Indianapolis Bars Suing City Over Smoking Ban

City officials say they don't think the suit will prevent the ban from taking effect Friday.

ashtray, smoking, cigarette

Photo: Lago A. R. (Flickr)

The move bans smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces.

About a dozen Indianapolis bars are standing firm in their federal lawsuits against Mayor Greg Ballard‘s smoking ban law. The move bans smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces in the city with exemptions for private clubs, cigar bars and retail tobacco stores. It takes effect Friday at 6 a.m.

Road Dog Saloon Owner Wanda Goodpasture says the measure restricts the ability of private establishments to set their own rules.

“Well, it‘s just unconstitutional. It‘s taking our rights away to pick and choose. We should have the liberty. Cigarettes are legal! Smokers are not criminals,” Goodpasture says.

Goodpasture is among those seeking an injunction against the measure. Mayor Greg Ballard Spokesman Marc Lotter says the law will stand. Lotter says national precedent shows challenges against smoking bans have failed.

“Well, it‘s not entirely unexpected. When previous cities in Indiana and around the nation have enacted stronger smoking bans, there have often been lawsuits to block those. They‘ve rarely been successful if at all,” Lotter says. 

No word on when or if U.S. District Court will respond to the challenges.

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