Smoking can’t disappear from the Earth, but it can rise. More and more states have increased their smoking products. For example, Indiana has the second highest smoking rate in the nation, with more than one in four Hoosier adults lighting up last year.
In 2007, Indiana, which has no statewide smoking ban, was sixth-worst in the nation. While the national rate of cigarette smokers decreased by about 1 percent between 2006 and 2007, Indiana and Illinois each saw increases last year. Indiana’s rates are higher than Illinois, which has smoking bans in place and has the 13th-highest state smoking rate.
Samuel Flint, temporary dean of Indiana University Northwest’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, said: “There’s less concern of smokers in Indiana than there is in other states. Indiana has more of a tradition of personal freedoms than public safety. That is what is competing.”
The Indiana Government explained that one way to reduce smoking in Indiana could be a state law banning smoking indoors.
“If smoking gets to be more costly and there are some places to do it, it influences the marginal smoker to quitting,” Mr. Flint added.
The House confirmed a smoking ban last session, but the measure died in the Senate. That suggestion would have banned smoking in restaurants and most workplaces, but it was improved to emancipate most bars, tobacco shops, private clubs and casinos.
Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, said: “They were the strongest opposes last year. They paid everyone out in the hall to track that for them to make sure nothing went in.”
In the GOP-led Senate, anti-smoking adherents refused to support a smoking ban with so many exemptions, while other senators were interested about the effects of a smoking ban on Hoosier businesses.
“Studies have shown a business going smoke-free will not lose any revenue or customers as a result of that. But that’s the hue and cry here, that we don’t want to negatively impact a business,” Brown added. For example, the transition from smoking to nonsmoking went smoothly this month for Aurelio’s Pizza in Schererville. Owner David Scheidt, 36, said he lost some business from smokers but also attracted more nonsmokers.
“It’s pretty much evened out. I think in the long run it will serve us better,” Scheidt said. He said that he prohibited smoking in the restaurant because it’s a family dining place. “When you have an area where people are smoking 10 feet from an infant, it was nice much a nonsense for us,” he explained.
But some smokers reported that the government should think twice before banning smoking in Indiana. They added that fast food is going to kill people faster than cigarettes will.