewide smoking ban affects the outside too. Last week, if you walked down a commercial street like Market Street in Indianapolis, odds are you'd eventually get a lungful of smoke from people banished outside by existing smoking bans.
The new law not only requires smoke-free workplaces, but bans smoking within eight feet of the door. Businesses must remove any ashtrays set up near the entrance.
Indiana Campaign for Smoke-Free Air spokeswoman Danielle Patterson expects people will respect the change and not light up. Without the buffer zone, Patterson says even the inside of smoke-free buildings can often become smoky, because of vents or open windows.
The Indiana Chamber is selling signs for 15 dollars that meet state requirements for a posted notice of the new restrictions. Chamber members get a discount.
The ban and buffer zones don't apply to bars, casinos and off-track betting parlors, or private clubs, although some cities, including Indianapolis, have passed stronger local bans.
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