I was growing up in Zionsville when the town implemented a smoke-free air ordinance in 2006 — a whole six years before the statewide smoke-free law passed. I would fly to the Dairy Queen after receiving my allowance (I’ll take a cookie dough Blizzard, please!) and I remember what it was like when it no longer had a smoking section. I would peruse the walking trails at Lions Park with my dog and would rarely even see a cigarette butt. But I remember travelling through other communities without smoke-free air protections like ours and feeling confused when I saw smoking everywhere.

I believe growing up in Zionsville when it implemented its smoke-free ordinance shaped my health and my tobacco-free lifestyle as an adult. With electronic devices taking the world by storm (did you know they’re the No. 1 tobacco product among teens?), I believe the strengthening of this ordinance will shape young peoples’ attitudes toward tobacco like the previous ordinance did for me.

The truth is, we don’t know enough about the lifelong effects these electronic devices can have on a person’s health. But we are starting to see research suggesting they can cause health problems, are addictive, and they can turn today’s youth into the next generation of tobacco users. We know that strong smoke-free air policies protect the health of smokers and non-smokers alike. We know that if kids aren’t exposed to tobacco, they’re less likely to ever start. We know strong tobacco control policies are some of the best ways to protect the lives of all Hoosiers.

On behalf Tobacco Free Boone County and those who want to breathe clean air, I applaud the town of Zionsville for once again being ahead of the curve and strengthening its smoke-free air ordinance to also include e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. I’m excited for the community of Zionsville to continue to positively affect the lives of our youth. I hope that future efforts will strengthen the ordinance to protect more residents and visitors by including closed venues.

Claire Haughton, Lebanon

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