Nichole Hannahs

Smoking Ban Complaints Decline

by Nichole Hannahs on January 14, 2013 at 6:28 am

Officials said the number of complaints involving smoking in bars and restaurants has steadily declined.

When the ban took effect in 2007 the Muskingum County Board of Health dealt with 170 complaints. This past year that number was down to 40.

"The most common is the most flagrant which is basically just people allowing people to smoke," said Sanitary Supervisor Ed Shaffer. "They are providing ash trays, people are actively smoking and the owner of the facility is not doing anything to stop them."

Shaffer said the only way they can investigate a smoking ban violation is if it first comes through the state’s tip-line. They’ll then send out a notice of violation and do an on site inspection.

"We’re going in and basically looking for people smoking, do they have ashtrays out, do they have their signs posted and they are making appropriate efforts by law to prevent people from smoking," said Shaffer.

Smoking ban violations range from a warning up to $2,500. Fines are doubled if during the on site inspection they see people smoking. To report a smoking ban violation call 1-866-559-OHIO.