ANDERSON — Madison County has taken one step toward becoming smoke free. Whether it takes the next remains to be seen.
The Madison County Board of Health approved an indoor smoking ban that would cover all businesses except cigar bars.
But to become law, the Madison County Commission must give its OK.
In 2012, a new Indiana state law prohibited smoking in most public places. Casinos, bars and fraternal organizations were exempt. Since them, some counties have adopted their own more inclusive smoking ordinances.
Madison County has been a holdout. Stephenie Grimes, Madison County Health Department Administrator, says now is the time to change that. She spoke about the proposal in an interview with WRTV last month.
"The conversation was started. We would love for casinos, bars and private clubs to be smoke-free upon reopening," said Grimes. "It would be a short timeline. We would hope businesses would recognize this is an opportunity improve the health of our county. We are last for quality of life in the state, and 88th for health behaviors, with adult smoking as a contributing factor."
Other health officials in the county agree, especially when it comes to Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson. The fear is that COVID-19 could spread more easily in a smokey environment. And the trend among casinos is to go smoke free.
Does Grimes think the commissioners will give their blessing to a smoking proposal? "That’s a big question. It’s a monumental effort. Madison County Health Department will continue to have the conversations, and we will always push for a healthier county. We would hope our business partners would want the same."