(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -A decision out of the 10th District Court of Appeals this week upholds Ohio’s Smoke Free Act requiring Zeno’s of Victorian Village to abide by the smoking ban. The ruling supports the case against Zeno’s filed by Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Alvin D. Jackson, M.D in August 2009.
“With this lawsuit, as with others, my office has sought to enforce the law that Ohioans passed-in this instance, a law that was passed not by the legislature but the people themselves at the ballot box,” said Cordray. “This ruling not only supports the merits of our case against Zeno’s but sends a strong message to other establishments that they are required to abide the law.”
With this week’s decision the Court reversed the decision by the trial court which had rejected ODH’s request for injunction under the Smoke Free Act. In this ruling, the 10th District held that ODH is entitled to a permanent injunction because “the evidence is overwhelming that Zeno’s repeatedly and intentionally violated the Smoke Free Act” and ordered the trial court to issue the injunction as requested by ODH.
“This decision is a great victory for Public Health in Ohio,” said Jackson. “It affirms our efforts to enforce the Smoke Free Workplace Act and protect Ohioans from dangerous second hand smoke while they work and frequent public places.”
In November 2006, Ohioans passed the Smoke Free Act, making Ohio the 12th state to protect all workers and the public from exposure to secondhand smoke in public places. Enforcement began May 3, 2007. Since then, more than 53,000 allegations have been called in to Ohio’s toll-free enforcement number, (866) 559-OHIO (6446).
More than 280,000 public places and places of employment are covered by the indoor smoking ban and Jackson stated that the vast majority of Ohio businesses are complying with the law. He added, ODH and its partners at Ohio’s local health departments have been and will continue to investigate every complaint in an effort to protect and improve the health of all Ohioans.
To date, ODH and Ohio’s local health departments have conducted more than 33,000 investigations which have resulted in the issuance of more than 3,600 warning letters. In addition, more than 2,500 fines have been assessed.