Smoking Ban Goes To The Supreme Court

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Smokers haven’t been able to light up inside Ohio bars for four years now, but that ban still seems to be getting mixed reviews.

Those who talked to NBC4 said,

“I love that I can go and enjoy a drink and not have to worry about smoke,” or “If I am not actively eating, if I am just sitting at a bar it doesn’t bother me to have smoke around.”

In 2008, the state health department found Zeno’s bar in Victorian Village in violation of the smoking ban.

Now the case is taking a turn.

An appeals court overturned a decision to make Zeno’s pay fines for its smoking violations — and the case is going to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court reviews smoking ban

Supreme Court reviews smoking ban

“This is really about the extent to which government can regulate you and your private property and your business,” said Maurice Thompson, Director of 1851 Center for Constitution Law.

Thompson is the attorney for Zeno’s and said the law states that bar owners need to post signs, take away ash trays and make customers aware of the law. Thompson said the health department is asking bar owners to take it a step further.

“What the health department is saying is that you have to call the police or use force to bounce people out of the restaurant or bar once they’re smoking there and that is no where in the statute,” Thompson said.

“What we are trying to do is strike a good balance for the owner. Once he lets the patron know, then he has met their obligation,” said Jacob Evans, Vice President of the Ohio Licensed Beverage Association.

Evans said the law is not a workable law. His group is now working with legislators to make a rule everyone understands.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court should hear the case in the next few months and could make a decision by the end of the year.

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