In November 2006 Ohio’s voters approved an indoor smoking ban in restaurants and bars. According to the Ohio Department of Health this made “Ohio the first Midwestern state and the first tobacco-growing state to enact such a ban.” Despite a great deal of out-of-state money spent on fighting the ban and a fake ‘smoke less’ initiative put on the ballot by the Tobacco companies, Ohioans overwhelmingly supported the ban.

John Kasich seems to have decided he doesn’t much care for what the voters of Ohio think, and he’s decided to take it upon himself to effectively eliminate enforcement of the ban in his budget. Given the history of this ban, it’s a pretty ballsy move on Kasich’s part.

The smoking ban law currently in place in Ohio came about as part of a ballot initiative and not an act of the legislature. This means the voters of Ohio decided to implement the law – not the General Assembly. It appeared on the ballot as Ohio Ballot Measure 5 or the “Smoke Free Act” in November of 2006 and it appeared on the ballot next to Ohio Ballot Measure 4, a constitutional amendment initiative organized by a group called Smoke Less Ohio.

Ballot Measure 5 (Smoke Free Act) was organized and supported by the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association who spent $2.68 million to get the initiative passed.

Ballot Measure 4 (Smoke Less) was organized and supported by R.J. Reynolds and other big-tobacco-subsidized groups. The goal of these groups was to confuse voters and spin votes away from Measure 5. Because Measure 4 was introduced as a constitutional amendment it would have superseded Measure 5 if passed. Tobacco companies spent over twice as much money ($6.4 million) on their campaign hoping to trick Ohio’s voters into supporting their ballot measure. They failed.

Ohio’s voters proved in 2006 that they are not stupid. They knew EXACTLY what they were voting for. And despite having a deceptive counter initiative on the ballot and being bombarded by millions of dollars in advertising from tobacco companies, they passed the Measure 5 smoking ban 58.2% to 41.8%.

For reference purposes: when George Bush won his second term in 2004 he went around telling anyone who would listen that his decisive victory gave him a mandate for his second term. George Bush’s mandate came with a win totally only 50.7% of the votes (vs Kerry’s 48.3%.)

If 50.7% is a mandate then 58.2% is damn landslide. (btw John Kasich was elected with only 49.0% – hardly a mandate and miles from a landslide)

Regardless of how you feel about the smoking ban, you have to agree that the Democratic process worked in this case. The voters voted. They made a decision. And by a very large margin they decided what they wanted.

As a result the state and its elected officials are required to enforce the law whether they like it or not.

Or so you’d think.

As Laura Bischoff points out in today’s Dayton Daily news, John Kasich’s budget will completely defund enforcement of the smoking ban by 2013.

Are you asking yourself “Why bother having a law if you can’t enforce it”? Then you got the point.

John Kasich again shows that he doesn’t give a crap about Ohio’s laws and certainly doesn’t give a crap what Ohio’s voters think. Is anyone really shocked?

I can only guess how many pieces of paper were wasted printing out copies of his 774-page budget but I know for sure thousands of trees could have been saved if Kasich had just released his budget in its original form:

Dear Ohioans,



  • Xx

    Smoke-in at the governors office!

  • Anastasjoy

    Uh oh. I am going to have to call my best friend and warn her not to drive down to Columbus and kill Kasich. “Pissed” hardly begins to describe how she is going to react to this.

  • I think we need to send that “screw you” attitude right back at the gov

  • Anon

    This is how “they” operate. They (evil Rethugs) wreck, destroy, or my favorite defund the government we want and pay for. Then they give themselves a raise and their friends bonuses for stealing money. This of course makes it easier to buy (steal) at pennies on the dollar. Isn’t that what all of this privatizing is about?

    Why do people vote for Rethugs again? Somebody wants smaller government, and that is what we got. They don’t work for us; they work against us. Why are we paying for evil rich people to move and for their new home? That ain’t the “free market” in my book.
    Evil in America brought to us by people who didn’t vote or voted for evil white men.

  • But, instead of just saying they take money from the health insurance and tobacco big business coffers, they hide behind the budget & defund the enforcement. The result is that private business is screwed if they continue to follow the law. Smokers will defy the law and it will be up to citizens and responsible business owners to “enforce”, what experience now confirms, is an important law serving the public safety. When will the average American figure out this is big business against small business. Kasich is such an efficient middle management overseer for his masters.

  • Guest

    I could say something like what teh stoopid teabag haters say:
    “Follow the law”. On the other hand, “there are no rules” spoken by a famous Rethug crook may be more appropriate.

  • Anonymous

    And, if by chance this fall the voters decide SB5 ought to be kept and enforced, will you denounce any future administrations’ attempts to overturn or circumvent it?

  • I have a hard time believing that. That ballot initiative passed by a pretty significant margin. Obviously, non-smokers who don’t want to be around second-hand smoke outnumber smokers in Ohio.

  • There has to be some way to get back at these people. How about a constitutional amendment to defund the governor? I’m sure Ohioans would dig into their pockets for the cost of the tar and feathers. No need to pay for that out of tax dollars.

  • There has to be some way to get back at these people. How about a constitutional amendment to defund the governor? I’m sure Ohioans would dig into their pockets for the cost of the tar and feathers. No need to pay for that out of tax dollars.

  • Random Thoughts

    I have a hard time believing this, too. Go to any restaurant/bar on a Friday or Saturday night, even Sunday after church, and see if there isn’t a 1 – 2 hour wait for a seat. Remember back when you had a choice of which section you were seated in? Usually the response was “We can seat you in the smoking section, but you’ll have to wait for non-smoking” – meaning people, by far, preferred non-smoking.

    Even after the ban was put in place there was a bar that I visited a few times that allowed smoking until 10:00pm. No one left the bar in a huff after the cut-off… they simply went outside to smoke, then came back inside to carry on.

    I believe the hurt to businesses will come when/if bars and restaurants realize they no longer have to abide by the ban and allow smoking again. After being joyously smoke-free for five years, this would be a HUGE step backward.

  • Prince John K-sick is toxic

    People are broke. We don’t have a job, or the job we have pays crappy. Going out is a luxury. The places that I go to have happy hour. I don’t go out late because it is way more expensive. Plus, people are leaving and have left Cleveland. Fewer people, less money, less going out, fewer people going out. And of course there aren’t enough rich people to go out and spend enough money. This is more scapegoating and lying brought to us by big tobacco and big booze. This is another benefit of evil supply side (more money for them to buy the TGOP and get what they want)….NOT!@ We’re broke, and Cleveland and the remainder of Ohio sucks that way. Put another way, there isn’t enough demand if you believe that total lie/BS called supply and demand.

  • Adrienne Knight

    Thanks so much for calling me an idiot.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    In my way of thinking — its not the point of whether we needed the “non-smoking” law or not. The point is all of Ohio voted and the law passed. Just like in the end after he hires some of his buddies firms to look at the casino law and change the law on that.( something else we all voted on and passed.) Theres a pattern here — he has no regard for the former laws of this state or the folks who live here.
    Just how much money was being used for the non-smoking law? and where is it going ? Oh i forgot the jobsohio needs money — lol
    All of this needs looked into by someone who knows the laws — theres bound to be some legal issue — this maybe how to get him out.
    Can you just take money like this ( isnt this called encumbered money since its for a specfic thing?) and re-route to some other thing he wants funded. Even he is bound by laws of this state. Time to over run Husted and DeWines office with letters and e-mails .

  • publichealthgirl

    Why should you have the option to give me cancer (or asthma, or emphysema etc)? You are more than welcome to make yourself sick. I would never try to deny you that right. However, you absolutely DO NOT have the right/option to make me sick. So I ask you, This is America, why are you trying to deny me the right to go to public places without getting sick?

  • publichealthgirl

    As someone who waited tables and tended bar for the better part of a decade, I am calling BS on your comment. I absolutely hated the way my lungs felt clogged and my hair and clothes smelled after a night working at the bar. I loved bartending, but I hated the fact that if I wanted to do something I enjoyed, I had to risk my HEALTH to do it. Why should your choice to give yourself cancer mean that I have to get it too?
    Although I no longer tend bar, I do go to bars quite frequently and they are still busy. People will always want to drink. I know for a fact that the smokers I know are not sitting at home sulking because they have to go outside to have a ciggy. They may find it annoying, but they still go out every weekend. To say that not having smoking inside a business keeps people from going out is idiotic. If a bar/restaurant is not doing well, it is because people are broke and the economy sucks (and the rethuglicans are making it worse) not because they have to walk and extra 100 ft. to smoke.

  • Anon

    I keep thinking about California and them getting 8 years of Arnold. That didn’t work so well. The problem is and will continue to be elections for Governor etc during off years. I will give the TGOP props and for lying or otherwise convincing people to vote for rich people. They move in like a predator to pick at our bones even more. Their rule (not governance) is based on division getting us to fight over the crumbs while we get robbed more. I am glad that the people of Ohio did vote for cleaner indoor air, for something good.

  • Tlc601

    This law cost many bars their livelihood and the people. All around. It. It killed. Mine

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!