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February 28, 2012

Senate exemptions jeopardize state smoking ban

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana senators are gutting a statewide smoking ban and drawing opposition from the measure’s most strongest supporters.

Senators voted Tuesday to exempt bars and charitable gambling operations from the proposed ban. They also expanded other carve-outs that already had been put in the bill by House lawmakers. A Senate panel approved the ban last week with exemptions for the state’s gambling industry, private clubs like VFW lodges and tobacco and cigar stores.

An American Cancer Society spokeswoman said her group opposes the measure as overhauled by the Senate.

Exemptions have historically been the stumbling block for the ban. Some supporters of the ban this year have held their breath and voted for the measure they call “hypocritical.” The authors of the ban have said it’s the best they can do.

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