Evansville VFW Post 1114 Speaks Out On Smoking Ban Ruling

Published 02/11 2014 10:59PM

Updated 02/11 2014 11:01PM

An Evansville smoking ban was passed in February 2012. It included bars and restaurants, but exempted the Casino. Today's Indiana Supreme Court ruling now means, the rules revert to a smoking ordinance passed in 2006. Under those rules, smoking will be allowed in bars and private clubs, if the owner wants it. But, Indiana Excise Police say, bar owners must still apply for an exemption from the state, which is about a two day process. A vote must be taken for clubs like the VFW.

At post 1114 on Evansville's west side, the post took part in a lawsuit that helped reverse that ban. Their reason for getting involved, had to do with the right's of the people. It's a right veteran's feel they should fight for.

"One thing that we've learned at the VFW, as soldiers, is to fight for what you know is right." For these veterans, it is a fight won off the battle field. "It takes a group, and a voice, to get together and make it happen." With their voice, the smoking ordinance placed by the city of Evansville in 2012, was voted down by the Indiana Supreme Court.

Places like the VFW, alongside local bars and taverns, challenged the smoking ban by filing a lawsuit. At post 1114, members say, it was not an issue of health that had them speaking up, it was a matter of constitutional rights. "You're saying, they can't smoke in their own bar. To me, that was the catch-all. To me that was the thing that told me, this wasn't right."

Member, Tim Mahone say she does not smoke, but believes a private club for veterans, where they have paid their dues in more ways than one, should not be under a ban. "These guys earned that right to come in here and have that cigarette. They should not have to go out in the cold, rain, or snow and smoke a cigarette, instead of in here while enjoying themselves."

Junior Vice Commander, Paul Glover, says most members were outraged when the 2012 smoking ban applied to all places except one, Tropicana, Evansville's profitable casino. "It's a money issue, and that's what we agreed was not the right thing."

Paying their dues, in their private club, smoking and non smoking VFW members are happy to see their voice turn into action. "As veterans, we are the ones who earned the right to do these things. We are the ones who gave them the right to hold the positions they hold, to make the decisions."




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