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Lawsuit Threatened Over Enforcement of Ohio Smoking Ban

A conservative policy group is arguing in a lawsuit that Ohio is enforcing its smoking ban too strictly at a time when bars are already hurting.

The Buckeye Institute, arguing on behalf of a Toledo tavern called the Pour House, says in a lawsuit before a state appeals court that the state is requiring bars to exercise near total control over their customers.

Attorney Maurice Thompson says bars must be given a reasonable length of time to confront smoking patrons before a citation may be issued.

But Attorney General Richard Cordray says the law is simple: If smoking is occurring, it's the bar's fault.

Cordray brought enforcement to a new level last week when he sued two bars alleging they had repeatedly flouted the ban.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)