Chesterton Tribune

Senate panel approves statewide smoking ban

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana Senate committee has approved a statewide smoking ban for Indiana businesses, despite objections over its exemptions for casinos and private clubs.

The Senate Policy Committee voted 8-2 on Wednesday, sending the plan to the full Senate.

The measure includes exemptions for the state’s gaming industry, tobacco stores, hookah bars and private clubs such as VWF halls.

Supporters and opponents called the selective carve-outs “hypocritical” and bad policy. The proposal’s authors acknowledged it wasn’t a prefect plan, but said it was the best they could do given the state’s political atmosphere and the gaming industry’s clout.

Lawmakers voted after listening to four hours of testimony from bar owners, doctors who said a partial smoking ban was better than no ban, and relatives of people killed by lung cancer.

Posted 2/23/2012