A recent letter writer was upset with the state health department's decision to recognize the "private clubs" exception to the smoking ban, where all of a club's employees are also members.
The writer complains this decision circumvents the will of the voters, but there are two serious flaws in that logic:
First, what happens in a private club, aside from criminal activity, should be up to the members of that club, not to the state or to the voting public.
Second, this controversy arose only because the proponents of Issue 5 used deception to get it passed. The ballot specified that private clubs would be exempt, but failed to mention the exceptions to the exception, which rendered it virtually meaningless. Ohio's veterans' and fraternal organizations would have fought Issue 5 tooth and nail if they'd been given advance notice it applied to them, but they weren't. Issue 5 might not have passed at all, let alone by 58 percent, if the activists and zealots who wrote it had been honest with the voters.
Every job carries certain risks. People who accept employment in a smoking environment should not expect it to change for them. Frankly, for a bartender to complain about smoke is like a preacher complaining about choir music. Likewise, guests who visit a private club are there by the consent of the members, and should take the club as they find it, or leave.
The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review should recognize an absolute exemption for private clubs, with no strings, restrictions or conditions. That would be consistent with last November's ballot language.
David J. Longo