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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio
Smart Voter
State of Ohio November 7, 2006 Election
Issue 4
Proposed Constitutional Amendment - Restrict smoking places - Smoke Less
State of Ohio

Proposed by Initiative Petition - A majority yes vote is necessary for passage

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

To adopt Section 12 of Article XV of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.

This proposed amendment would prohibit smoking in enclosed areas except tobacco stores, private residences or nonpublic facilities, separate smoking areas in restaurants, most bars, bingo and bowling facilities, separated areas of hotels and nursing homes, and race tracks. The amendment would invalidate retroactively any ordinance or local law in effect, and would prohibit the future adoption of any ordinance or local law to the extent such ordinance or law prohibited smoking or tobacco products in anyplace exempted by the amendment.

Impartial Analysis from LWV Ohio Ed Fund
This proposed amendment would allow smoking in the following enclosed public areas: separate smoking areas in restaurants, most bars, bingo or bowling facilities, separated areas of hotels and nursing homes, race tracks, tobacco stores, private residences and nonpublic facilities. It would prohibit smoking in all other enclosed public areas. The amendment would also override home rule, invalidating and prohibiting local bans on smoking. A majority yes vote is necessary for passage. Note: There are two smoking-related ballot issues. This proposal is to approve a constitutional amendment.

Arguments for passage:
1. This amendment allows indoor smoking in a variety of enclosed public places.
2. This amendment would be beneficial to the tobacco and hospitality industries because it provides for numerous exceptions to an indoor smoking ban.
3. This amendment would restrain governmental interference into the personal choice to smoke.
4. This amendment would impose uniform smoking standards around the state.

Arguments against passage:
1. Patrons and workers in businesses that permit smoking would be subjected to the dangers of second hand smoke, a proven health hazard.
2. Because of the relationship between smoking, second-hand smoke and ill health, permissive smoking laws contribute to the escalation of health care costs.
3. The amendment would override home rule prohibitions that now exist in 21 Ohio municipalities, as well as any future attempts at local control of smoking. It would also override the proposed Smoke Free Workplace Act if both were passed. This proposal does not belong in the Ohio Constitution.

  Official Information

Voters should note that legal action is pending in regard to State Issues 1, 4 and 5. It is possible that court action may affect whether voters will actually vote on these Issues on Election Day, November 7, 2006.
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Arguments For Issue 4 Arguments Against Issue 4
Explanation and Argument in Support of Issue 4

The Smoke Less Ohio proposal on the November ballot is a constitutional amendment to ban smoking in 90% of Ohio businesses.

This is a reasonable approach to meeting the needs of Ohioans to protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke. We are proposing an effective smoking ban to keep smoke out of 90% of all the businesses in Ohio.

Smoke Less is a common sense approach that protects both non-smokers and individual rights. Smoke Less protects the rights of individuals and businesses to make their own personal choices about smoking in very limited locations. Smoke Less provides exceptions for places where there are no minor children or where a total ban would threaten the health of the business. Bars are the main exception. Bowling alleys, bingo locations, and completely separate, enclosed areas in restaurants are the others.

Smoke Less has proposed that the Ohio smoking ban be a constitutional amendment. That will be a dependable, permanent solution, so Ohioans know clearly where smoking is or is not allowed. Business owners can make a decision about whether to become entirely smoke-free or to participate in the allowed exceptions. If decided by statute, our smoking laws will be subject to constant change, and voters could be asked to decide the same question over and over again.

Smoke Less is a common sense smoking ban for Ohio.

Jacob Evans President Smoke Less Ohio

Argument and Explanation Against Issue 4

Don't Be Fooled by Tobacco Companies

Vote NO on the Pro-Smoking Constitutional Amendment

Vote No on Issue 4 to keep secondhand smoke out of restaurants and other public places.

RJ Reynolds and other tobacco companies are proposing and funding a pro-smoking constitutional amendment. Smoke Less Ohio would keep smoke in restaurants and other public places and put customers and workers at risk from secondhand smoke, a proven health hazard.

The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, doctors, hospitals, and every Ohio public health organization oppose Smoke Less Ohio because it would:

Deny your right to breathe smoke-free air in public places. Keep smoke in restaurants and bowling alleys, exposing children, the elderly and those with health problems to secondhand smoke. Overturn smoke-free laws in 21 cities across Ohio including Columbus and make it unconstitutional for lawmakers to enact future clean indoor air ordinances. The U.S. Surgeon General confirmed that secondhand smoke causes cancer, heart disease and lung disease. He also confirmed that separate smoking sections like those proposed by Smoke Less Ohio do not protect health.

Smoke Less Ohio would make it unconstitutional to protect more than half a million hospitality workers and their customers from exposure to secondhand smoke. No worker should have to choose between earning a living and protecting his or her health.

Smoke Less Ohio alters the Constitution to protect the tobacco industry's bottom line. Lawmakers and voters could only change the Smoke Less Ohio proposal through another constitutional amendment--a costly and lengthy process.

Smoke Less Ohio would create different rules for similar businesses and make a level playing field for all Ohio businesses impossible.

Smoke Less Ohio FAILS to protect the workers and citizens of Ohio from secondhand smoke. Vote NO on Issue 4.

Submitted by: James M. Sudimack, M.D., President, Ohio State Medical Association

Full Text of Issue 4
Be it resolved by the people of the State of Ohio, that Article XV, Section 12 to the Ohio Constitution

"Section 12. The General Assembly shall pass laws to limit or prohibit smoking of tobacco or tobacco products in all enclosed, public areas of this state except that no law shall prohibit smoking and/or the use of tobacco or tobacco products in any of the following:

A) any retail establishment that holds itself out as being devoted primarily to the on-site sale of tobacco, tobacco products, and tobacco product accessories and derives not less than fifty percent of its total gross sales from the on-site sale of tobacco, tobacco products, and tobacco product accessories;

B) any private residence or privately owned facility that is not open to the public;

C) any separate smoking area within an eating establishment that designates an area within the premises that is completely separated from the rest of the premises by walls or doors in which smoking is permitted;

D) any establishment that sells intoxicating liquor for on-premises consumption in which the annual revenue produced by the sale of food does not exceed sixty percent of total annual sales;

E) any public area where bingo or bowling is played;

F) any designated areas of any facility leased or rented to the public on a temporary basis for residential use including, but not limited to a hotel, motel, adult day care facility, nursing home or rehabilitation center, provided that smoking is permitted only in separate portions of the premises;

G) any facility or business establishment from which minors are prohibited;

H) any place, track or enclosure where an authorized permit holder conducts live or satellite horse racing.

This amendment supersedes and renders invalid any ordinance or local law in existence as of the date of this amendment to the extent such ordinance or law prohibits smoking and/or the use of tobacco or tobacco products in an establishment or place exempted by the language set forth in Section 12. The amendment also would prevent such laws or ordinances from taking effect in the future.

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