A Gift from Indianapolis to General Convention: Cleaner Air!
Headquartered in Indianapolis, I've watched in dismay as Indianapolis has tried for years to enact smoke-free air policies similar to those in nearly every other major city in America (and then some), while failing each time. It has been a real struggle, for reasons that were at times impossible to decipher. However, as of June 1, Indianapolis is now smoke-free in (almost**) all workplaces, including bars and restaurants!
When I started working with NEHM in 2007, one of the very first groups I was asked to join was the Hoosier Faith & Health Coalition. This group of statewide health agencies and faith communities has worked hard to address tobacco use in our state, which has one of the highest rates of tobacco use in the country. We worked hard in coordination with groups like Faith United Against Tobacco, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, SmokeFree Indy, and Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation to educate legislators and public about the need for smoke-free communities. We have participated in events like Kick Butts Day and Knock Tobacco Out of the Park, among others.
It's been a long, difficult process but I'm thrilled to let you know that when you come to General Convention in our beloved city, you will be able to walk into any bar or restaurant without breathing smoke-filled air. We're still getting used to it ourselves, but the response appears to be overwhelmingly positive so far.
Vinny DeMarco of Faith United Against Tobacco has been one of the national leaders on this initiative. It was a real joy to be with him in Washington DC for the Let's Move! meeting and to be able to share with him that Indianapolis has taken tremendous steps toward protecting our workers and communities.
So when you come to General Convention, know that you will have one advantage our friends who visited during the Super Bowl earlier this year did not: cleaner air!
Don't forget: If you are a nurse who would like to volunteer with NEHM during General Convention, please let us know!
**The 'almost comprehensive' refers to the fact that some cigar and hookah bars, as well as some private clubs, are exempted from the ordinance.
Some resources in addition to those linked above: