Daniels Signs Smoking Bill; Will Take Effect July 1

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has signed the state’s smoking ban into law.

The law prohibits smoking in many public places, including restaurants and other work sites, but includes exemptions for casinos, bars, private clubs and other buildings.

Daniels says that although everyone might not have been happy with the bill, it was best to get something approved while lawmakers had the “energy” to handle the issue.

Tim Harms with the Indiana Coaltion for Smokefree air says the law is a good first step but leaves out a lot of people who need protection from second-hand smoke.

“Sometimes what you would consider some of the most vulnerable people, folks who are working second jobs or struggling to get by, and who might need to work in bars or taverns or casinos and those types of places as a way to make ends meet,” he said.

Some lawmakers say they want to add more restrictions to the law over the next few years, but Harms says that’s been a difficult task elsewhere.

“I think realistically to think that that might be done next year or two years or three years probably is a long shot. I think in other states (and communities) where they’ve gone through that, realistically it’s often five, six, seven years down the road before you can really go back and make changes to the law,” Harms said.

The new law allows tougher local smoking bans to remain in place in several cities and counties around Indiana.

It goes into effect July 1st.

(Information for this story also came from the Associated Press)