5 years ago, Indianapolis passed a smoke-free ordinance that prohibited smoking in bars, taverns, restaurants, and other places of employment. A recent study by the Truth Initiative found that smoke-free ordinances like Indianapolis’ are one of the most effective policies to help smokers quit, decrease youth smoking rates, and protect the health of residents. A study by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health studied data from 5 hospitals across Indy and compared heart attack reports from before and after the ordinance and found some impressive results: heart attacks dropped between 26%-28% in just 7 years.
Non-smokers may have also reaped the benefits of the ordinance- heart attacks dropped about 21% in this group. While it may be possible that heart attack rates in these groups dropped simply because of better health practices, results like this have been found in other areas after smoke-free laws have been passed. Smoke-free ordinances can positively impact employees and patrons of places that now prohibit smoking. In Indianapolis’ case, employees and patrons of bars, taverns, bowling alleys, restaurants, sports arenas, public transportation, and those who use common areas in multi-unit housing facilities. When these people are no longer exposed to second-hand or third-hand smoke, they no longer have to choose between their health and their jobs, entertainment, housing, or transportation.
The same year that Indianapolis passed its smoke-free air ordinance, Indiana passed its own law that prohibits smoking in most workplaces and restaurants. Zionsville is currently the only locality in Boone County that is covered by a smoke-free ordinance stronger than the state’s law that includes workplaces, restaurants, and bars- like Indianapolis. If you are interested in working towards a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance for Boone County, please join us at our Tobacco Free Boone County Coalition meeting. Meetings are held on the last Monday of every month in the Connie Lamar Room in the Boone County Office Building. Click here for a list of meeting dates and times.