State court says Columbus bar intentionally broke anti-smoking law

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Advocates of Ohio’s workplace smoking ban are celebrating a ruling in a Columbus court of appeals that reinstates tens of thousands of dollars in fines against a local bar and restaurant.

The ruling issued this week says a lower court erred when it ruled Zeno’s Victorian Village wasn’t responsible for the actions of patrons who were smoking. That original ruling said the Ohio Department of Health exceeded its boundaries when it levied more than $33,000 in fines against the Ohio State-area Italian restaurant. But those fines were reinstated after the 10th district court of appeals found what it called “overwhelming evidence” that the bar’s owners repeatedly and intentionally violated the state’s Smoke Free Act. The American Cancer Society has supported the state throughout the legal fight the society’s John Hoctor.

“It’s upholding the enforcement of Smoke Free Ohio and the state’s right to enfoce the law and collect the fines that are due to the state following a thorough investigation,” Hoctor says.

Attorneys for Zeno’s say they’re already planning an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

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