Dems May Back Stricter Smoking Ban Proposal

Cigar Bars, Fraternal Clubs, Tobacco Shops Would Be Exempt

Indianapolis City-County Council Democrats may soon back a Republican proposal to tighten the city's smoking ban in time for the Super Bowl.

Councilor Angela Mansfield, an influential Democrat who's fought for stricter smoking rules, met with Council President Ryan Vaughn, who submitted the updated proposal, and Mayor Greg Ballard to discuss the issue.

"Unfortunately, (the proposal) has more exemptions in it than what we would have liked, but we do understand that this is what the mayor is going to support," Mansfield said. "I think it will be half and half. You'll get some angry and some that will be fine, but I think the nonsmokers would especially be grateful."

Vaughn's proposal would eliminate smoking completely in bars and restaurants, exempting cigar bars, fraternal clubs and tobacco shops.

Ballard has said the proposal is the only one he'll sign that would be ready in time for the Super Bowl in February.

Ballard's spokesman, Marc Lotter, told RTV6 that Mansfield seemed open to the idea of supporting the proposal and that they're optimistic after Wednesday's meeting.

"This is really an opportunity now with this compromise, with this proposal by Ryan Vaughn, that we can actually move the ball forward to where many people want to see the city go, but always respect the rights of these establishments," Lotter said.

Smoke Free Indy, which has long pushed for a complete citywide smoking ban, said in a statement that it was encouraged to see city officials addressing the issue.

"We urge all members of the City Council and the mayor's office to work together to pass a strong smoke-free law," the statement read. "Smoke Free Indy will continue to work toward a smoke-free ordinance that protects every worker in Indianapolis."

Managers at Claddagh in downtown Indy said the pub goes against the nonsmoking trend, RTV6's Eboné Monet reported.

"We are one of very few downtown places where you can smoke, have a drink, eat your dinner and enjoy your evening," manager Kate Loughnane said.

The proposal would also expand the ban to bowling alleys and hotel rooms.

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