For more information
•Questions and answers, explanations, sample signs and the state ban itself are all available at www.in.gov/atc/index.htm
•Allen County's smoking-ban ordinance is at
•Fort Wayne's smoking-ban ordinance is at www.cityoffortwayne.org/images/stories/clerk/files/ordinances/Smoking%20Ordinance.pdf
To comply with the statewide smoking ban that begins July 1, there's more for businesses to do than stop patrons and employees from smoking indoors. The same law compels businesses to post an array of signs that announce the ban.
The quaintly simple “NO SMOKING” signs of olden times won't do. The state ban spells out different signs to post at entrances and indoors and still different signs for restaurants.
Complying is more complicated in Fort Wayne and Allen County, which have existing smoking bans.
The welter of overlapping laws has Amanda Fall, the executive director of Tobacco Free Allen County, scrambling to get the word to local businesses and to print up signs to distribute.
She said she didn't realize what a big job getting the word out in Fort Wayne and Allen County would turn out to be.
“I hate that the state didn't get this out to us until 10 days – now nine days – to go,” she said Thursday, the day after she participated in a training session with representatives of the state's Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.
However, the statewide ban does cut businesses slack in one respect: There are no requirements governing the size of the signs or the size or form of lettering used on them. The Alcohol and Tobacco website includes printable examples of smoking-ban signs that meet the law's requirements. In a bind, a restaurant owner worried about complying with the law apparently could scratch out the required messages with a marker on sheets of notebook paper, tape them to walls or doors and stay legal after July 1.
Here are key points to keep in mind for staying sign-legal when the smoking ban takes effect.
•The statewide law does not supersede local smoking bans, as long as they are more restrictive than the state ban. (Nothing in the law bars local governments from enacting more restrictive bans, either.)
•Where state law and local law call for different restrictions, the more restrictive requirement is the law to abide by.
•The law requires most public places, work places and restaurants to prohibit smoking. At each public entrance to a work place or a public place, a sign saying that smoking is prohibited must be posted. Restaurants have to post signs at each entrance saying “Smoking is Prohibited in This Restaurant” or something similar.
•Every establishment in which smoking is prohibited must post two or more signs inside saying “Smoking is Prohibited by State Law” or something similar.
Then there's the tricky part of posting these signs: The Allen County and Fort Wayne bans prohibit smoking closer than 20 feet to an entrance – a more restrictive ban than the state's which prohibits smoking within 8 feet of an entrance. That means that in Fort Wayne, signs must advertise the 20-foot smoking-ban range, while in New Haven, for example, governed only by the state ban, the signs have to include only the 8-foot ban.
Fall notes that there are still more wrinkles in complying with the law here. If your business or institution prohibits smoking on all its property, the signs posted at every public entrance to the buildings should read “Smoking is Prohibited on This Campus” or something similar.
She said that as the state law takes effect, she is concentrating on clarifying the potentially confusing profusion of sign requirements. People in Fort Wayne and Allen County have a strong head start in complying with the state ban, because local bans have been in place for years. She thinks that figuring out local bans will help residents and business owners here understand how the state law converges with local bans.
“People who are familiar with the ordinances know the strongest one is the one in effect,” she said.