FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Emily Coyle,
(517) 449-6036 cell
Bill Would Have Been One of Weakest in the Nation
INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – April 5, 2011 – Despite months of effort by lawmakers, thousands of smokefree advocates, and hundreds of businesses, local coalitions and health organizations throughout the state, the Indiana Senate Public Policy Committee today failed to pass House Bill 1018, the smokefree air legislation. Further, Committee Chair Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, refused to hear amendments that would have put bars and taverns back in the bill to strengthen it and protect a greater number of Hoosier workers from the effects of secondhand smoke in the workplace.
The following is a statement from Danielle Patterson, chair of the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air:“Today is truly a devastating loss not only for the thousands of Hoosier workers who are exposed every day at work to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, and not only for the two-thirds of Hoosiers who support statewide smokefree air, but for public health policy in general. Senator Alting stood at a unique point in Indiana’s public health history. He had the power, entrusted to him by his own employer – the people of Indiana – to profoundly improve the quality of life for countless Hoosiers from now into the future by protecting workers in bars and restaurants from secondhand smoke.
“Unfortunately, House Bill 1018 had been hijacked by well-financed special interests, to the point where it really does nothing except protect the status quo. It is our hope that the irony is not lost on the taxpayers who are shouldering the burden of more than $390 million in secondhand smoke-related health care costs each year, and the complete lack of evidence that allowing smoking provides any economic or fiscal benefit to businesses.”
“We are not giving up. We know that smokefree air is the only way to protect workers from exposure to secondhand smoke, and we will continue to fight for a strong, smokefree air bill that protects employees of bars, taverns and restaurants – workers who deserve the same protections as those in office buildings, schools and other smokefree environments.”