CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Ohio health officials sent one of 10,000 letters notifying businesses about smoking violations to Betta's Italian Oven, a restaurant in suburban Cincinnati that cooks pizzas on a wood-fired oven. Somebody objected to the oven, where an open fire produces smoke.
The restaurant's owner, Will DeLuca, banned cigarettes in his shop since it opened three years ago. DeLuca says he has to send a reply to the state health department in Columbus explaining he is complying with the new law that prohibits indoor smoking.
He says his wood smoked pizzas are prepared the traditional Italian way, and that such ovens are commonplace in Europe. State officials say they will drop the matter and suburban Norwood's health commissioner said the complaint was a big mistake. It probably came from a customers who saw the oven smoking.
Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Steve Kemme, who broke the story in print, has an excellent account of the flap HERE. Apparently, some people believe that Ohio's anti-smoking measure bans wood stoves. Health Department spokesman John Carey told Kemme that that objectors "usually cite a part of the law that defines smoking as 'inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or other lighted smoking device for burning tobacco or any other plant."
[Ed Note: By the way, Betta's Italian Oven has tasty lunches. It's near the Xavier University campus and not far from The Daily Bellwether.]