notobacco

Michigan Now Smoke-Free: Will Indiana Be Last?

In State News on April 30, 2010 at 2:45 pm

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With Michigan’s smoke-free air law going into effect May 1, 2010, Indiana is among the last states that does not have a law that protects its workers from exposure to secondhand smoke. All of Indiana’s Midwest neighbors – Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio – have passed laws to protect workers in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars.

Other states in the Midwest that have passed comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws include Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and Iowa.

“Indiana is once again falling behind. The need for protection from secondhand smoke in all workplaces has never been more clear,” said Melissa Lewis, Chair of Smoke Free Indy. “We can no longer afford the heavy burden brought on from the health and economic impacts of secondhand smoke. Now is the time to make our state capital smoke-free.”

Smoke Free Indy hopes that Marion County will soon pass a comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance that protects all of Marion County’s workers from the known health hazards of secondhand smoke.

Nine cities and two counties in Indiana have passed comprehensive smoke-free air laws. Indianapolis’ current ordinance, which went into effect March 1, 2006, prohibits smoking in some workplaces but exempts bars, bowling alleys, and private membership clubs with liquor licenses.

“Our policymakers must not continue to wait for another body to do the job.  Workers in Indianapolis need our city-county council to take action now, and we hope the state will follow suit,” Lewis said.  “We congratulate the Michigan state legislature for taking such an important step that will allow Michigan workers to earn their paychecks in a healthier environment.  We hope that it serves as a call to action for our local policymakers to do the same.

Smoke Free Indy is a coalition of state and local public health organizations, community based organizations, physicians, businesses, schools, the faith community, and Marion County residents dedicated to reducing secondhand smoke, tobacco usage and tobacco initiation through education, prevention and advocacy. For more information visit: www.smokefreeindy.com.

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