Court upholds Indianapolis smoking ban, bar owners likely to appeal

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INDIANAPOLIS — Several Indianapolis business owners will likely appeal a recent decision that upheld the City’s smoking ban, according to their attorney.

A U.S. District Court judge ruled, Wednesday, that the 2012 smoking ordinance was constitutional, despite a lawsuit filed by opponents of the ban challenging its efforts.

Bar owners like Phyllis Borem claimed their business suffered as soon as the ordinance went into affect.

“Our sales went down about 50%,” said Borem of Rift Raft on the City’s near east side. “I feel like they took our rights away.”

Part of the judge’s decision read ‘The fact that their businesses have suffered from an economic standpoint, while unfortunate, does not establish that they have lost “all economically beneficial use” of their property. Therefore, Plaintiffs’ taking claim cannot succeed on the merits.’

“I’m very disappointed,” said Borem who added that she is contemplating layoffs to make ends meet. “We have to deal with. We have no choice.”

On the flip side, Smoke Free Indy said it somewhat expected the decision.

“We’re very excited,” said Lindsay Grace, Chair of the group. “Many courts including courts right here in Indiana have found that these laws are indeed constitutional. They are within the rights of our city county councilors, our state legislators to pass these sorts of laws.”

An attorney representing Borem and more than a dozen other business owners said an appeal is likely in the near future.


  • Smokey

    I'm a non smoker but I do think people should be able to smoke in bars and a few certain other places. You know when you go to a bar that there may be cigarette smoke before you even go there. Seems to me we try to "regulate" and legislate everything in this country. Too bad some folks my lose their businesses or jobs.

    • ClanSmokeJaguar

      I'm a non-smoker too. I don't like to be around smokers.

      With that said it's wrong for the government to tell a private business owner what they can do with their business with regard to a damned LEGAL thing! If people don't like to eat their MFing steak and drink their beer around smoke, do exactly what my wife and I do: We don't go to the business.

      Lord Ashleys on P-Pike is a good example. We literally walked in their once and turned around because it was too smokey. Now that they voluntarily went non-smoking we do stop in from time to time.

      It's just that simple.

      p.s. I wonder how many people who criticize 0bama and complain of loss of freedoms in this country support this bullsheet!

  • guest

    we need a smoking venue where nonsmokers are forced to stand at least 8 feet outside the door in bad weather

  • guest

    What this really says is if you want to have a good time don't bother with local bars. If you want a good deal on cigarettes don't bother with the local stores. You can buy cigarettes from tons of people for $2-3 a pack. Know someone that travels out of state often for business? They'll pick you up a carton for $30 on their way back.

  • guest

    i beleave i heard on the news report about this that it was stated that a non smokers rights were more important than a smoker correct me if im wrong but i thought all rights in the USA were fair and equal regarlest or race religion or preferances how dare anyone think that because they dont smoke drink or what ever it is think they are better or more important than everyone else or that they are more important then the next person


    let make it simple if a county or city makes a choice to decide to take away my right to smoke then we should make a choice for them. in the county or city that has a smoking ban then they should not be allowed to sell cigarettes or tobacco products. TAKE AWAY THERE TAX MONEY AND SEE HOW THEY LIKE IT DRY COUNTY OR CITY

  • indiana sucks

    i think it bullshit that they take are rights away of smoking in a public place and make the unempolyment rate go up.but it alway been that way if they state see something they past a law so you cant do it anymore and for non smoker they can go fk them selfs

  • jsobo

    Biased government entities need to stop interfering in private business. If a bar owner determines that patrons are not coming to his bar because of smoking , then he will determine to end smoking in his bar. If an employee does not like the smoking, then they are free to find another job. They knew smoking was present when the took the job. The only thing the board should be able to say is: smoking is illegal in city limits. If the board wants to help the citizens of the city, then raise minimum wage to a living standard so people can pay for education and stop the demand for smoking. Education is the key and education costs money.

    • Marvin the Martian

      so you are saying only the uneducated smoke? Albert Einstein must be rolling in his grave.

  • jsobo

    The bottom line. It falls under the fourteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Equal protection under the law. It is a legal right in the United States to smoke cigarettes. Because a patron has the ability to walk out of a bar where smoking is allowed and a law restriction freedom to smoke in the bar restricts
    financial gain, the state is infringing on the rights of the bar. They are overstepping their legal bounds.

  • Nancy

    You asked how it hurts the economy I've owned the same bar in indpls for over 30 years and I think I have the experience and knowledge to answer that. I'd like the city of indpls to have to make public knowledge of how many bars have had to close down since June 1st 2012 because of this ban and also how much in taxes the state is losing from income decline of bars that are doing everything to stay open just one more week. People that work in bars have lost their jobs over this ban and the others have had their hours cut just so they can try to stay opened. I hope the ones that sat there and bitched are some of the ones that lost their jobs Last time I checked smoking WAS STILL legal and the state still is collecting taxes off every pack sold. Seems kinda double sided to me The city should have listened to their business owners like beech grove did. That's who's getting all our customers now

      • Nancy

        So you think just because people smoke they are not hard working honest TAX PAYING citizens Your an idiot

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