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Indiana's decision last year to implement a statewide smoking ban was a wise move, and one that should serve as an example to Kentucky's legislators who have so far lacked the courage to take the same step.
But when I compare the smoking situation in Louisville with that in Indiana, it's the Hoosiers who come up short.
Why? Because the Indiana smoking ban specifically excludes bars, while Louisville's municipal ordinance covers them just like any other public place.
Several Indiana lawmakers have said that they don't want to take this next, logical step because they need more time to see the effects of the current law and don't want to do irreparable harm to any businesses. But there's already plenty of evidence on the effects of smoking bans in bars – 40 states already have them – and it's pretty clear they haven't been the business-killers we were warned about.
Even though Louisville heard the same doomsday arguments several years back, the local bar business seems pretty healthy to me. While I don't frequent bars all that much, virtually all my friends who do are pleased that they can enjoy themselves in an atmosphere that doesn't assault their respiratory system. And I can only imagine how relieved the workers are.
Patrons and employees of bars deserve the same public health protections as everyone else, and Indiana needs to finish the admirable job they've started.