$26,700 in Contributions from Alcohol Industry Raises Red Flags Over Senator Alting’s Opposition to Smoke-Free Law

Saying it raises questions about his opposition to a smoke-free law that includes bars, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids yesterday released data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics showing that over the last two election cycles, Senator Ronnie J. Alting has taken more political contributions from businesses involved in the sale and distribution of beer, wine and liquor than from any other industry.

Tobacco-Free Kids

Alting is currently trying to prevent bars from being covered under a proposed smoke-free law. Alcohol-related industries, along with tobacco companies, have been a chief opponent of efforts to pass a smoke-free law in Indiana. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, alcohol-related interests have given Senator Alting at least $26,700, including at least $14,500 in the last two election cycles alone. A full examination of uncoded donations would likely reveal even more contributions from the beer, wine, and liquor industries.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids calls on Senator Alting to show his independence by introducing amendments to strengthen the smoke-free law to protect all Indiana workers, including those who work in bars.

“These contributions are very alarming and should make people question why Senator Alting is trying to stop customers and workers in bars from being covered under a smoke-free law,” said Kevin O’Flaherty, Regional Advocacy Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Campaign contributors should not get in the way of protecting workers and customers across Indiana from the lung cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses caused by secondhand smoke.”

To date, 29 states across the country have passed comprehensive smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars. About 1200 Hoosiers die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke.

The need for protection from secondhand smoke in all workplaces and public places has never been clearer. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome. The Surgeon General has also found that secondhand smoke causes tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year, there is no safe level of exposure, and only smoke-free laws provide effective protection from secondhand smoke.

SOURCE: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

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