Zionsville Times Sentinel

November 27, 2013

Smokers' rights could be heated legislative issue

By Maureen Hayden
CNHI

---- — When Indiana lawmakers return for the 2014 session in early January, they’ll step into the highly charged issue of marriage equality as they debate the proposed amendment that would lock a ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions into the state constitution.

But it may not be the only heated debate over government intrusion into people’s private lives.

One of the legislative priorities of the influential Indiana Chamber of Commerce is the repeal of the state’s so-called “smoker’s bill of rights.”

In 1991, the Indiana General Assembly passed the legislation that forbids employers from turning away a job applicant just because he or she smokes.

The state smoking ban passed in 2012 outlaws smoking in most workplaces. But that 1991 smoker’s bill of rights forbids employers from telling their workers that they can’t smoke when they’re off duty and away from the workplace. And it bans most employers from making smokers pay higher out-of-pocket costs for their health insurance.

In essence, the law says it’s none of your boss’s business if you’re using a legal product on your own time.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.