Indoor-Smoking Ban Defeated in Indiana

An Indiana lawmaker’s attempt to ban smoking in public places was derailed by opposition from both Republican committee members and anti-smoking lobbyists, the Gary, Ind.-based Post-Tribune reported April 23.

Indiana state Rep. Charlie Brown inserted language into a bill dealing with mental health issues that would have banned smoking in public places except casinos and other gaming establishments. In denying the late-session maneuver, Republican state Sen. Connie Lawson said the amendment never received a proper Senate hearing.

Brown earlier introduced legislation banning smoking in all indoor public places except restaurants, bars and casinos, and guided it through the House. But Indiana’s anti-smoking activists opposed the bill because it exempted some establishments, and the Senate Commerce Committee held no hearing on the bill.

Anti-smoking advocates also spoke against Brown’s latest attempt at legislation, saying that a majority of Indiana voters favored a total ban on smoking in public places.

“This is about the art of compromise,” Brown said. “I’m concerned this won’t get a serious hearing again for two years, because next year is an election year, and I’m afraid many of my colleagues won’t want to take a stand on this in an election year.” 

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