CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Lawyers for the American Cancer Society's Ohio division petitioned to intervene in a Hamilton County lawsuit filed by a statewide organization of liquor permit holders that challenges the indoor smoking ban. Voters overwhelmingly approved the ban last November. The cancer society's Ohio unit was a founding member of SmokeFreeOhio, the coalition of health groups that sponsored State Issue 5, which received 59% of the vote.
So far, not many businesses appear on SmokeFreeOhio's (you can find a link to the businesses in each city near the bottom of this post) Web list that shows who is complying. There are 29 in Cincinnati, 14 in Cleveland, 20 in Columbus and 9 in Toledo.
SmokeFreeOhio, the coalition behind the anti-smoking campaign, says calling its action a ban is misleading "because our law does not ban smoking. SmokeFreeOhio just asks smokers to step outside for a few minutes to protect everyone's right to breathe clean indoor air."
In the court action, the cancer society contends it is legally eligible to intervene because it managed the statewide petition circulation effort that landed the issue on the ballot, and "provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial and in-kind contributions" to support the measure.
''Proposed intervenor's interest is in giving full effect to the Act as passed by the voters of Ohio,'' the petition filed with Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Fred Nelson says. ''Proposed intervenors are also clearly so situated that disposition of the action may, as a practical matter, impair or impede their ability to protect that interest given that a ruling by the court could prevent the enacted law from going into effect as written, or at all."
The petition added that the Ohio Department of Health, which is responsible for administering the smoking ban, ''may or may not raise all of the same arguments against this action that proposed intervenor will raise."
Nelson has approved a consent decree that blocks enforcement of the law until rules are drawn up. The case is Buckeye Liquor Permit Holders Association et al v. Ohio Department of Health et al, Case No. A0610614. Donald J. McTigue and Mark A. McGinnis, of the McTigue Law Group in Columbus, represent the American Cancer Society.
Meanwhile, SmokeFreeOhio has compiled THIS LIST of businesses that are complying. It also urges supporters to patronize the businesses and leave these thanks cards
State health officials held a meeting in Columbus today and started preparing enforcement regulations, which may be out by early June.