Indy Star Editorial: Put Hoosiers’ health above other interests

Another supportive editorial! Thanks to the Indy Star for their editorial that ran today. The Star has long been in support of smoke-free Indy and Indiana. Read their editorial here, or below.


In the next few days, members of the Indiana House and the Indianapolis City-County Council will have critical opportunities — even an obligation — to protect Hoosiers’ health by passing a comprehensive workplace smoking ban.


They must not be deterred by misplaced arguments about personal rights. No one has a right to endanger another person’s health. (And the scientific evidence on the danger of secondhand smoke is overwhelming.)


Nor should they let the fears of some business owners sidetrack them from safeguarding more than 6 million Hoosiers from heart disease, cancer and other major illnesses associated with cigarette smoke. Twenty-nine states already ban smoking in restaurants and bars, and the well-established record in those places — from Arizona to Wisconsin, Ohio to Utah — is that business not only rebounds but flourishes after customers adjust to the new rules.


On the state level, House Bill 1149 would prohibit smoking in most workplaces, including restaurants and bars. That bill has been approved in committee and was scheduled to come up on the House floor for amendments on Tuesday. However, the House lost yet another day of business because Democrats once again stayed off the floor in protest of “right to work” legislation.


The deadline for the House to send legislation to the Senate is only a week away. At this critical time, it’s crucial for Hoosiers to press their state representatives for passage of HB 1149.


A proposed smoking ban also is at a key stage on the local level. The City-County Council is scheduled to vote Monday night on an ordinance that would add bars to the existing workplace ban. Public sentiment for the ban is strong, but the council has failed to act in the recent past partially out of partisan gamesmanship and partly because of an unwillingness to compromise. That must not be the case Monday night.


In a state and metro area with significantly higher than average death rates for cardiovascular disease, failure to pass a comprehensive workplace smoking ban may well cost the lives of many Hoosiers.


It’s time to act. Time to finally move forward.