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Meeting upcoming to answer smoking ban questions

June 27, 2012

MARSHALL CO. — Starting Sunday, Hoosiers will be following the new law prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment. Smoking will continue to be allowed in the following establishments:
A horse-racing facility, a riverboat, a facility with a gambling game license, a satellite-gaming facility, cigar bars, hookah bars, certain fraternal clubs, a retail-tobacco store, a bar or tavern meeting certain requirements, a cigar-manufacturing facility, a cigar-specialty store, and a business in a private residence.
The Marshall County Health Department will be holding a public meeting on the smoking ban as soon as state excise personnel are able to visit the area. Health department educator Sandy Read said that the meeting will answer any questions county residents or business owners may have about the new law and how it specifically relates to them.
“The biggest thing people need to know is that a lot of places are already smoke-free,” said Read. “The difference is that over their entrance (businesses) have to have a sign saying that smoking is prohibited within eight feet of the entrance.”
Read also noted that the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission will be the primary enforcement agency for the new law. The Indiana State Department of Health, local health departments, and any law enforcement officer also may enforce the law.
Plymouth police chief Jim Cox said that he hopes business owners will take it upon themselves to ensure patrons are following the new law. However, he also said that officers will write citations for people they see breaking the law.
“I’m not going to carry a ruler around to measure how many feet a person is standing from the building, whether it’s eight feet, or only six and a half feet,” said Cox. “I’m hoping that most businesses will have some type of designated areas where they will allow people to smoke outside.”
If an officer does see a person smoking either inside a business or just outside the door, Cox said that the officer would most likely talk to the business owner before issuing the smoker a citation.
“I have some officers who will stop people for throwing cigarettes out of their car,” said Cox. “I do have some that are sticklers about stuff like that.”
The public will be able to file complaints about people not following the new law online beginning Sunday at www.in.gov/atc/2640.htm.
Read mentioned that those interested in quitting smoking could take advantage of a free phone-based counseling service by calling 1-800-QUITNOW or visiting www.IndianaQuitline.net.
“We have a lot of services around (for quitting smoking), but not many are free,” said Read.

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