Indianapolis Celebrates One Year of Smoke-Free Air

May 30, 2013

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Indianapolis residents are celebrating their right to breathe clean air:  This Saturday marks one year since the city strengthened its smoke-free law to include all restaurants and bars.

To mark the anniversary, the Smoke Free Indy coalition today released results of two new studies that show the law has overwhelming public support and dramatically improved the quality of indoor air. Polling shows that 78 percent of residents support the law, while the second study found that indoor particle pollution levels fell 95 percent at establishments that went smoke-free as a result of the law.

Like other smoke-free cities and states, Indianapolis has shown that smoke-free laws are easily implemented, achieve almost universal compliance and quickly improve air quality and health.  There is also overwhelming evidence that smoke-free laws protect health without hurting business.

Today, 30 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and hundreds of U.S. cities and counties have smoke-free laws that include all restaurants and bars.  At least 1,159 U.S. colleges and universities also have adopted 100 percent smoke-free policies, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.

Smoke-free laws have spread rapidly across the United States — and around the world — because there is irrefutable evidence that secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard. There is also growing public demand for elected officials to enact laws making all workplaces and public places smoke-free.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer.  According to the U.S. Surgeon General, secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in non-smoking adults, and respiratory problems, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, ear infections and more severe asthma attacks in infants and children.

We congratulate Indianapolis leaders for protecting everyone’s right to breathe clean air. We urge Indiana state lawmakers to follow their lead and pass a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law.