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Smoke-Free Communities: After One Year, Hoosiers Are Breathing Easier By Casey Williams

Believe it or not, July 1 marks the one year anniversary of the implementation of the statewide smoke-free air policy, which former Governor, Mitch Daniels signed into law.

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elieve it or not, July 1 marks the one year anniversary of the implementation of the statewide smoke-free air policy, which former Governor, Mitch Daniels signed into law. The historic bill was years in the making, but not without controversy. Some were against the law and were afraid businesses would suffer; many felt the law carried too many exemptions to be effective. After the first year, one thing is for sure, Hoosiers are breathing easier and business has never been healthier. More workers are now protected and smoke-free businesses are making and saving money. The City Of Evansville implemented a more comprehensive clean air ordinance in April of 2012, following the Vanderburgh County ordinance which took effect in July of 2011. However, many of the workers in the counties surrounding Vanderburgh had little protection from secondhand smoke in the workplace until the state-wide

8 | August 2013

clean air law was passed. Business owners throughout the state are now enjoying the benefits of clean air. “My employees like working in a smoke-free environment. The atmosphere in the tavern has improved tremendously and my cleaning costs have been cut drastically,” said Scott Smith, owner, Olde Downtown Tavern, Bedford. Businesses in Indiana were ready to make the transition, in fact, 97 percent of the businesses were compliant with the law. Health advocates are not surprised so many people are respecting the law. It has been a very positive experience. The facts are clear; over 70 percent of Hoosiers say they prefer smoke-free environments. “I did not realize going smoke-free would make such a positive difference; I didn’t know how bad it was to breathe in here, until the smoke was gone,” said Joseph Phillips, AmVets Post #66 Commander, South Bend.

• www.evansvillemediagroup.com

“The state law was a great step in the right direction for many communities throughout Indiana that did not have any kind of law or ordinance in place to protect their workers from dangerous work conditions,” said Casey Williams of the Healthy Communities Partnership. Indiana’s smoke-free air law has helped Hoosier businesses save money and attract new customers, while giving Hoosier smokers an incentive to beat their addiction to tobacco. With fewer places to smoke, there has never been a better time to quit, and those Hoosiers that need help quitting can call 1.800.QUIT.NOW or visit www.quitnow.com for free professional help.

Visit www.breatheindiana.com to learn how Indiana’s work force is breathing easier, and how local communities can protect more employees and patrons from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Today, let’s celebrate, because we’re all breathing a little easier.

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