May 23rd, 2012 By Hannah McCartney | News | Posted In: State Legislature, News

Ohio Supreme Court Rules Smoking Ban Constitutional

Judge rejects Columbus restaurant's argument that ban is "oppressive"


Since 2006, the Ohio Smoke-Free Workplace Act has banned indoor smoking at public establishments and places of employment, making Ohio the first Midwestern state to enact a state-wide ban. Despite controversy and contestment, that ban will continue to be enforced statewide.

The owner of Zeno's Victorian Village in Columbus who attempted to combat the law was shut down by a unanimous 7-0 vote in the Ohio Supreme Court today, which ruled that the state's six-year smoking ban is constitutional. 

Ohio's ban affects some 280,000 establishments across the state of Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). 

According to the Supreme Court of Ohio's case summary, Zeno's was cited 10 times for violations of the ban from July 2007 and September 2009, receiving multiple fines, none of which were paid. In protest of the violations, the director of the ODH filed a complaint against Bartec Inc., the corporate entity that owns Zeno's, requesting the bar to pay all outstanding fines.

Bartec and legal representative 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a nonprofit legal center, asserted that the smoking ban was unconstitutional, a violation of the state's policing powers and  that prohibiting smoking in an adults-only liquor-licensed establishment such as Zeno’s is "unduly oppressive," according to the case summary.

The ban and its enforcement, argued Bartec, constitutes an unlawful taking of property, meaning an improper confiscation of the owner’s control of the indoor air.

"The goal of this legislation is to protect the health of the workers and other citizens of Ohio. ...  It does so by regulating proprietors of public places and places of employment in a minimally invasive way.  We therefore hold that the Smoke Free Act does not constitute a taking,” wrote Justice Lanzinger in her opinion.

In her written opinion, Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger also cited 2002 Supreme Court decision, D.A.B.E., Inc. v. Toledo-Lucas Cty. Bd. of Health:

"We have previously stated that the General Assembly has the authority to enact a public-smoking ban. ... Although the Smoke Free Act was ultimately passed pursuant to a ballot initiative, 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.  By requiring that proprietors of public places and places of employment take reasonable steps to prevent smoking on their premises by posting ‘no smoking’ signs, removing ashtrays, and requesting patrons to stop smoking, the act is rationally related to its stated objective.”

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the bar owes the state approximately $33,00 in violation fines, and the state has threatened to seize and foreclose the bar if the fines aren't paid.

See how Ohio's public smoking laws compare to those in other states across the U.S. here.

05.29.2012 at 10:27 Reply

The state should go after Zeno's with an immediate request to pay their $33,000 and go for forclosure proceedings if there is any hesitation by the establishment. 

The same procedure should commence with all the other outstanding fines that is owed to Ohio without delay.


05.29.2012 at 05:57

That $33 thou fine is interesting.   If the cigarette industry was hit with even conservative penalties for what they did to cigarettes, and to the duped smokers who believe and are told it's just tobacco, the liabilities would be well into the double figure TRILLIONS.  

  Are they fined for secrectly poisoning millions of people with some of the worst industrial toxins and carcinogens on earth, for experimenting on millions without a shred of Informed Consent, for fraud for marketing the concoctions as "tobacco", etc.? No.  Instead, the industry's victims (including bar owners etc) are fined and criminalized.

 If one thinks a bar owner broke some law by allowing a smoker...what about breaking laws against recklees and knowing mass homicide and endangering the health of millions?  Priorities?


06.10.2012 at 10:58

First I’ve not read the “Smoke Free Act” except the one that was “ultimately passed pursuant to a ballot.”  Voted against it! for many reasons and the following is a small view how and why. 

      If one owns property (individual/partnership/corp./entity/or the like) where one is employed or works, or one visits as guest and/or in their course of work it could be inside or outside, with possible combination of both like semi-inside-outside.  If an employee or one that normally works at a location this can be know in application to work or find out soon after starting work most likely.  This would be part of job should they decide to accept or would/could be known to people where work “requires” they engage that location. The location may offer a mask and/or other possible accommodation, might be possible to make mutual accommodation with employee, or require employee upon employment to bring if it’s so offensive.  In short with “known” possible hazard part of job may have some minimal protection provided and may not be adequate, and you ought to consider more desired protection for your health.

      If one visits a guest for dinner and entertainment they may or may not choose an atmosphere contrary to their desires.  This might especially be achieved by a simple sign/information, much like or the very ones required/found on cigarette packs and tobacco products, placed upon entrances for public and/or reasonable place inside.  After all if one can be refused service for basically any reason owner desires (powers that be) or prerequisite in-lines of lawful.  One may choose a program via cable or “airwaves” desired or not in actual may hazardous to their health. 

      Insurance may be offered for a location, where smoking is allowed now or used to be, at a higher price if available.  It does likely reason more actual claims for certain type of employment or business, for those who can and/or choose to conform.  Thereby in theory lowering cost to all yet in actual most likely, those who can and/or choose to conform is very minor if at all benefit.  Those who benefit most, are one’s no longer categorized where smoking allowed and weren’t in first place.

      Grant-it smoking first or second hand is likely more “immediate” to ones health.  By same token clearly one has choice with few if any an ultimatum.  Where laws via “license/certificate/ or the like” require policing allowing or prohibiting overrides individuals desire if contrary.  Required usually via laws in order to obtain and maintain if owner wishes/desires to conduct business or employment.  They can conform said choice to abide by “law of the land” via “public policy; Smoke Free Act ultimately passed pursuant to a ballot” or chance long arm of the law.

      Owner has inherent rights and/or privileges to desires with property.  Usually desires preempted or prohibited maybe unlawful and contrary to law, many via public general welfare or a.k.a. “public policy” become ultimatum and/or oppress liberty to liberate.  Exhaust from vehicles or burning coal are known hazards in actual next to inescapable outside, and inside filtration required to escape much as possible.  Common knowledge or sense left to one’s own peril despite contrary to health of public in general.  One can say it is a trade off for the betterment of all in general logically, thus gives rise to mere details.  Mob rule and or majority can be oppress inasmuch the few or minority, yet liberty constrained via liberation beckons lost freedom at ultimate worth.

      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.  By requiring that proprietors of public places and places of employment take reasonable steps to prevent smoking on their premises by posting ‘no smoking’ signs, removing ashtrays, and requesting patrons to stop smoking, the act is rationally related to its stated objective.” wrote Justice Lanzinger in her opinion. 

      ‘Smoking here’ sign on premises allows utmost liberty to all and protection, where workers as cited prior if they desire more safety as much as reasonable possible prior to one engaging thereon may be achieved mutually, with ultimate worth to one engaging.  Preferred by one, patron, visitor, employee, and mere detail owner very rationally related to objective yet if one wishes to prevent smoking proprietors already do so when selling tobacco products.  One’s liberty to decide to engage possible hazard is not an oxymoron nor contrary to Constitution of Ohio and United States thereby offensive to many should they engage therein.

“How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!”- “Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.”-Samuel Adams                                  

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. - John Adams

Thank You For Your Time,



02.12.2014 at 11:57

It's interesting watching regulations and statutes to in affect make the use of a legal product illegal, versus tackling making the product illegal and avoiding said spot regulations and statutes, especially as in time those things are expanded upon to reduce the 'legal' areas of use.  No, I enjoy the benefits of a smokefree workplace, but fear that when the bans extend to open parks or tell businesses that they can't specifically cater to customers who prefer the product because of employee concerns, then the hiring practices are thrown under the bus (hopefully an emissions controlled bus) to cater to the ban.  It'll be interesting watching this as it also becomes the weapon of choice against other ills of society such as sugar and salt, whereas alcohol and arms seem to be at either the right level of stricture or loosening.


05.29.2012 at 01:33 Reply

It is said that the bans are about protecting health...but that is just the pretense.  The more important reason for the bans is to protect the cigarette industry from potentially disastrous legal suits for contaminating typical cigarettes with residues of any of 450 pesticides registered for tobacco use, with cancer-causing levels of radiation from certain fertilizers, with burn accelerants, with hosts of kid-attracting sweets and flavors, with any of over 1000 untested, often toxic, non-tobacco additives AND with dioxin-producing chlorine from many pesticides and the bleached paper.

To protect the industry's profits, none of that is labeled. To protect the chlorine industries in general, no warnings are required for the deadly dioxins in smoke from typical products. And, to protect themselves from indictments for perhaps decades of approving this and enabling the industries, and to maximize "sin taxes", government officials fall all over themselves pretending to be "concerned about health"...NOT by banning the deadly adulterants but by burdening the victims.

With that in mind, it is necessary to assure that the Supreme Court judge who made this ruling does not have economic links to this industry...including the pesticides and other ingredients suppliers and their insurers and investors.  Is the judge linked to pesticides or chlorine industries?  ...To suppliers of agricultural additives and paper? ...to pharmaceuticals that supply additives and pesticides?...to health insurers that invest billions in cigarette manufacturing?   If there are such links, the judge would have been required to recuse himself for bias or the appearance of bias.  If there was bias, it is impossible to see how the ruling can be valid.

See   http://fauxbacco.blogspot.com for reference material.