2012 Legislative Day

Cardiology Day at the Capitol: Advocating for A Healthy Indiana

February 21, 2012



The Indiana-ACC would like to see a smoking ban in all public places. Smoking is a leading cause of the most common forms of heart and vascular disease, major lung diseases, and some of the most common forms of cancer. Nearly one-fifth of deaths from cardiovascular disease are attributable to smoking — deaths that are preventable. Passive or involuntary smoking and smokeless tobacco share many of these adverse effects upon health. According to a report by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 26.1 percent of adults Indiana smoke – the highest rate in the country. The same report estimates that smoking related health problems cost the state nearly $2 billion annually. Across the United States, more than 17,600 municipalities are covered by a 100% smoke free provision in workplaces, and/or restaurants, and/or bars, by either a state, commonwealth, or local law, representing 74.1% of the US population. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have local laws in effect that require 100% smoke free workplaces and/or restaurants and/or bars. It is time for Indiana to be included in these smoke free statistics. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) strongly supports HB 1149, legislation which would create a statewide smoke-free law. The bill prohibits smoking in: (1) public places; (2) enclosed areas of a place of employment; (3) in certain state vehicles; and (4) within 12 feet of a public entrance to a public place or an enclosed area of a place of employment.

  • Overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that exposure to second-hand smoke has adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
  • In its 2009 report on secondhand smoke the Institute of Medicine concludes that smoke free laws reduce the number of heart attacks and save lives.
  • In states and cities that have enacted smoke free laws, reductions in hospital admissions for heart attacks have been documented.
  • Smoke free laws protect restaurant and bar employees and patrons from the harm of secondhand smoke.
  • No creditable evidence exists that smoke free laws hurt restaurant and bar patronage, employment, sales, or profits. It is possible that such laws would be attractive to newly locating businesses.
  • Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa have enacted strong smoke free laws. Indiana remains the only holdout in the Midwest.


HB 1040 provides that if a county adopts an ordinance approving the provision of community fast responder services and the nonprofit corporation directing the provision of community fast responder services maintains a certain level of insurance, then the liability of a community fast responder is limited to the amount of insurance. The bill also provides that a hospital or an entity operated or directed by a hospital can be “fast responder” and that fast responders have the same immunity from liability as first responders.  This legislation would enable the establishment of community fast responder services in Indiana communities and extend immunities enjoyed by first responders to fast responders. This legislation could facilitate fast and efficient patient treatment during an emergency event where a volunteer is summoned to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation, or other emergency services under the direction of a nonprofit corporation.


Obesity is one of the fastest growing health risks in the United States. In Indiana, the CDC reported that 14% of high school students were obese in 2009. This problem is caused by unhealthy dietary behaviors and physical inactivity of high school students.  What are possible solutions to this problem? Better health education, more PE and physical activity programs, and healthier environments. SB375 provides that a school corporation, including a charter school, may not make available food containing industrially produced trans fat or use food containing industrially produced trans fat in the preparation of a food item served to students from any source during the school day or during any school event. The state should support activities that promote healthy nutrition and good dietary behavior.


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