Judge sides with state on smoking fines

Erie County Common Pleas Judge Roger Binette has sided with the state in a local bar owner’s battle to avoid $24,000 in smoking violation fines.
Jessica Cuffman
Mar 4, 2013

 

Excuses Lounge owner Terry Smith has been fighting in court for a year, although the war goes back to 2008, when he agreed to pay the first $100 fine after the Erie County Health Department cited him for allowing a patron to smoke in the Strub Road bar.

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Click here to watch an interview with Terry Smith on "Between the Lines Live."
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For the 11 citations that followed, however, Smith decided to stand his ground.

Court documents filed this month order him to pay the full $24,000 in fines — plus interest, which the state calculated at nearly twice the total when the case was filed a year ago in Erie County Common Pleas Court.

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Click here for a previous story on the smoking fines, or here for the e*Paper, get a copy of today's Register, or check back here at sanduskyregister.com for updates as they become available.

 
 
 

Comments

bobshumway92

.

rjr58

Stop by the Pump open smoking non stop in front of Perkins cops... and they never get fined???

KnuckleDragger

They won't because the state delegated enforcement to health departments, not to law enforcement.

Factitious

From Ohio Department of Health Smoking Ban FAQ's webpage:

How do I file a complaint?
By phone: 1-866-559-OHIO (6446) [Smoking Ban Enforcement Line]
By e-mail: NoSmoke@odh.ohio.gov

Check out:

http://www.odh.ohio.gov/smokefre...

for the whole story.

The Bizness

call the complaint hot line that is the only way to get a place in trouble.

BW1's picture
BW1

Or, don't be a fascist, just mind your own business, and don't patronize the place.

The Bizness

-

reporter54

This smoking ban thing is ruining bar business. People that drink, usually also smoke, and non-smokers can have their own private bars if they can't deal with second-hand smoke. With all the pollution in the environment, second-hand smoke is the least of your worries. The ban is obviously just to make money for the state. And it's ridiculous. It's like banning cars which most likely pollute and harm far more than cigarettes yet we're still driving around in them and polluting the air.

The Bizness

I didn't see many bars go out of business after the ban, if anything it forced them to create nice outdoor areas for patrons to smoke.

I personally enjoy going into the bar and not having my eyes water, and lungs burn after 15 minutes.

Factitious

In fact, with the smoking ban, many people who had stopped going to bars have returned, especially to the nicer places. But this has created a niche for dives that can't or won't improve the place, so they adopt the strategy of catering to the nicotine addicted. I have no idea whether Excuses in one of those, but I do know that a business model based on doing something illegal is riskier than a legal one.

Maybe the owner's righteous indignation is genuine, or maybe it's just PR or trying to win the case in the Court of Public Opinion.

In any event, it seems he's being proved wrong.

BW1's picture
BW1

I must have missed the article in the Constitution that suspends people's rights on the basis of what you personally enjoy.

The Bizness

it's the law, get over yourself

BW1's picture
BW1

Yeah, they said that to Rosa Parks, too.

BW1's picture
BW1

This is the USA, not Cuba, get over yourself.

fedup11

People that drink usually also smoke is the dumbest comment that I've heard on this site.

The Hamburglar

You haven't been on here long. Stick around.

Capt. Ford

Rodger that.

BW1's picture
BW1

Not really - both are addictive activities. One of the hardest things to find is a non-smoking AA meeting.

fedup11

And your point is. ...

BW1's picture
BW1

that your "dumbest comment" statement ignores the facts. Bars, casinos, and other businesses that feed addictions are heavily patronized by those who engage in other addictive activities.

coasterfan

Striving for cleaner air and better health practices is not a bad idea. Whether it be for alternatives to burning fossil fuels in our cars, or second hand smoke in a bar, it makes sense to NOT be exposed to things that are known carcinogens. Many of us non-smokers put second-hand smoke in the same category as drunk driving: both are cases in which someone else's behavior choices affects OUR health in a detrimental way.

But that's not even the issue here. The bar owner knew the law, chose to not follow it. So, he chose to be fined.

BW1's picture
BW1

Except that the roads are public property, and bars are not.

Gwill

You break the rules, you pay a fine. So difficult for people to take responsibility for their actions!

bullydogs1971

I think the issue is more about a Government that thinks it has the right to legislate and regulate every aspect of human behavior....and i love the "call the hotline" comments....we are all such hypocritical pathetic creatures....we break the rules if it fits us and snitch on the ones the break the laws we agree with....not to mention there are more laws in this country then there are in the old testament....so many that we have to have a library to hold them all. We can kill our unborn without consequence but don't get caught without a seatbelt...its a fine and a minor misdemeanor....its all about the money and control....all i can say is "welcome my son....welcome tooooooo the machine.....!" We have a president that cries over the children of Sandy Hook but then repeatedly orders drone killings that results in the horrific death of children in foreign lands.....we americans are such whinny, crying, selfish, hypocritical, imature brats! No wonder the world hates us! By the way im a non-smoker, i just value freedom over tyranny. If every bar in the state took it to court and overloaded the system everything would change....just like if everyone who got a petty traffic ticket took that thing to trial the court would never be able to wade through it all....stand up people and fight the total control of every breath you take by a tyranical government gone mad before its too late!

bobshumway92

The Government didn't do this, the people did.

BW1's picture
BW1

that doesn't make it any better.

rickross2

That is a very true statement. Big Government is going to be what breaks us apart permanently. We are on a slippery slope!

mikel

your taxpaying, voting friends have brought this destruction upon you! thank them and do not hate the state for following their wishes and implementing the law.

bullydogs1971

I demand a recount!!! Oh wait, that's right, i dont remember the people voting on this...just our congressmen... and if you have me believe that they vote for the majority of the people i will have to excuse myself and grab a tissue! Im laughing so hard im cryin! Like i said...a recount! Send a postcard to every citizen of Ohio for a vote, count them, then make the decision.

mikel

ohio measure 5 was voted on BY the public in november 2006. maybe you forgot to send in your absentee ballot? it was the voting public that passed this law.

bullydogs1971

Your right i did miss it. I like others were preoccupied with Real life issues, which this is not. In the case of bar owners, its simple, if I own a house I should be able to decide if a person can smoke in it or not. If a bar owner wants to allow someone to smoke in HIS bar that HE owns, runs, and pays taxes on, it should be his choice! As a free person i can CHOSE if i want to visit that establishment or not. We dont need mommy and daddy government making those descesions for ALL of us, and as always attaching a finacial SPANK to every infraction. Pull back the curtain people.....its control, control, fine, control!

mikel

hey, i totally agree with you that there are more important issues. if you don't like smoke (at that time)don't go to a bar. what many people didn't realize is that there were many other items attached to that bill. they were so focused on the smoking portion that they overlooked the others. one of significance is that any person has the right to ask a persons employer for the employee's wage history, whether private or public employer/employee.

Brainiac2007

Im not a smoker and I agree that this law is ridiculous! Smokers have rights too, and if someone would just have the ambition it takes to fight our lawmakers they just may win....Why would you care if your standing next to someone smoking a cigarette, when there's so many other things in the air polluting your body?? They need to impose some type of fine for each activity one performs that brings them pleasure if this is the case. If you own a motorcycle you should have to pay a "possible death" fee, just in case you kill yourself and leave your family the bills, alcohol should be taxed to the max just like cigarettes, you should have to pay some type of "fee" if you own a boat, ATV, Camper etc ANYTHING that can cause death, because is it not true that all you other non smokers whine and cry about it because it might cause you death? Well so does everything else you do!

coasterfan

But they don't have the right to infringe on everyone else's right to breathe. I accept responsibility for the good health choices I make (or don't make). When someone else smokes near me, I have no choice but to breathe the air they have fouled. I have asthma, yet work hard to keep in shape, knowing full well that my health insurance premiums are bloated because I have to pay for millions of other people who do not take care of themselves. I would never think to impose on anyone's basic right to a clean breath. Since you're a Braniac, perhaps you can explain why smokers should be able to do that to me.

BW1's picture
BW1

So, coasterfan, when was the last time you were forced at gunpoint to enter a private establishment in which people were smoking? When you can answer that with an actual time and place, then you can talk about your right to breathe.

fedup11

It just smells to be around. It is nasty. Period

BW1's picture
BW1

and your point is?

Rod Farva

Hes saying you smell

BW1's picture
BW1

That's funny, since I don't smoke. However, he has no point because his statement, while accurate, has no relevance to the topic.

fedup11

It just smells to be around. It is nasty. Period

bobshumway92

It's a dive bar. What do you expect?

arnmcrmn

I was in a bar the other night. probably 30 people in it. Only a handful were running outside to smoke every 30 minutes. So that is most definitely NOT most people.

dire wolf

i'm guessing by the way many people wanted the girl with the dog to suffer, fines tripled, and be jailed for her unpaid dog licence fines, that he won't get much sympathy here. just don't shoot the patrons who look tougher than you coming outside. some of them do growl.

mikel

they need to ban the chicks that over do the cheap perfume as well!!!

bobshumway92

Does that cause cancer?

The Hamburglar

No. Gonorrhea.

Rod Farva

Ill take my chances, that's what penicillin is for

Licorice Schtick

Have fun, but keep in mind that penicillin doesn't work on cancer or H.I.V

planb

As a non-smoker, I don't see why it shouldn't be at the discretion of the bar owner. Post it on the door. You have a choice to patronize the place or not.

dire wolf

you are absolutely right. unfortunately, he willingly and knowingly broke the law the voters wanted because he was stubborn. In America, that means time to pay the fiddler. he should never have let the fines add up to those amounts. his fault for that.

Cowboy

Ha ha ha, smoke em if you got em! Ha ha ha, just pay your fines and wipe your tears away you big baby!

Tootsiemomma

i don't care if people smoke or don't smoke. the fact is that you are being told what to do with your own personal property/business. i don't believe this should be anyone elses business. it should be your right as a property owner to make the decision if people smoke or not. put a sign on the door to let people know that it is a smoking or non-smoking establishment. just sayin'.

happycamper01

The government does have a right but the public voted this into law, the government only enforces it. It can regulate things that go on in a private business which is why there are health regualtions in food and liquor establishments. I mean if the government didn't then people could sell you spoiled food that may or may not get you sick and there would be nothing you could do about it. The government has these laws to keep people from getting sick. So, yes, the government can regulate where people can smoke in places that are open to the public for the common good. Like it or not, it can.

BW1's picture
BW1

The government does have a right? Hmmm, ALL the things the government may do are spelled out in the Constitution - can you show me where this one is?

State governments can regulate alcohol because we passed the 21st Amendment explicitly giving them that power. It didn't cover smoking.

EricB

To Brainiac2007. The law is NOT ridiculous. There is a very good reason for it. Second hand smoke can seriously affect a persons health. You say the smokers have rights too. Smokers do NOT have the right to smoke in an area designated as a no smoking area. This is because their smoke affects the health of everyone around them. Many businesses and offices and hospitals have become non smoking places because they understand that smoking affects a person's health and the health of others around the smoker. Also, it has been proven that a non smoker is more healthy than a smoker, and is more productive at work and uses less health care benefits than a smoker. Your name suggests that you are smart, but then your ideas are not.Please look at the facts. Also, non smokers don't want to be anywhere near smokers.

BW1's picture
BW1

Brainiac shows far more intelligence here than you do. While smokers do not have the right to smoke in a no smoking area, you do not have the right to have other people's property designated a no smoking area.

If you don't want to be anywhere near smokers, don't go to businesses that allow smoking.

happycamper01

This is not a personal, private establishment. If it is open to the public then yes it can be regulated. Look at all the other health code regulations. I am sure there are some owners out there that would love to cook and sell you outdated food, hoping it is safe, and to take the chance that it will not make you sick. However, it may but he may not care. If you don't like it don't eat there but then you go to the next place and it is the same thing. The government enacted health regulations to keep people healthy and this falls under this category. An establishment open to the public is put under government regulation. This health regulation was voted on by the people and passed. The government enforces it. It is time for him to pay up. Also, I agree that most bars have not been hurt by it. What I am finding is that most smokers go outside to smoke and do not mind being respectful of nonsmokers and actually like not being in a smoke-filled bar as well. You might be surprised by how many smokers actually do not complain about this law and actually think it is a good thing.

BW1's picture
BW1

Yes it is. It is private property and a private business. It has no obligation to offer good or services it doesn't want to offer. This law is a major abrogation of property rights. No one forces anyone into any establishment at gunpoint - you have the right to choose an establishment that meets your requirements. If a property owner wants to offer people a place to drink and smoke, and those people want to pay to drink there, then it's nobody's business but the parties to the transaction. No one else's rights are implicated. That rightfully applies to the rest of your little fascist screed about regulation, and these matters are starting to be litigated in the courts on many fronts, from those who want to consume transfats to people who wish to purchase raw milk. If you feel such a need to tell other people what to do, why don't you go join the party in Cuba?

The Big Dog's back

I've got to weigh in on this and I know some of my Liberal friends will disagree. 1st I'm not a smoker, never have been. Pardon the pun but this whole cigarette thing is one big smoke screen. Sure it is difficult to breathe if your standing next to someone smoking if you have never worked in a factory or lived with someone who smokes. They created this to divert attention away from all the carcinogens put out by industries. Why do you think factories went overseas? Now they are poisoning other people instead of following the laws here. More later.

dire wolf

so cigarettes do not really cause cancer? it was the factories all along? 2nd hand smoke isn't bad for you or your child? It has no effect on a pre-born child in the mother's womb? wow. all those years of science and study proved to be a smoke screen..... thanks, dude.

WhatTheHeck

Dr. Koopp, when he was Surgeon General, stated falsely that secondhand smoke was the biggest risk factor in the US. More than one independent study has proven that whole milk has more carcinogens in it than secondhand smoke. Human lungs are great at filtering out all of the bad stuff before a smoker exhales it from it's body. Big gov strikes again! Livin the lie!

The Big Dog's back

How many people have you known who died actually had the cancer analyzed? Pretty sure it's none. All they ask is if the person who died smoked or if someone in the family smoked.

arnmcrmn

Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, you post yet another uneducated thing.

dire wolf

and i thought that every person who has had cancer (some i've known) has had their cancer cells analyed to determine it's serverity and form. All those tests they took was just to fool us dumb folk? just to add to the health care cost. we the people can be so naive i guess....thanks again!

The Big Dog's back

You are naive. If you really looked at the research they don't include the fact that amount of manufacturing jobs, i.e. poison makers, left the country. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a pro-smoker, but to blame everything on smoking and ignoring the Carcinogens these factories put out is naive, and quit frankly letting these companies off the hook.

The Big Dog's back

You are naive. If you really looked at the research they don't include the fact that amount of manufacturing jobs, i.e. poison makers, left the country. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a pro-smoker, but to blame everything on smoking and ignoring the Carcinogens these factories put out is naive, and quit frankly letting these companies off the hook.

bobshumway92

What ever happened to all the hot bar maids they had? Not worth going in there anymore.

Centauri

"Erie County Common Pleas Judge Roger Binette has sided with the state in a local bar owner’s battle to avoid $24,000 in smoking violation fines."

I have a question for Roger. Where do these 24,000 dollars go? There is no fund set up in Ohio.

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3794

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3794.08
"There is hereby created in the state treasury the smoke free indoor air fund. All fines collected pursuant to this chapter and any grant, contribution, or other moneys received by the department of health for the purposes of this chapter shall be credited to the smoke free indoor air fund and used solely for the purposes of this chapter."

http://www.tos.ohio.gov/

http://www.tos.ohio.gov/Payments

Call now to Josh. Ask him or his staff "WHERE IS THE MONEY" for smoking ban fines. You will get the run around. I want to know where these smoking ban fines go? Not to the Ohio treasurer. Into somebody's deep pockets maybe? There is a lot of money in Ohio that is not accounted for.

Call up Josh's office and ask him where are the smoking fines that should be paid to the Ohio treasurer? Call now!

Cowboy

Woe is me...I can't drink and drive, I can't text and drive, I can't have a biggie drink anymore in New York, I have to pay taxes, I can't run naked in the streets, I can't give others cancer anymore in the bar, I have to put money in parking meters, I can't park on my street on snow days, I mean really? What's next, I suppose I have to stop at stop signs!

Centauri

Ohio law

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3794

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3794.08
"There is hereby created in the state treasury the smoke free indoor air fund. All fines collected pursuant to this chapter and any grant, contribution, or other moneys received by the department of health for the purposes of this chapter shall be credited to the smoke free indoor air fund and used solely for the purposes of this chapter."

Where is the money? Call Josh now and ask him.

Perkins2060

Yeah, where did the hot bar maids go? I went in that place a couple of times and they were not hot. Smelled like smoke so we left. There were about 12-15 of us one time that left there and went to BW3's. Smoking is nasty!

Kottage Kat

If you do no like my smoke
Please quit breathing
Thank you
Kat

Perkins2060

Not only your smoke, you smell.

Kottage Kat

Oops
Do not
Sorry darn phone

Informed

BW1, show me where in the Constitution smoking is declared a "right".

BW1's picture
BW1

It's called the 9th and 10th Amendment, which say any powers not explicitly granted the government are denied it. No part of the Constitution grants the government ownership of your body, therefore, it's up to you what you put in it.

Ask yourself, why did they need a constitutional amendment to ban drinking?

Kottage Kat

OK
More perfume
Dat better
Actually don't go to bars
You can purchase my next pack of cigarettes
Which will entitle you to tell me what to do,
Most folks can't mange their lives, yet want to manage others.

Kottage Kat

Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness
Time for a cuppa and a cigarette

Kat

Perkins2060

Less than 25% of Ohioans smoke. Get over yourself.

BW1's picture
BW1

So what? Are you saying that anyone who represents less than 25% of the population has no rights? Less than 15% of Americans are black - are you suggesting the return of slavery?

happycamper01

No, what he is saying that you can whine all you want but that you must realize that smokers are a dying breed, literally and figuratively. Smoking is a dying habit and less tolerated by people every year. So, you can fight and whine about this law but I doubt it will do you any good because the majority of people are nonsmokers and the last time I looked majority usually wins. In fact I think the majority won when this was on the ballot. I heard said the issue on the ballot was confusing and smokers didn't understand it. Hmmmmm...nonsmokers understood it so does that mean nonsmokers are more intelligent than smokers??? I also heard it said that smokers were not worried because they never thought the law would be passed. Fooled ya! And yes I am nonsmoker but I am worse than that...I am reformed smoker. When I did smoke I never thought it was my right to smoke wherevere I pleased. I never did. I tried to be respectful of others which is clear that a lot of smokers don't care to be.

bobshumway92

Are you honestly comparing smokers rights to civil rights? That has to be the most ignorant comment I've ever read on here.

BW1's picture
BW1

No, the ignorance is yours, bobshumway, since you fail to comprehend the basic logical parallel at work here. Perkins2060 put forth the majoritarian fallacy that anything the majority wants, the majority gets, and to minority should shut up and live with it. If that fallacy is to be taken as valid basis for one law, then it's valid for others - the rule of law requires such consistency. So, by putting forth this rationale for justifying one law, Perkins2060 opened the floodgates for its use to justify any law, including the return of slavery, mandatory praying in school, and, if current fertility and immigration trends continue, in about 50 years, Sharia law. I simply pointed out the results of Perkins2060's assertion.

Fortunately, Perkins2060 is mistaken about how the USA's system is organized. We have a Constitution that protects the rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority, and the nation as a whole from mob rule.

Happycamper, the majority does not get to ignore the rights of people in the minority. There's also no basis for your assertion that nonsmokers understood the implications of the two competing ballot issues any better than smokers.

goofus

People, if you watch out for the sinkholes, you can come down to Florida where you can still smoke in bars! Liberals aren't welcome to this RTW red state home to Marco Rubio the ultimate tea partier.

swiss cheese kat

I was in a bar recently and was holding an UNLIT cigarette and a woman a few seats away started coughing as she looked at me and reminded me that it was "illegal" to smoke in the bar. She also had the nerve to asked me to move as she didn't want to be near anyone who smoke. I walked over to her and told her to mind ya own damn buziness and if she didn't like me holding an UNLIT cigarette she was free to leave.

meowmix

Now that's funny Kat!!!!! Should have belched in her face and really gave her something to smell!

Cowboy

Just pay your fine and quit your crying!

2cents's picture
2cents

I used to smoke and even then did not like someone blowing it over from another table at a nice restaurant. Nor did I like sitting in a bar full of smoke, and I smoked! I know there are work around’s but government is what it is. Those smoke eaters do not work well and only do if serviced. A real good start would to allow some smoking in bars that had 90Pluss HRV units exchanging the air at lease every half hour. I use them in homes and plants to keep air fresh eliminate any chance of radon and get rid of offensive odors. http://comm2.fantech.net/commerc...

Cowboy

Will that work on the smelly guys that sit up at the bar every day?

2cents's picture
2cents

No, but a can of Lysol may : )
You can move from them but not the shared air. I always laughed at separate smoking sections, Da! same HVAC system....

Tmm

The smoking ban that is in effect in ohio is a law passed to protect employees of businesses from being subjected to second hand smoke. It has absolutely nothing to do with the protection of patrons or the public. This is a workplace safety law so to comment that people who don't smoke should stay away from bars is ignorant. The smoking ban law is in affect to protect the employees of said bar, not the patrons.

BW1's picture
BW1

Tmm, that's a bogus argument. Many people voluntarily choose jobs that come with increased risks. Cops risk getting shot, firefighters being burned to death, pilots crashing, you name it. Given the skills required for the job, waiting tables in a bar, when tips are considered, is often one of the highest paying jobs available at that skill level. There is no justification for denying people the right to accept the small risk of second hand smoke in exchange for improved earnings when they enjoy the right to take on the risk of first hand smoke by smoking themselves, in exchange for no tangible benefit. That's the problem - this is all about interfering in VOLUNTARY transactions between consenting adults, which is outside the proper scope of government. People want to get together to drink and smoke, and a property owner is willing to provide them such a place in exchange for the opportunity to sell them liquor. The property owner needs assistance serving drinks, and other people are willing to put up with second hand smoke in exchange for making a better living than they could make sweeping the floor at WalMart.

Ultimately, this law is about one thing - busybody nannystatists who feel a fascist compulsion to deny choices with which they don't agree to other people.

The Big Dog's back

People who work in industry who are subject to smoke and all other kinds of Carcinogens are told if you don't like it get another job. But people who work in bars get a law passed?

BW1's picture
BW1

You know the nannystate has gone too far when a statist like Big Dog starts objecting.

Cowboy

Pay up cry baby!

WhatTheHeck

Dr. Koopp, when he was Surgeon General, stated falsely that secondhand smoke was the biggest risk factor in the US. More than one independent study has proven that whole milk has more carcinogens in it than secondhand smoke. Human lungs are great at filtering out all of the bad stuff before a smoker exhales it from it's body. Big gov strikes again! Livin the lie!

Cowboy

...which is why bars don't serve milk anymore! DUH!

WhatTheHeck

All the people know where to go if you want to smoke, and the people know places to go with no smoking. I quit 20 years ago, but my nephews are fighting for my rights and yours. If my nephew wants to light up, I dare anyone to say anything. Goverment wants the money, start charging for a smoking license like liquor license.