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Smoking Ban Enforcement Method Rejected

A group challenging a policy used to enforce Ohio's ban on workplace smoking says a judge's ruling in favor of a Columbus bar means other taverns who have been cited by the Ohio Department of Health could have their violations tossed.

The state is appealing the Franklin County ruling, which says the department exceeded its authority by holding Zeno's bar responsible for the actions of its patrons.

Judge David Cain says the department fined Zeno's despite "no smoking" signs, the removal of ashtrays and requests by employees that smokers extinguish cigarettes.

The bar was defended by the Columbus-based 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

Health department Director Alvin Jackson says the decision is surprising because dozens of other cases have been decided in the state's favor. The law center says the case is different because the others were administrative reviews and because the attorney general has sought to make an example of Zeno's.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.