The Ohio Supreme Court will get a chance to determine the legality of the state's smoking ban after an appeals court ruled that state officials didn't overstep their bounds when they repeatedly cited a Victorian Village bar for violating Ohio's smoking ban.
Zeno's Victorian Village is fighting a two-pronged battle against the 2006 anti-smoking law, saying that it shouldn't apply to family-owned bars and that authorities are unfairly punishing bars for violating the ban rather than the smokers themselves.
On Tuesday, the Franklin County Court of Appeals handed Zeno's a big setback. In a 3-0 ruling, judges overturned a trial court's decision that dismissed more than $30,000 in fines against Zeno's. The trial court concluded that authorities had singled out bars and restaurants for penalties while refusing to cite smokers who violated the ban.
The February ruling by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David E. Cain never affected how state and local health departments enforce the no-smoking law. As of the end of August, more than 2,500 fines had been imposed totaling nearly $1.2 million, according to the Ohio Department of Health. State and local officials had collected about $400,000 of that amount.