A Crown Point man said the cancer-related deaths of several relatives and the effects of smoking he witnessed during a 35-year career in the restaurant business compelled him to speak out.
Roger Jacobs, 57, is one of at least 200 people planning to rally Tuesday at the state Capitol for a statewide ban on smoking in public places.
"This is a public safety issue," Jacobs said.
The rally by volunteers with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is set to take place just before an expected hearing and vote Wednesday in the Senate Public Policy Committee on the ban.
House Bill 1018, sponsored by state Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, would exempt casinos, bars, tobacco shops and nursing homes.
Cancer Action Network volunteers and other participants in the rally plan to urge lawmakers to vote for an amended bill that includes bars and taverns in the ban, the group's spokeswoman Emily Coyle said.
"We want the senators to fix it in the committee hearing," Coyle said. "We want Indiana to be a smoke-free state, including in bars and restaurants. We want to protect the most number of workers."
Jacobs said he was 26 when his grandmother, a smoker, died of cancer.
Despite her suffering, "she managed to think about me," Jacobs said. "To me, she is still that wonderful person that I always knew, but I just am not going to get to spend that time with her."
Twenty-nine states have stricter smoke-free laws than Indiana, Jacobs said.
"We would like ours to be an example to others," he said.