AVA ZINN WANTS TO KNOW | Fort Wayne’s Smoking Ordinance 15 Years Later
- May
Posted By : Ava Zinn
AVA ZINN WANTS TO KNOW | Fort Wayne’s Smoking Ordinance 15 Years Later

Since the mid to late 1980s, there have been numerous restrictions on where smokers and vapers can smoke–something they have had to adjust to as early as 1990.

In an Ava Zinn Wants to Know Investigation, I’m investigating the various smoking and vaping bans here in Fort Wayne, including colleges/universities, housing complexes, various businesses, and even in film and television.

In 1971, cigarette advertising on television was banned. It was one of the first known smoking bans in America.

Then in the 1980s and 1990s we began to see “No Smoking” signs on domestic flights, schools, and government buildings.

And finally, since the 2000s municipalities and states began to implement smoking and vaping bans. Meaning smoking is prohibited inside businesses, public transportation, bars, restaurants, and even your own home.

In Fort Wayne, the city council passed a smoking ordinance that went into effect on June 1, 2007, and modified the ban to include vaping in February 2022. Smokers and vapers don’t like it. Tobacco and vape shops don’t like it. But health officials do because they say it promotes clean air.

I reached out to Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker about Fort Wayne’s smoking Ordinance. She declined the request and sent me a statement in an email.

“I was not on [the] council or involved with the smoking ordinance during its birth.”

Councilwoman Sharon Tucker, (D) Fort Wayne 6th District

I did not reach out to Fort Wayne Housing Authority for this story due to a conflict of interest.

At least 73 colleges and universities in the state of Indiana have moved to tobacco-free campuses in recent years. At first, these smoking and vaping bans garnered some resistance from students and staff that I spoke with at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne, Purdue Fort Wayne, and Indiana Tech. Officials say the move was to create a healthier environment. At the time, it created a lot of controversies.

Take a look at any college or university. Years ago, you saw students and staff smoking and/or vaping on campus.

Administrators at Ivy Tech, Indiana Tech, and Purdue Fort Wayne began cracking down in 2009 and eliminated smoking on campus, in college vehicles, and even in parking lots.

This means smokers in college have to smoke and/or vape off-campus or outside the college/university property.

Some students and staff I spoke with agree with the idea of how it will be enforced. Violators could be disciplined by the dean of students at Purdue Fort Wayne and Indiana Tech, but at Ivy Tech… A Security Desk Clerk is notified, then an officer is dispatched to issue a ticket and fine that will be posted to the student’s college record, as well as an incident report and additional disciplinary action taken through the appropriate administrative channels.

At Purdue Fort Wayne, violators are issued warnings and/or citations issued by PFW Police in accordance with Indiana law and may be fined $25 as of April 1, 2014.

On January 1, 2013, the Fort Wayne Housing Authority implemented a smoking ban in government-subsidized housing, or commonly known as housing projects.

Five years later, the nationwide ban went into effect.

However, I will make a disclosure that I am a Fort Wayne Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher client. To avoid any perceived or potential conflict of interest, I will not be reporting or commenting personally on the public housing smoking ban.

It is not uncommon to see “no smoking” signs in public areas. In August 2018, smoking in public housing was banned, yet it did not include vaping.

Various apartment complexes and even some homeowner’s associations have smoking bans and/or vaping bans in place.

Yet, in one particular apartment complex in Fort Wayne—the Hunt Club Apartments—a fire on April 2, 2022, was caused by a cigarette. The fire caused damage to 50 dwelling units. According to Fort Wayne Fire Department Deputy Chief Adam O’Connor in an interview with WANE-TV 15, the April 2022 fire was almost identical to another fire at the end of March 2008 as well as another fire in June 2007.

In a few communities in Florida and California—particularly Boca Raton and Fresno, those cities have banned smoking and vaping at apartment complexes.

At the Courtland Boca Raton, smoking and vaping are banned on the property. Tenants have to sign a non-smoking clause in their lease. Violators there will get a warning, followed by a fine, and possible eviction.

In Fresno, apartment complexes there have designated outdoor smoking areas and prohibit smoking inside individual dwelling units, yet those tenants are still allowed to smoke on their patios and balconies.

Could an apartment complex smoking ban in Fort Wayne, Indiana become reality? In Part 1 of this Ava Zinn Wants to Know Investigation, I spoke to Fort Wayne City Councilman Glynn Hines and Tobacco Free Allen County Executive Director Nancy Cripe about this.

To be clear, there is currently a smoke and vape-free ordinance in Fort Wayne, yet in non-public apartment complexes, there are no such ordinances or laws.

That’s due in part to stiff opposition from the Apartment Association of Fort Wayne. I reached out to the Apartment Association of Fort Wayne for comment and on-camera interview, but the doors were locked on the day of my visit.

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