2012-05-22 / Front Page

State Smoking Ban Places Tough Restrictions On Fraternal Clubs, Public Places And Businesses

Many Businesses And Clubs Have Begun To Comply Here In Owen
Staff Report


All businesses and many other public places will be required to have signage posted informing visitors of a new state law which will prohibit smoking within eight feet of a public entrance beginning July 1. Signs must read much like the one shown here at the entrance to Babbs SuperValu in Spencer. (Staff Photo) All businesses and many other public places will be required to have signage posted informing visitors of a new state law which will prohibit smoking within eight feet of a public entrance beginning July 1. Signs must read much like the one shown here at the entrance to Babbs SuperValu in Spencer. (Staff Photo) A new statewide smoking ban will take effect Sunday, July 1st throughout Indiana for most public places, places of employment, government buildings and property, as well as many private and fraternal clubs.

House Enrolled Act 1149 also requires all businesses and public buildings to have signage in place that reads as follows: ‘State Law Prohibits Smoking Within 8 Feet of this Entrance.’

Many places, including bars and taverns and fraternal clubs such as veterans organizations, can elect to permit smoking, provided they meet specific state requirements.

The enforcement of the law may be made locally by the State Department of Health, the Owen County Health Department or any law enforcement officer.

“There is no question that smoking is bad for people, primary, secondary and tertiary (third-hand) smoke is all well proven to be bad for people,” Owen County Health Officer Dr. Diane Wells said. “Therefore I think it’s incumbent upon legislative bodies and all adults to protect young people from the dangers of secondary and tertiary smoking, and also to keep youngsters from having access to cigarettes. On the other hand, we do respect the right of people to make their own choices and as long as those choices don’t endanger other people, then I certainly endorse their privilege to make those choices. It’s the right thing to do and it is the law, so we will enforce it.”

Anyone smoking in an area where smoking is prohibited by law commits a Class B infraction or a Class A infraction if the person has committed three prior infractions. However, dollar amounts of specific fines have yet to be disclosed.

“If it’s a fast food place and an employee gets caught, the employee gets cited, so does the manager and the corporate office as well,” Owen County Health Department Office Manager Sheila Reeves explained.

In Spencer, members of the American Legion Post #285 will vote on the topic during the organization’s next meeting in early June, but will likely remain a smoking permitted facility. This will mean no persons under the age of 18 will be allowed inside the building.

At the Spencer VFW Post #1405, a mass mailing will be sent to all membership in the near future requesting they attend a post meeting to vote on the matter. Similarly, the Gosport VFW Post #7850 planned to vote on the matter Monday night during its monthly meeting.

“All clubs must have their votes by June 30 to be in compliance with the law, whether they choose to go smoking or non. The basic decision is whether they want to allow those under the age of 18 inside the facility,” Owen County Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Coordinator Dave Newgent said.

Newgent said that a component of the law notes that any facility deemed to be smoke-free will no longer have ashtrays located outdoors.

“The individual can be cited, as well as the management of the entity,” Newgent said. “The third time an entity is cited, the excise police have the option to pull their business or liquor license.”

At the Spencer Moose Lodge, a vote of membership has yet to be taken, but action will likely be taken to allow smoking in the bar area via the back entrance, with no smoking in the dinning area, where a separate ventilation system is in place.

At the Cunot Community Center, smoking will be prohibited as of July 1st.

“We’ve tried to pass it through two or three times with much opposition, so we’re going to just wait until July 1st when the new law goes into effect,” Cunot Community Center President Reese Nichols said. “I’m certainly not unhappy with it. Everyone knows that, as of July 1st, it will no longer be a smoking facility. It may affect our bingo nights some, but I think it will be good for the center.”

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