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State Lawmakers Debate Smoking Ban

A bill to ban smoking in public places in Indiana likely will include a major exemption.  Members of the House Public Health Committee will vote next week to amend the measure so it allows smoking in casinos.   The decision to make the change came after listening to supporters and opponents of the ban testify Wednesday. Korina Walter is a former casino employee who tried to persuade lawmakers to clear the air for gamblers and those who serve them.

“My health costs were ridiculous even with insurance and my doctor can attest to that,” said Walter.  “My lung capacity is that of a smoker who smokes three packs of cigarettes a day and I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life.”

But the projected loss of revenue from patrons who go to neighboring state to smoke and gamble was too great for lawmakers to ignore. The fiscal impact of the bill shows Indiana could lose as about $190-million each of the next two years.

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