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July 5, 2020

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Smoke free law is alive and well

In November 2006, Ohioans passed the Smoke-Free Workplace Act, making Ohio the 12th state to protect all workers and the public from exposure to secondhand smoke in public places.  Approximately 280,000 Ohio worksites are impacted by this law.

To be in compliance with this law, workplaces must prohibit smoking, remove ashtrays and post no-smoking signs with the toll-fee enforcement number (1-800-559-OHIO).  Local health departments have the ability to enforce this law, but the process is complaint-driven and a call must be placed to the toll-free enforcement number to begin the process.

“Our department follows-up with every complaint that comes in for our county,” says Bill Kelly, Director of Environmental Services.  “The number of complaints has decreased steadily since the law went into effect.”

Enforcement of the Smoke-Free Workplace Act began in May 2007.  Since that time, over 64,000 calls were made to the toll-free enforcement number.  Over 650 reports were received regarding Allen County businesses resulting in 382 investigations.  

In 2011, the Ohio Department of Health released a collection of reports that analyzed the impacts of the statewide smoking ban since it began.  Early information shows that the ban has had positive impacts on health and has not had a negative impact on restaurant and bar business, as opponents predicted it would. 

In addition, 73% of Ohioans have reported that they strongly approved or approved the passage of the Smoke-Free Workplace Act.  In addition to smoke free indoor air, more and more agencies are enacting smoke free/tobacco free campuses.