Expansion of smoking ban goes to Council tonight

Smoking would be banned in areas, like bars, where currently allowed.

Visitors to Indianapolis during the Super Bowl might experience stricter rules when it comes to smoking in local businesses.

Council President Ryan Vaughn plans to introduce the proposal at tonight's Council meeting. His goal is to expand the current smoke-free law to include hotel rooms, bars and restaurants that serve people over 21, as well as bowling alleys.

Existing cigar bars, tobacco shops, social clubs, and non-profit fraternal organizations like veterans halls would be exempt. But any new ones that open would fall under the ban.

Some Democrats say the proposal is still not strong enough, but an advocacy coalition, Smoke Free Indy, supports the measure. The coalition is encouraging members from both sides of the aisle to pass the ban. Its goal is to someday protect all Indianapolis workers against secondhand smoke and says this ordinance would be a big step in the right direction.

Some doctors agree.

"I think everybody would benefit from it. The employees are obviously the exposed for the longest duration of time because they have to work in that environment, so surely they will benefit the most from that, but also patrons will," says Dr. Irmina Gradus-Pizlo, an IU Health cardiologist.

Gradus-Pizlo also cites a study that says workers around second-hand smoke not only suffered physical problems, like coronary artery disease, but also suffered emotionally.