Indianapolis is set to implement a smoking ban in all restaurants and bars. The motion has been in place for years but a political battle has ensued causing many delays. The final passage of the smoking ban is a proud moment for anti-smoking supporters.
This week is the final one before the ban is officially in place. Indianapolis bars will post their no-smoking signage, throw away all the ashtrays, and do some deep cleaning to air out their facilities.
In just another month the remainder of the state of Indiana will also follow suit. The smoking ban will be effective statewide, although not at all bars like originally proposed. Individual cities and counties can take on the stricter rules to ban smoking from all bars but the motion for a full statewide ban was not able to pass.
Many locations in Indianapolis are already prepared for the change. A lot of restaurants are opening embracing the ban. Yes, it could risk a drop in smoking patrons but it could also come with an increase from non-smoking patrons. Some bars, including the Red Room and several other bars along on the main strip in Broad Ripple have already made the necessary changes. Many bars have simply accommodated by adding outdoor seating as their smoking section.
Still, plenty of business owners have decided to fight.
A collection of eight bars outside the downtown area, including Road Dog Saloon located on Southeastern Avenue and 8 Seconds Saloon near the Westside, filed lawsuits, nearly identical in nature. Neither used the aid of attorneys in the U.S. District Court. Even a bar patron filed a suit similar.
Owner of Road Dog, Wanda Goodpaster, states the ban may very well drive bars like hers out of business. She spoke out on many occasions against the non-smoking changes at City-County Council hearings. She says her bar relies heavily on income from regular customers, many of whom are smokers.
The suits fights the bar owners’ civil rights. They claim the ban is unfair because it is excluding private clubs. The Indianapolis ban also does not cover certain cities in Marion County, Speedway, Southport, Lawrence, and Beech Grove.
So far, the smoking bans from other areas across the country that have faced class action suits have held up. Every U.S. city with populations larger than Indianapolis has similar smoking bans in place.
Despite the protests, representatives for the city’s Department of Code Enforcement, are very positive that in next few months, "this will settle into being an area in which businesses are self-regulating."