Indy smoking ban debate continues one year later

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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s been a year since the smoking ban went into effect in Indianapolis, and while some say the city is healthier, it’s still causing controversy.

On Thursday, advocacy group Smoke Free Indy released the findings of two reports conducted on the benefits of the ban one year later.

The air quality report found that 7 out of 10 bars tested showed a 95 percent decline in air particle pollution.

A public opinion report found that nearly 78 percent of Marion County residents favor of the ban.

Smoke Free Indy said the Circle City is healthier one year later.

“I think our reports show that the improved air quality within these businesses and then also just people being happy about this law and wanting to go out,” said Katy Ellis with Smoke Free Indy.

But not everyone in Indianapolis is on board with the ban.

Attorney Mark Small, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of ten Indianapolis bars, believes rights are being infringed upon and many businesses have lost customers. Some have even closed because of the ban.

“Whether rights are popular is irrelevant. They’re rights and if you’re going to use popularity for that, then we’ve lost our rights,” said Small.

The lawsuit was denied by a federal judge in March, but that has not stopped Small. The case has been taken to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Small is ready to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.