More than $2M in smoking ban fines unpaid

Published 10:10 am Monday, August 10, 2015

HAMILTON (AP) — More than $2 million fines for violating Ohio’s indoor smoking ban remain unpaid even as violations of the ban have decreased.

The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reported that Ohio Department of Health records show $2.1 million in uncollected fines. But violations of the smoking ban dropped from 2,287 in 2008 to 334 in 2014.

Ohio passed the Smoke Free Workplace Act prohibiting smoking in public spaces and workplaces in 2006.

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Lisa Zumstein of the health department said violations have decreased as businesses become more educated about the law and fewer businesses are committing multiple violations.

Money collected from the fines goes to a fund that offsets the expenses of enforcing the law.

The Ohio Division of Control can reject liquor licenses if a business owner repeatedly fails to pay smoking-related fines.