Indiana Now “Smoke Free”
Starting July 1st, severe restrictions on smoking in public places went into effect statewide in Indiana. It’s called the “Smoke-Free Air” law (House Enrolled Act 1149). The gist is that it is now illegal to smoke tobacco in any place of employment, in public places and within 8 feet of egress to those areas.
The usual suspects are exempt, including casinos, horse tracks, private clubs and stand-alone bars. But this can be modified by local ordinance and many communities are expected to further restrict smoking.
According to the legislation:
”Sec. 13. (a) This chapter does not prohibit a county, city, town, or other governmental unit from adopting an ordinance more restrictive than this chapter. (b) This chapter does not supersede a smoking ordinance that is adopted by a county, city, town, or other governmental unit before the effective date of this chapter and that is more restrictive than this chapter.”
Advocates expect this to pay off in lower smoking rates and reductions in the amount smoked for those who don’t quit. Nicotine is still on offer, with smokeless tobacco products, patches and gums allowed for anyone who still wants to pursue their addiction.
One interesting exception is a business that retails tobacco, doesn’t admit anyone under 21 years of age and allows cigar or hookah smoking, but not cigarette smoking.
The full text of the law can be found here.
According to the Post Tribune,”A new Ball State University study finds that 21 percent of Hoosiers admit to regularly lighting up a cigarette, costing the state nearly $2.6 billion in productivity losses and $2.2 billion in health care costs each year. Indiana ranks 42nd worst among all 50 states in terms of percentage of the population [who smoke].”
Fines for the first offense can reach $1,000 and when someone racks up three or more, $10,000. That’s a pretty hefty bite, but enforcement will largely depend on public complaints.