Does My Vote Matter
March 2, 2010 by admncc
I normally avoid posts about specific ballot issues in my state, unless I believe they would produce a discussion which all readers could participate in. This might be one of those rare examples.
In November 2006, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved Issue 5, which banned indoor smoking at businesses and also eliminated smoking in many public places. Admittedly, I voted for the ban, because for example, I enjoy going to restaurants and not having to worry about my daughter being exposed to second-hand smoke.
But it made me laugh to hear the bar owners complaining about how they were losing business as a result of the ban. I wanted to point out to them that this wasn’t a countywide ban – it was a statewide ban. So their patrons weren’t going to other places to smoke – because there was nowhere else to go. Let’s face it -people still go out – they just live without smoking indoors now. And if people weren’t going to their bars and restaurants after the ban, as my one buddy put it, “It’s not because of the no-smoking.”
After the change in the law, first there were complaints about enforcement. So an enforcement agency was created. Then there were complaints about the lack of fines. So fines were given out. Now, according to an Ohio.com story, “Newly released Ohio Department of Health figures show the state has spent $3.2 million to impose $1.2 million in fines on violators of Ohio’s smoking ban.” And State Senator, Bill Seitz, of Cincinnati, has been rumored to be working on legislation which will allow restaurants and bars to purchase smoking licenses – the exact thing that Issue 5 banned.
The Senator’s approach is going to have strong opposition since smoking is such a hot topic. Really, I just wish the crybaby bar owners would realize that the voters have spoken. Quit complaining about smoking not being allowed and find another way to attract customers. The hilarious thing is this…I think what you’re going to find are restaurant and bar owners not buying the smoking licenses (if that idea is approved) because they realize “the majority” of people don’t want to deal with it anymore…