Thursday, April 26, 2001

Ohio rules county can ban smoking inside all public places

The Associated Press

        TOLEDO — The board of health can ban smoking inside all public places in Lucas County, including bars and restaurants, according to the state attorney general.

        The attorney general's opinion, while not binding, gives the Toledo-Lucas County Board of Health stronger legal ground to impose the wide-ranging smoking ban.

        The board is expected to vote on the regulation today. It would be among the toughest in Ohio.

        Attorney General Betty Montgomery's opinion also said the health board can't grant exceptions, such as allowing smoking in bars.

        “I'm real happy,” said David Grossman, the board's health commissioner. “I think she reaffirmed everything we felt.”

        The Lucas County Prosecutor's Office asked the attorney general to review the proposed smoking regulation.

        Opponents of the regulation have promised a challenge.

        “I think we'll have to take a look at this in the courts,” said Arnie Elzey, owner of Arnie's Eating and Drinking Saloon in Toledo.

        He said similar regulations have been overturned.


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