FRANKLIN, Ind. - Johnson County will soon have one of the strictest smoking bans in the state.
The ordinance, which passed unanimously in a Monday morning vote, bans smoking in county parks, campgrounds and private clubs, making it even stricter than the state ban that went into effect this summer.
For example, smokers currently have to be eight feet from the entrance of a building to light up. Under the new ordinance, they will have to be 25 feet away.
Robert Smith, an environmental health specialist with the Johnson County Health Department, said the no-exemptions ban will protect workers and the public from secondhand smoke.
"That's really the reason behind the ordinance, is to protect everybody," he said. "You have a choice to smoke or not. But you also have a right to breathe clean, tobacco-free air."
After spending thousands of dollars to comply with the new state smoking ban, Fraternal Order of Eagles President Tom Bland said he's disappointed with Johnson County's ban.
"Well, before in July, we voted to go non-smoking and it about killed us. We about went under," he said. "We'll just have to see how it goes. I believe it's going to hurt us tremendously."
The county will post new signs at all county buildings and properties to make people aware of the change.
The stricter ban goes into effect Jan. 1.