August 3, 2010 - Just over half of Ohio residents want to let tobacco back in the state's bars, a new statewide poll finds, though support remains strong for continuing a smoking ban in restaurants and workplaces.
Voters in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment that banned smoking in indoor public spaces, including workplaces, restaurants and bars. Since then, there's been discussion of revising the law.
Background: Ohio voters approved the indoor smoking ban in November 2006, making Ohio the first Midwestern state and the first tobacco-growing state to enact such a ban. Ohio Department of Health estimates there are some 280,000 public places and places of employment in the State that are covered by the ban. Anyone who visits or works in these places should no longer be exposed to secondhand smoke.
What are penalties for violating the smoking ban??: Businesses: Warning letter, first violation; $100, second violation; $500, third violation; $1,000, fourth violation; and $2,500, fifth and subsequent violations. Note: fines may be doubled for intentional violations at the discretion of the enforcement entity and may be assessed on a daily basis for continuing violations. Individuals: Warning letter; first violation; $100, second and subsequent violations. Retaliation against Complainant: Warning letter, first violation; $1,000, second violation; $2,500 third and subsequent violations.
What are their proprietors’ obligations under the smoking ban??: They are essentially threefold: prohibit smoking, remove ashtrays and post no-smoking signs with the toll-free enforcement number – 1-866-559-OHIO (6446).
Ohio Smoking Ban Frequently Asked Questions - Ohio Department of Health.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Should Ohio end its smoking ban in bars? Yes (578) 52.59%, No (521) 47.41%
Total Votes: 1099
Vovici Online Survey Software
The Ohio Health Issues Poll, conducted on behalf of the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, found that 53 percent of adults surveyed favored repealing the ban in bars.
But while most Ohioans want to have a smoke with their beer, they'd like to keep their jobs and meals out smoke-free, said Jennifer Chubinski, director of health data improvement for the Health Foundation. The survey found 77 percent of respondents favored continuing the smoking ban in workplaces, and 78 percent favored continuing it in restaurants.
Support for the ban in those locations remained strong even among current smokers, results showed: 60 percent of smokers favored continuing smoke-free workplaces, while 62 percent favored smoke-free restaurants.
There's also been talk around the state about increasing the state's cigarette tax. Supporters say a 40-cent hike per pack will generate more revenue for the cash-strapped state and reduce smoking rates, especially among teens. The Health Foundation's poll found 48 percent of Ohio adults support the tax increase. Not surprisingly, support is highest among adults who've never smoked - 65 percent - and lowest among current smokers - 14 percent.
Chubinski was surprised to see anyone in favor of increase. "It's a tough time to ask people to increase taxes on anything," she said. Ohio's cigarette tax is $1.25 per pack, compared to 60 cents a pack in Kentucky and 99.5 cents in Indiana. Nationally, cigarette taxes range from 17 cents a pack in Missouri to $4.35 in New York.
Reference: Ohio poll: Rethink smoking ban by Peggy O'Farrell ( firstname.lastname@example.org), Cincinnati.com, 8/3/2010.
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