State Senate members discussed a statewide smoking ban on Wednesday that already passed in the House. The ban includes several exemptions such as bars, casinos and designated areas inside retirement homes. Also on the list of exemptions are private clubs and smoke shops.
Anti-smoking advocates testified as did several people who are against a ban of any kind.
A Columbus woman was the only one to speak who received an applause from almost everyone inside the Statehouse room.
"My life changed dramatically in August of 2009 when I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. This is a wig," said Alice Curry, a Columbus resident and cancer survivor.
For Curry it is obvious this piece of legislation is personal. She is a non-smoker who said smoking was always allowed in her working environments.
"Is all this smoke the reason why I now have lung cancer? Maybe, maybe not, but probably," said Curry.
Curry along with several anti-smoking advocates urged state lawmakers to pass a ban to protect public health. It is a decision officials with the American Cancer Society said lawmakers in other states have already made.
"I will call to your attention a map in your packet that illustrates Indiana's dubious honor of being the only Midwest state without a comprehensive smoking ban," said Amanda Estridge, an American Heart Association official.
Several people spoke up at the hearing saying a ban would hurt businesses all over Indiana and other people said it would violate nursing home residents' rights.
"Currently, there are individuals that have been admitted as smokers, and they'll be put in a difficult position if a total smoking ban went into effect," said James Leich, President of the Indiana Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
Curry also said she thinks a statewide smoking ban should extend to all public places. She said employees should not have to make a decision between a paycheck and their health.
"Are you willing to put a price on the head of a college student who's earning money to pay off college by working in a bar? How about a parent working in a casino or any other place where smoking is allowed," said Curry.
If members of the Senate make any changes to the bill it will need to go back to the House.Senate members plant to take up the proposed ban again next week.