Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ohio smoking ban: unpaid fines and cuts in enforcement

The state of Ohio is seeing cutbacks in smoking ban enforcement. Enforcement is also sketchy – thousands of dollars are outstanding in unpaid fines.

Landlords rather than individual smokers have been leant on by the law:
Many neighborhood bars and other smoking-ban opponents continue to hold out against the law, which was built around using fines to help pay for enforcement. Among their assertions is that the ban is unconstitutional, as enforcement has focused on fining business owners, not actual smokers as allowed by the law. [...]
If bar owners put signs up about the smoking ban, remove ashtrays, and take other measures to notify patrons that smoking isn't allowed in their establishments, they should not be fined, Mr. Thompson said. Smokers breaking the ban should be fined by health departments, but are not, he said.
"They're just picking and choosing what part of the law they want to enforce," Mr. Thompson said.
Picking on landlords is a trait I seem to call here in the UK too. During a visit of enforcement officers, 'Customers were spotted smoking in full view of staff, who made no attempt to stop them, the court heard.' Not content with making it a crime to smoke in an enclosed public place (sic), the law made it a crime to allow smoking in such a public place. Easy pickings maybe, but unfairly selective, and it is small wonder that it is dubbed unconstitutional. In the UK it's the way to get the ban enforced, but it seems that Ohio residents are more obstructive when they feel abused by the authorities.

On top of the other problems faced by the health department in Ohio, smoking rates are not even declining – in fact they are going up, and local smoking cessation services have also taken a hit in the budget cuts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As we all know Smoking bans do Not cut smoking rates, a fact that even the anti-smoking lobby should in all honesty admit. If the public in the UK were to show some backbone and just say No to Prohibition both businesses and the public would be in a much better country. It is time for All taxpayer funding of anti-smoking propaganda to stop, it has all been a costly Failure. Tug