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State going after liquor licenses of smoking ban violators

State going after liquor licenses of smoking ban violators
Posted March 20th, 2014 @ 1:27pm by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Ohio voters approved an indoor smoking ban in 2006. Since then the Ohio Dept of Health has issued $3.8 million in fines for violations, mostly against bars and restaurants. However, only about 40 percent of those fines have been paid.

When those fines pile up, ODH starts a process to recover them. It can eventually end up with a court order, but even that doesn't always get the attention of the business owner.

"We usually see an uptick in fine payment and people requesting settlements or working to make some kind of payments on their fine when we have a finding on a liquor license case," said Mandy Burkett, chief of the Tobacco and Indoor Environment section at the Ohio Dept. of Health.

Burkett says that when they go after a business' liquor license a settlement usually follows. Of the 10 recent cases they've had to deal with, half were settled, three were discharged because the businesses closed, and two others actually ended with the licenses being revoked.

Ohio's Liquor Control Commission says they've recommended a total of 17 licenses for rejection. 

Some of the most common offenders of the indoor smoking ban appear to be smaller bars and fraternal organizations.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

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