Smoking banned on entire Statehouse campus - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Smoking banned on entire Statehouse campus

Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis, Nov. 17 - The governor's announcement made in the midst of 100 Stoney Creek Elementary students seemed innocent enough.

"We are going to extend campuswide the no smoking policy that now only pertains to the first 50 feet of each building."

"Not being able to smoke on state property is absolutely ridiculous."

As you might expect, the edict did not blow over well with Statehouse smokers.

"Some people eat chocolate to cope with stress. We smoke cigarettes to deal with stress. This is a stressful place to be for eight hours."

"What about the little room they got over there in the state building where they can smoke inside?"

The ban does beg the question. If state employees are not allowed to smoke, what about state lawmakers? Right now a lawmaker need merely walk off the third floor balcony when the lawmakers return in January and go to a designated smoking area. So the question is, will lawmakers still be able to smoke there?

Governor Mitch Daniels says, "I don't know if there is a legal jurisdiction question, but we believe it should be campuswide and hope there will be voluntary compliance with it."

"They should come outside with us and find a place to smoke," says one state worker. "What's fair is fair."

It hardly seems fair that lawmakers' participation is voluntary while state employees who flagrantly violate the policy could have a notation made in their personal file, and that is not the only concern.

"Your breaks will go from 15 minutes to 30 minutes just because you've got to walk down two streets just to have a cigarette."

The governor says a state employee survey indicates five out of six workers who smoke want to quit the habit. The state will offer smoking cessation classes to help make that possible.

"I am not quitting smoking," says another employee. "He is not going to stop me. No one is going to stop me until I want to do it."

Smokers just want the governor to butt out.

While the governor says the announcement only effects the Statehouse campus, he is also exploring expanding this to all state buildings statewide.

State lawmakers will be in session next week for organizational day. No doubt smoking could turn into a burning issue.

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