130 businesses ticketed for smoking violations in ban's first year

The state's smoking ban took effect last July.
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Dozens of tickets and fines have been handed out for violations of the state's smoking ban, which took effect one year ago.

At Lucky's on South Meridian Street, they always thought the smoking bans were unlucky. Manager Samantha Johnston says "business is probably down 65-70 percent."

But Lucky's enforces the no smoking law, so it is not on an unlucky list - those businesses that have been fined for violating the ban in its first full year.

Big Dogs on Kentucky Avenue made the list.

We asked bartender Mona Kennedy if she's corrected the problem that led to the tickets.

"Oh yeah," she says. "We just tell them no more smoking. They now go outside or out back."

Kennedy says someone called police to complain about spotting smokers at the bar. They came out and saw it too. She says it's tough to keep an eye on patrons and enforce the smoking ban.

"You feel like a babysitter. It's really ridiculous. It's hurt our business," she said.

More than 130 tickets have been written by state excise police in the first year of the law, from people smoking inside to warning signs not properly posted.

"Well, they got 'em for smoking too close to my door outside," said the manager of LJ's on the south side of Indianapolis.

You cannot smoke within eight feet of a public doorway.

"The street was just flooded with people," that day, the manager says. She's not even sure the illegal smoker was on of her customers.

"You took the hit for it?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Yeah," she said, "which I think was kind of dirty."

We noticed that the state-issued warning signs on her door are attached to the inside of the glass. But the dark tinting on the window makes it almost impossible to read the warning signs. She says she painted stripes on the sidewalk to mark the area where people should not smoke.

Excise Police Cpl. Travis Thickstun says, "The vast majority of businesses will comply with the law. Just tell them what they need to do. We're not meeting a lot of resistance at all."

The state says with 300,000 businesses statewide that could come under the ban, only 130 got tickets.

You may report violations to the Indiana Excise Police by going to their website.

See a list of businesses ticketed