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State's Smoking Ban to Grow Some Teeth

February 28, 2007

Ohio's smoking ban will get some teeth, possibly as soon as April, if proposed enforcement rules are approved as planned. At a public hearing in Columbus, the State Health Department took comments on its plan, which includes a warning for first-time offenders, and fines of $100 and up for businesses that ignore that warning.
Tracy Sabetta with the American Cancer Society in Ohio says she'd like to see the rules in place soon, to put last fall's referendum into action.

"It was clear that Ohioans want, expect, and deserve smoke-free public places and workplaces. We look forward to the final approval of these rules, so that they can have just that in Ohio."

Critics of the smoking ban also turned out at the hearing to express their opposition to the law. Some claim it's unconstitutional, and have filed suits against it. Micah Berman with the Tobacco Public Policy Center says none of the smoking bans in the U.S. have been ruled unconstitutional, and they've become increasingly popular over time.

"All we're looking for right now is to get these rules into place as quickly as possible, so that everyone can have a level playing field and so that the act can start to work to protect Ohioans from second-hand smoke exposure."

The proposed rules can be found at

Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OH