Just a week after Indiana's new smoking ban went into effect, local health departments have been investigating complaints.
The St. Joseph County Health Department received three complaints about businesses violating the ban.
Margaret Kulwicki has been in the business of repairing cars for over 45 years, but this week it was HER business that needed "fixing."
Kulwicki and her husband Don own Certified Transmission on Grape Road in Mishawaka. The St. Joseph County Health Department investigated Kulwicki after receiving a complaint an employee was smoking, a clear violation of the state's new smoking ban.
But she was also warned about something that appears not to be so clear. She didn’t know she needed signs posted.
Under the new smoking ban, any business not exempt from the law must post special smoking ban signs. And not just any "No smoking" sign will do.
Businesses are required to post specific messages approved by the state. One says "No more smoking in here," another "No smoking in this facility," or "No smoking within 8 feet..It's the law."
The signs can be printed off the state's website at www.breatheindiana.com or businesses can request some by mail. They are free.
WSBT checked five different businesses along Grape Road:
At Fox & Son's Auto Clinic...no signs, and didn't know any were required.
When asked about the smoking ban, Napa Auto Care Center manager replied, "I don't know if we're supposed to have no smoking signs."
A similar response from Bob Eberhart, who owns Spas Factory Direct.
"Truthfully it's one more thing that's imposed on small businesses, but if it's mandated we'll do that to comply."
Kulwicki's shop is now in compliance with the new law. A "No smoking within 8 feet" sign hangs on the front door and a "No Smoking in this facility" sign is posted where her employees clock in. They also moved their outdoor smoking area at least 8 feet away from the front door to the business, something also required under the new law.
"If they come back I'm sure they won't find a problem. We also did throw out all the ashtrays in the shop," says Kulwicki.
Some businesses including bars, taverns and casinos are exempt from the law.
The St. Joseph County Health Department says they will be investigating any complaints about companies violating the smoking ban, but it will be state excise officers from the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission who will issue any fines. Fines can cost up to $1,000.
The state admits they do not have enough officers to go to every business to make sure signs are posted. This will largely be a complaint-driven process.