Smoking ban has made positive impact on Ohio

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 24, 2011

In November 2006, Ohioans banned secondhand smoke from workplaces and public places. The law took effect Dec. 7, 2006. Enforcement began May 3, 2007.

There was opposition by smokers at first, but the number of complaints against businesses that allow people to smoke has steadily decreased …

While most now comply, some are still resisting and some have accumulated hefty fines, which have gone mostly unpaid due to a lack of funding for enforcement.

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To collect unpaid fines, the state has decided to go after the worst violators where it hurts, by not renewing their liquor permits.

It’s a good move and should improve compliance. No reasonable bar owner is going to sacrifice a liquor license, their bread and butter, over a couple $100 smoking fines. …

So far, legal challenges to the smoking ban have been unsuccessful, although there is a challenge pending before the Ohio Supreme Court. It was brought by the owner of a Columbus tavern cited for violations and fined $33,000. The owner argues that the ban denies bar owners’ property rights, among other things.

Meanwhile, most bar owners have given up the fight and have adjusted to the ban by creating outside areas where smoking is permitted. …

Those places which are repeatedly cited and owe a large amount in fines should only have two options: Change the law or pay up. Otherwise, they should be barred from making money by dispensing alcohol.

The (Findlay) Courier