New market research shows that 70 percent of Hoosiers support a smoking ban that would cover “most public places in Indiana.”
“This poll indicates that they should pass a strong law that includes all work places including bars, and a law that does not have exemptions,” said Amanda Estridge, Manager of Government Relations for the American Cancer Society.
A press release that accompanied the poll results states that some Republican lawmakers were “out of step” with their constituents.
The poll comes as the smoking ban debate heads into the home stretch at the Indiana Statehouse.
State lawmakers plan on wrapping up their 2012 session on Friday of this week.
By now, even first term lawmakers have learned that voting on the smoking ban bill at the statehouse can bring on the heat back home.
“When I got home and told my mom that I was voting against the smoking ban, she was very upset with me, so I understand, it’s been a difficult issue for me to resolve,” said Rep. Tim Wesco, (R) Osceola.
Arguably, even more difficult with a new poll showing that 86.4 percent of Wesco’s constituents support a ban. You know, I vote on principles, not polls,” Rep. Wesco explained. “I understand that there’s a lot of people that, that don’t like smoke in public places, but I think that’s different for me, from passing a law banning a legal practice.”
Senator Carlin Yoder, (R) Middlebury, also voted ‘no’ when the smoking ban came up for a final vote. The poll released today shows that 78 percent of Yoder’s constituents support a ban. “I don’t disagree with that, but I think most of that 78 percent would not appreciate the smoking ban as we passed it out of the senate.”
Senators attached 11 separate amendments to the smoking ban bill, exempting the likes of bars, bingo games and nursing homes.
“I’m pretty pragmatic on it, in the sense that this is an issue where Indiana will probably follow the will of my district, but it’s got to be a sensible ban before I would consider it, and what we passed was far from sensible,” said Sen. Yoder.
According to the poll, about 70 percent of the people in the Syracuse area district of Rep. Rebecca Kubacki support a smoking ban. Kubacki voted against the house version of the bill.
In the LaPorte area district of Rep. Tom Dermody, (who voted ‘no’) smoking ban support was gaged at 67.9 percent.
In the LaGrange area senate district of Sen. Susan Glick, (voted ‘no’) 58 percent of the constituents support a smoking ban.
Some contend that Indiana would already have a smoking ban today if supporters of the cause had not overestimated the public opinion card last year.
“I think that last year, most of the legislators were, were expecting or ready to accept a smoking ban with some limitations on it and at the last minute the proponents of the legislation made it an all or nothing bill,” said Sen. Ed Charbonneau, (R) Valparaiso.
With time winding down in the 2012 session, smoking ban supporters are again pushing for all they can get. “This most recent poll of statewide support showed that 70 percent of Hoosiers favor a strong smoke free work place law, of that 73 percent are Republicans, so the Republican supporters was higher than even just the overall percentage,” said Estridge.
The poll was conducted by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action network. The survey of some 1,159 Hoosiers was conducted by Marketing Informatics of Indianapolis.
The poll claims that 71 percent of Republicans support a law “that would prohibit smoking in most public indoor spaces, including workplaces, public buildings, offices, restaurants, and bars.”
When asked, “How important is it that the Indiana law have no exemptions?” 69 percent said “very important, while another 16 percent said “moderately important.”