County won't excuse Perkins bar's smoking violations

The owner of Excuses Lounge in Perkins Township knew the health department was unhappy with him, but he says he didn't know until last week he was facing more than $21,000 in fines for smoking violations.
Tom Jackson
Sep 23, 2011

The owner of Excuses Lounge in Perkins Township knew the health department was unhappy with him, but he says he didn’t know until last week he was facing more than $21,000 in fines for smoking violations.

Terry Smith, 54, a veteran in the bar business, says he’s worried that if the state of Ohio goes through with threats to take away his liquor license, he’ll lose his livelihood.

But he’s also angry at the health department because he believes he’s been singled out for enforcement.

“I’m going to lose my car, lose my home, everything,” he said.

The Erie County Health Department’s figures show bars in the county owe $31,400 in unpaid fines for smoking violations. Excuses Lounge accounts for $21,500 of that.

Smith believes the county health department is specifically targeting his establishment, but health commissioner Pete Schade said his workers only investigate violations after receiving complaints.

Pick up Friday's Register to read more about Smith's predicament and how the state is planning to revoke liquor licenses from bars that don't pay their fines.



@ origen    I totally agree with your comments.

Bars and taverns should have been exempted from the smoking law. The owners should have had the right to decide if smoking is allowed or not.

People who go to bars decide which bars they want to spend their money. Would these people go to a gay bar, a black bar, a bar known for fights? Would a black person go to a bar full of white racists? It is about choice. I choose not to go to bars for various reasons. If the smoke in a bar offends non-smoking patrons, don't go to the bar. You can buy a surgical type mask for about $20 online that filters out smoke.

Why pull a liquor license from a bar and put it out of business?

Should uninformed voters be allowed to vote to cancel out the votes of informed voters?

Look up the term "mass suggestion" since it seems to apply to the mass majority of the people and voters in general

State Issue 5: Argument and Explanation Against

The SmokeFree Ohio proposal on the November ballot is a near total ban on smoking across the state. It is an unreasonable approach that creates an unnecessary intrusion on the rights of individuals and business owners to make their own decisions.

SmokeFree does not allow exceptions for adult-only businesses and virtually criminalizes smokers with potential citations and fines. It is important to realize that given free choice, many restaurants, hotels and other places that serve families are making “no smoking” rules on their own. Since most Ohioans don't smoke, we can rely on traditional American freedoms to decide this issue in the marketplace, as we have always done.

Ohio should take reasonable action to protect non-smokers in public places. It is important to protect families from second-hand smoke, but we should use common sense to make the rules, so both health and individual freedoms are protected.

SmokeFree is an unreasonable, intrusive approach that will create more problems than it solves.



Who gets the money from fines and how is it spent? I cannot account for it. Where's the money?



6079 Smith W is right again. This is a property rights issue, and the state (and feds) are trampling all over those rights! Bar and restaurant owners should decide whether or not to permit smoking. There are pitfalls either way, but the market will decide who gets which customers. Simple enough, and no need for government do-gooders is a bonus!

Hmm, yes, you're right, people voted. But the Bill of Rights exists not only to protect unalienable rights from infringement by the government (which this law is) but to protect unalienable rights from what John Adams called "the tyranny of the majority." Just because people VOTE against one right or another doesn't mean we don't still have those individual and unalienable rights! Or at least SHOULD still have them...

I've got two words for the bars cited: Jury nullification.


All I have to say is this:  the people of Ohio voted to have a smoking ban in all public places.  Here is my main point:  Yes, people smoke inside of Excuses Lounge.  What about all of the other bars and "private clubs" that allow smoking on a daily basis inside their establishment?  I have to think that Terry and "Excuses" is being singled out in this Erie County Health Department sting.  I know for a fact that Bud's Place has smokers in there daily.  I know that Hunter's Bar has smokers in there daily.  Sail Inn, Komans, Amvets, the Eagles....they all have people in there smoking daily.  Either they need to equally enforce the law or don't enforce it at all.  There also needs to be a stiffer penalty for breaking the law.  First time offense, pay a fine.  Second time offense, madatory shut down for 1 week and a larger fine.  Third offense, loss of liquor license and complete closure AND a HUGE fine.  I guarantee if the penalty system was enforced and the way that I said it should be there would be very few offenders.  Who would risk losing their liquor license AND their livelihood?  I don't think any of the above listed bar owners would risk losing their businesses.  Either make the process of inspections fair and equitable or don't do it at all.  Increase the penalty and this problem will cease to exist.


Then there is what is termed “mass suggestion”. We are all inclined to think the same thoughts as the mob, and to have the same emotions arouse* within us as sway the masses of the people. It is very easy for a positive person to sway the thoughts and emotions of a crowd of people. It is difficult for one of the crowd not to be moved with the crowd. This is why people, who in the ordinary way are sensible, go “mafficking” on occasions of national rejoicing. It is also the reason why people who are peaceable and harmless in private life may, when in a crowd, join in acts of violence and disorder. It is simply that the mass emotion gets hold of them, influencing them so strongly they get carried away.


Your submission has triggered the profanity filter and will not be accepted until the inappropriate language is removed. Where? What was profane? It took me several attempts to post the comment because I kept getting the message about the profanity filter.

The past tense of "arouse" is profane? Really? But the F bomb can be posted?

The Bizness

You all are forgetting that these are complaint driven, maybe someone is out to get Excuses for one reason or another and calls up the Health Department just for payback? Just my thought....


voltz you're correct.  Posters act as if the health dept. is stopping by to issue citations.  This is based on COMPAINTS.  Maybe someone has it in for this guy, and they are filing complaints.  Who knows, who cares.


Yes the people have voted on this, after being misled on the issue's by our great leaders in columbus. For what ..Money, Thats it just money. Pay up or we will throw you in jail and take away your business. You would think people would just mind their own business and not frequent these places with smoking sections, Everyone who voted for the banning of smoking needs to be forced to frequent the bars such as "Excuses" to enjoy the smoke free atmosphere. Its what they wanted right, To be able to sit in a dive drink red label beer and watch guys pass out drunk on the stool next to them, Heck bring the kids now that they have made it a family friendly enviorment the kids will have a ball !!!

What happends when the government starts to extort you for money? .................Scratch that they already do.

Raoul Duke

Looks like they'll have to dip into their ticket money to pay off the smoking fines...


They don't have tickets.  They have machines.


Let me see is I've got this straight?  The owner of a bar, tavern, club, etc... who is in the business of selling alcoholic beverages to anyone 21 and over, is getting fined for complaints made by non-smoking patrons of their establishment right?  These complaining patrons live next door I assume?  What I mean is, unless they do live next door, they comsume alcohol in this establishment and then they go out to there vehicles and drive home.  Intoxicated or drunk right?  Impaired driver, is a drunk driver.  People need to pull their heads out of there *sses and learn to mine their own business.  Smoking in the bar is one thing...non smokers bitching about it, and then driving home drunk is another.  A bunch of bigots!  It's okay for you to drive drunk, but a smoker can't sit in the bar you got drunk in, and smoke?  So you would turn a bar owner in for allowing smoking?  How would you feel if the bar turned you in for driving home drunk?  Everybody's breaking the law right?  So why shouldn't you be held responsible for being drunk?  Why?  Because you haven't been "caught" yet.  Or should I say....nobody complained?  Mine your own business people!  If you can't stand to be there, then leave!  Get drunk somewhere else?  Take your self-righteous, non-smoking *sses down the road!  I think if you ask most bar owners, they'll tell you, smokers make up more than half of their daily business.  If I remember correctly, there was alot of bitching about the wording on that smoking ballot when was passed.  Confusing is a better term.  I think they pulled one over on the smokers in the way they wrote it.  But it is what it is.  Now we have self-righteous, healthy alcoholics to deal with now?  Most establishments have built outside patios for the smokers because they "know" how much of their business has been hurt by the smoking ban.  Some bar owners are land-locked and cannot build these patios.  I think the whole idea is rediculous that non-smokers have that much power!  I think the only way to rid ourselves of the self-righteous, non-smoker, is to open up "Smoker Cafes" that cater to smokers.  And then make it a private club with a waiver acknowledging it as a smoking establishment.  If the name on the establishment says Smokes Cafe, maybe the non-smokers will find somewhere else to drink?  Finally, if people are so health conscienceous about smoking in bars, why are they so nasty in the bathrooms there?  I mean, even some of the nicest places around, still have bathrooms that would make a Billy Goat puke!  Bottom line...take yer tattling *sses home and drink there.  At least our smoking won't bother you, and you won't be out on the roads, driving drunk either!



Filthy smokers don't drink and drive?

Raoul Duke

Maybe they can smell the smoke next door.


Bottom line..this isn't a democratic nor a republican issue.  This is a smoker vs. non-smoker issue.

I smoke, I don't like to eat out any more, I don't stop off with my husband and have a beer anymore.  Simply because I liked my cigarette after my meal (in the non-smoking section of course) and a cigarette with my drink.

Non-smokers (or reformed smokers) are the most sanctimonious arseholes I have ever seen in my life.  I take a 5 minute  smoke break from my 8 hour-per-day job every hour.  that equals out to 45 minutes.   I eat my lunch at my desk and work through it.

While the non-smokers feel free to chat in each other's offices for 1/2 hour  at a time, take their two alloted 15 minute breaks and take an hour lunch on top of that.  But, I'm persecuted because of my filthy habit.

You non-smokers can go suck one.  I'm sure you drive like sh!t but I have to put up with you on the road.

Kottage Kat


AMEN   t The Kat says  "Hiss on them"          Kat;}


 Not really sure how they can say they're being singled out.

I got into lots of bars around here, and the only ones who still turn a blind eye to smoking are Excuses, Bud's Place, the Sail In, and Cronin's.  Maybe there are others, but I can tell you that I know that Daly's, Cabanas, Water Street, Crush, the Underground, Zinc, Cheers, Cheap Seats, Margaritaville, and others have no problem at all obeying the law.

Maybe they percieve it as unfair that the other three bars who still allow smoking haven't gotten fined like they have, but tough luck.

Obey the law, and you won't have anything to worry about.

Local barowners and smokers act like this ordinace is exclusive to this area and is designed exclusively to inconvenience them.  To them, I say, "wake up." 

The vast majority of American states have banned smoking in public places and restaurants, and many other civilized countries worldwide have as well.

If you want to smoke in public places, move to West Virginia or Turkey or somewhere. 


If they outlaw smoking outdoors, in my home, or in my car they will have to pry my cigar out of my cold, dead hands! Nazi do gooders!


What i dont understand here is, Why isnt the liberal agenda behind promoting smoking and collecting the taxes so they can buy more social programs where kids can learn to finger paint "yes we can" posters for the folks in washington so they can raise taxes on smokers even more? Nicotine is a drug, We are addicted i need disability and my taxes can go to help the cost of supporting SS. Instead smokers are treated like lepers in society while the non smokers are surely glad to use the taxes on their own agenda's. How about this, Next time someone tries to label a who group "victims" of society why not throw smokers in there too !!


Origen-- or Negiro........what the hell is that?

As I said, you can't get more liberal than me but by the same token, why do you republitards want to take away women's choice on to keep a pregnancy or not?

Why do you want to interfere in who is allowed to marry?

You can't pick and choose your battles.    Either you want government interference or you don't.


@ meow

 LOL!! do a little research, Origen was considered a heritic by the catholics for ages for his stances on religious thought. But he felt so strongly in the way he felt he casterated himself to remove urges.

I agree with you, No reason republicans or democrats need to tell anyone what to do.

The liberals seem to have a opinion about darn near evertything and thats why they pull the most attention to themselves, What food, What drink,Whats healthy,Whats not evertything about everything they want to pass a law about. People just need to have a little common sense about things before forcing their opinions on others by laws and penaltys.

Just remember you are listening to these people when taking advice on your health !!


while we persecute the gov't for their actions in fining these establishments we must remember one thing.  several years ago the voters of this state voted to make it illegal to smoke in bars etc.  so, in essence those who voted to ban smoking should be the ones that this hate is aimed at.

funny how many people now realize that this was a bad idea!



Origen--never heard of the dude but I will definitely look him up as that interests me.

Secondly, it is not liberals who are trying to take away a woman's right to choose.   Quite the contrary.

I'm just sick and tired of people looking out for my own good.  Gotta wear a seat belt, gotta turn my head lights on when it's raining, gotta watch my good cholesterol but don't ignore the bad for sure!   I'm sick just hearing it all.

Now, I'm off to have a big juicy cheese burger, smoke a ciggy on way home and relax with a box o' wine.   Gnight! 


The law was passed to protect the health of the employees as well as the patrons.  I remember they made a big deal about the employees that were forced to work on a smoke filled environment.  Maybe it is a bar tender making the complaints not patrons.  Most of the other bars in the area have smoking patios for smokers, this might not ba an option for Excuses (since it's in a small "strip mall" but if it is then he should look at it as an option. I don't buy that he racked up that much in fines and did not know about it, I would assume that he ignored them. 


All I have to say to this is "too bad, so sad."  The owner of this bar has deliberately broken the law since the law was put into place, and now he feels as though he has been targeted??  Maybe it is because this establishment is one of the few in the area that still allows smoking by coming up with things that don't resemble ashtrays to toss their ashes in.  It's sad that this man will lose his livelihood, as it is a tough time to find a job, BUT he brought it completely on himself by breaking the law.  News flash.  None of the other bars that followed the rules and banned smoking, went out of business...they built a smoker friendly deck.  Get with the times.


Crystal - you mentioned that no other bars went out of business because of the smoking ban - they just built smoker friendly decks.

My question would be this - what if they hadn't built those decks?  Would this have hurt their business?  I would say there is no information to tell if that would have happened or not, since the smokers are still patronizing those bars.  You have to agree with this summary.

If those smokers wouldn't be allowed to smoke at the bar (thru a deck), would they still visit the bar?  Would they spend as much time an dmoney at the bar?

There are lots of people saying those bars didn't go out of business, but they could be loosing profits without going out of business couldn't they??

The problem is that many of the other states that have smoking bans - followed the plans which we used as the second proposal on the ballot at that time written by a tobacco company - which would have allowed certain bars the right to have smoking as well as certain other public places like hotels - but would have required certain specific rules to be followed to do this.

That was the law I voted for because it was fair to everyone, but the lies told by the AMA pushed people to ignore the good law and pass the bad law.

I'd ve interested to see what the outcome of a new vote on this today would be.

By the way - where I live now, they allow hotels to have a limited number of smoking rooms if certain rules are followed with them.  And there are different rules for bars than for restaurants as well.

The rules are bad for certain businesses in Ohio and nobody really expected the bill to pass anyway - at least that's my opinion on it.

I Judge you

You will do as your told just like your parents did!


It's about time the law started coming down on these bar owners who think they are above the law!!  Now he's crying, woe is me?  Ha, throw the book at him!  You knew the consequences!  Now you pay the fine!  One cocky bar owner down, about 7 more to go as I see it.  Don't forget Castalia!

BW1's picture

formeremployee:  The law was passed to protect the health of the employees as well as the patrons.  I remember they made a big deal about the employees that were forced to work on a smoke filled environment.

They were forced to do no such thing.  WalMart is almost always hiring and it's smoke free.  Serving drinks in a bar has one of the highest compensation to skills ratios of any job, a strong incentive to CHOOSE to work in a smoke filled environment.  Those employees are free to choose to smoke themselves, aren't they?  THAT choice to endure first hand smoke carries no benefit.  So why, in a FREE COUNTRY, wouldn't they be free to CHOOSE to face second hand smoke for better earnings than they could get in a non-smoking environment.  People have the right to choose a career in law enforcement - I bet second hand smoke never killed anyone as quickly as Randleman did.  People choose a job with a risk/benefit balance that they find acceptable.

As for all those making a fetish of all laws, just or unjust, this area has a strong history of defying unjust laws. Do you recall from high school history class the Fugitive Slave Law, and notice the monument downtown to this area's participation in the Underground Railroad?

It's your body, and it's your right to decide what you put/let into it, first hand, second hand, or otherwise.  If you don't like smoke filled venues, then don't go to one.  Stop asking Big Brother to impose your preferences on others.  Be an American, not a fascist.



Good points, but the law wasn't passed just for bars.  It was passed for all business open to the public.  And I beleive the proponents of the law were "concerned" about the health of the employees, not only bar tenders.  Waitresses, house keepers, etc.  enywhere somking was allowed.  Don't take my responces that I am for the smoking ban, like I said.  I smoke occasionally myself.  And I think the law is ridiculous.  I think it should be up to the business owners and not the Govt.  But the law did pass, so it should be obeyed.  He has the right to break the law, but not the right to complain when he gets caught. IMO

Captain Gutz

Serving drinks in a bar has one of the highest compensation to skills ratios of any job...

I have a hard time swallowing that!


Raoul Duke

This whole thing could be completely avoided by lawmakers having some common sense. It's obvious where people should and shouldn't smoke. Don't act like it isn't. The fact that I know that people smoke in that sh@thole of a bar is just one more reason for me to NOT go there. Wow, I just made a choice on my own~is that even legal?