Ohio high court upholds voter-approved Smoke Free Workplace

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Ohio high court upholds voter-approved Smoke Free Workplace

Postby Wilberforce » Wed May 23, 2012 7:09 pm

smoking ban
May 23, 2012
Image
7-0 Ohio Supreme Court ruling upholds statewide voter-approved smoking ban.
Photo credit: Ohio Dept. of Health

Ohio high court upholds voter-approved Smoke Free Workplace Act

John Michael Spinelli
Columbus Government Examiner

Non smokers can stop worrying that their next dining experience at their local eatery will be ruined by puffers at the next table blowing smoke their way. In a unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court of Ohio Wednesday, enforcement of Ohio's citizen-initiated and voter-approved law restricting workplace smoking was upheld.

The Smoke Free Workplace Act, enacted through the state's initiative process in 2006, is a health and occupational safety law that restricts smoking inside most public places, such as bars and restaurants, as well as workplaces.

Writing the majority opinion, Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, said, "The voters of Ohio also have a legitimate purpose in protecting the general welfare and health of Ohio citizens and workforce from the dangers of secondhand smoke in enclosed public places. The Smoke Free Act is a valid exercise of the state's police power by Ohio voters and does not amount to a regulatory taking. The judgment of the court of appeals is affirmed."

The Ohio Department of Health, charged with enforcing the smoking law, sought an injunction against a Columbus bar, Zeno's, in light of its repeated violations of the law. Zeno's initiated a counter claim challenging the constitutionality of the law and its enforcement. Zeno's won the case in a Franklin County trial court, but on appeal the Tenth District Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's ruling. Zeno's then appealed to the Supreme Court, which upheld much of what the court of appeals concluded earlier.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office represented the ODH, praised the unanimous Ohio Supreme Court ruling. "This is great news for the health of Ohioans and for the democratic process," AG DeWine said. "The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld a law passed by a statewide majority of Ohio voters, and patrons and employees of Ohio businesses will continue to enjoy surroundings that are safer because they are smoke-free."

Zeno's bar, located in the Harrison West neighborhood north of downtown Columbus, owes more than $40,000 as a repeat violator of the smoking ban. Despite repeated notifications of violations of the law from 2007-2009, Zeno's refused to pay the incurred fines. DeWine's office noted that "investigations into violations of the law are complaint-driven."

The complete 7-0 Supreme Court ruling and the Attorney General's merit brief answering Zeno's claims before the court can be found on the Ohio Attorney General's website.

Issue 5, on the Nov. 7, 2006, statewide ballot, passed, making Ohio the 12th state to protect all workers and the public from exposure to secondhand smoke in workplaces and public places. The law took effect Dec. 7, 2006 and enforcement began May 3, 2007.

You're invited to comment on this column. Join me on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest or watch my YouTube videos. You can follow me on Twitter. Send news or tips to ohionewsbureau@gmail.com

source
http://www.examiner.com/article/ohio-hi ... kplace-act
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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