I guess this is the column where Iâstart off with some witty smoking pun.

I’ll attempt to avoid those, but I can say for me, the state’s new smoking law isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

The new law eliminates smoking from many businesses but exempts bars, taverns and any restaurant that doesn’t allow people under 21.

Even as someone who has smoked cigarettes in his life, I have to concede that my desire to smoke in a public place doesn’t supercede the desire of other people not to smell or inhale it.

I think this new law is just yet another example of government grandstanding then not going far enough.

Remember that this smoking ban was supposed to be a crown jewel for GovernorâMitch Daniels in his final full year of being the state’s chief executive?

It was supposed to be done by the time the Super Bowl came around.

Anytime someone from out of state visits, especially from the coasts, one of the first things I always hear is how amazed they are that Indiana allows people to smoke in public.

And not amazed like, “Wow, this is so great,”âbut more like, “Wow, how backwards is this place?”

Like so many other things, this creates an imbalance. Some places that offer essentially the same services can allow smoking while others can’t.

And spare me the argument of letting the free market decide.

If my favorite sandwich joint allows smoking and the place down the street doesn’t, I’m going to pick the one I like and deal with the smoke.

The free market argument isn’t an apples-to-apples argument.

I understand exempting cigarette shops and cigar bars.

But exempting casinos and bars just shows how much influence lobbyists have over how we are governed.

Have you seen the mind-boggling amount of oxygen tanks in a casino? That alone should keep cigarettes out of casinos.

This law was designed to benefit public health.

It is now folly for cynics like me.

Everyone loves to pile on the federal government for their terrible lack of leadership.

And it’s well deserved.

But as good as Governor Mitch Daniels has been, this is definitely a black eye for his administration.

Daniels has always been out front on health issues in the state. His initiatives have been pretty good.

Talking to him when he was in town for the Chamber dinner this year, he wanted a smoking ban without a bunch of exemptions.

What he got was an ashtray full of week-old cigarettes (I couldn’t help myself).

This is yet just another example in a long line of instances where what’s perceived to be good for the public loses out to the interests of a few.

Follow staff writer Daniel Riordan on Twitter at @TUNews_Riordan

He can be reached at 574-267-3111, Ext. 246.