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Indiana Chamber May Repeal “Smoker’s Bill of Rights”

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Smokers across Indiana may soon find it more difficult to find a job, as lawmakers reportedly seek to repeal a law keeping people that use cigarettes from being discriminated upon because of their nasty habit.

One of the goals of the Indiana Chamber for the upcoming legislative session is to request for the repeal of the state’s 1991 “smoker’s rights bill,” which prohibits employers from not hiring workers that smoke as well as keeps them from charging them higher health insurance premiums.

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar says that the current law is no longer reasonable and needs to be changed.

“Right now smoking is just as much of a protected class for hiring purposes in Indiana as race, religion, and all of the things that fell under the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Brinegar.

Indiana businesses are forced to pay some of the highest insurance premiums in the country, mostly in part to Hoosiers having one of the highest smoking rates. Brinegar says companies are passing on Indiana, and smokers are essential preventing the state from experiencing a much needed industrial expansion.

If the Chamber manages to repeal the more than two decade old bill, employers would have the right to not hire individuals that smoke.

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