Smoke Free Celebration
It’s a celebration this weekend for the health of all Hoosiers. Indiana continues to move closer to becoming a tobacco-free state. Since July 1, 2012 every county in Indiana has a smoke-free air law. That means more Hoosiers are protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Smoking is not allowed in a place of employment, public places, state-owned vehicles and school buses. A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology proved even 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke is enough to injure blood vessels in young, healthy non-smokers. In addition, secondhand smoke hinders the body’s natural ability to repair the injured blood vessels. The chemicals in secondhand smoke have strong and persistent consequences on the body’s vascular system.
Here in Montgomery County the smoke free air law has given restaurants Little Mexico, Applebee’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Super China Buffet and the Forum a smoke free dining experience. Previously, smoke travelled freely throughout these establishments and did not confine itself just to the smoking section. The grounds of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum and Freedom Fest at Milligan Park on July 4 are now smoke free as well.
• The statewide policy went into effect on July 1, 2012.
• Smoking a lit cigarette, cigar, pipe or other tobacco smoking equipment is not permitted indoors, except in businesses not included in the policy.
• Businesses not covered by the statewide policy include: bars and taverns, casinos and off-track betting facilities, cigar bars, hookah bars, tobacco retail shops, private clubs whose members vote to allow smoking and home-based businesses whose only employees are family members.
• The smoke-free air policy sets a minimum standard for indoor workplaces and public places where smoking is regulated. The statewide law defines where people can and cannot smoke in communities where a current policy does not exist.
• A city or county may pass a stronger law than the statewide law by including additional smoking regulations.
• Indiana joins 35 other states in protecting workers from secondhand smoke in the workplace. Fifteen states have a comprehensive policy that covers all workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos.
• Businesses covered by the policy must post signs stating “smoking is prohibited within eight feet of this entrance” or use similar language. Signs must be visible at each public entrance.
• Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission, The State Department of Health, local health departments, Homeland Security’s fire and building safety division and law enforcement officers may enforce the policy.
• A violation of the policy is considered either a Class A or Class B infraction, depending on the nature of the violation. An infraction is a violation of a law that does not subject the person to a criminal conviction or jail time. A speeding ticket would be an example of an infraction. However a Class A or B infraction does come with a fine, usually $100.
If you or a loved one is ready to kick the habit, please call Indiana’s Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, you must be at least 13 years old to receive free services.
If you see violations of the smoke free air law you may file a complaint at www.in.gov/atc/2640.htm.