Indiana Senate Panel Takes Up Proposed Smoking Ban
An Indiana Senate committee has been hearing hours of of public comment today on a proposed statewide smoking ban. The House-passed measure contains exemptions for casinos, private clubs, hookah bars and tobacco shops. Bars and taverns would be given 18 months to phase in the ban. Opponents such as Charles Rogers questioned why the government should get involved in the use of a legal product. "When do you come into the American household and tell a person what they can do and what they cannot do in their own home? When did we lose that right, that freedom? Here again, we are losing freedoms, we are all adults, we all have the right to make a choice," he said. Supporters of the bill say the legislation is needed to protect the health of workers and others exposed to second-hand smoke. Kevin O'Flaherty spoke on behalf of the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air, a coalition of health groups. "Every right we have ends when it infringes on another person’s right to health, safety and welfare," he told the Indiana Senate's Public Policy Committee.A smoking ban has cleared the Indiana House six times but has never gotten past the committee level in the Senate.