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House Committee Passes Smoking Ban With Few Exemptions

ashtray, smoking, cigarette

Photo: Lago A. R. (Flickr)

A statewide smoking ban has advanced.

The ban sailed through the House Public Health Committee by a vote of 9 to 3, without any attempt to add exemptions other than one for retail tobacco shops, added by the authors themselves.

Co-author Charlie Brown (D-Gary) says the real battle will come on the House floor, with bars fighting for an exemption, and casinos lobbying to expand theirs from the gaming floor to their entire property. But Brown says he remains confident sponsors have the right combination this year.

Along with gaming floors and tobacco shops, the bill‘s only exemptions are for cigar and hookah bars, and for adults-only social clubs that vote to allow smoking. If the ban does pass the House, it will go to the Senate Public Policy Committee — the same panel which overwhelmingly killed the bill last year. Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) notes health advocates insisted on a bill with no exceptions last year — if they continue to support this year‘s version, he says the bill may fare better.

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