Ohio Measure 5, Smoking Ban Initiative (2006)

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The Ohio Smoking Ban Act, also known as Issue 5, was on the November 7, 2006 ballot in Ohio as an indirect initiated state statute, where it was approved.[1] This statute severely restricts smoking in public places and instates various anti-smoking rules. Issue 5 appeared on the same ballot as another smoking-related measure, Issue 4, which was funded by the tobacco industry and was allegedly intended to roll back smoking bans under the guise of creating a single uniform ban, causing confusion for many voters.[2]

Election results

Ohio Issue 5 (2006)
Approveda Yes 2,370,314 58.52%

Election results via the Ohio Secretary of State.[3]

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[4]

(Proposed by Initiative Petition)

To enact Chapter 3794. of the Ohio Revised Code to restrict smoking in places of employment and most places open to the public.

The proposed law would:

  • Prohibit smoking in public places and places of employment;
  • Exempt from the smoking restrictions certain locations, including private residences (except during the hours that the residence operates as a place of business involving non-residents of the private residence), designated smoking rooms in hotels, motels, and other lodging facilities; designated smoking areas for nursing home residents; retail tobacco stores, outdoor patios, private clubs, and family-owned and operated places of business;
  • Authorize a uniform statewide minimum standard to protect workers and the public from secondhand tobacco smoke;
  • Allow for the declaration of an establishment, facility, or outdoor area as nonsmoking;
  • Require the posting of “No Smoking” signs, and the removal of all ashtrays and similar receptacles from any area where smoking is prohibited;
  • Specify the duties of the department of health to enforce the smoking restrictions
  • Create in the state treasury the “smoke free indoor air fund;”
  • Provide for the enforcement of the smoking restrictions and for the imposition of civil fines upon anyone who violates the smoking restrictions.

A majority yes vote is necessary for passage.

Shall the proposed amendment be adopted?



Arguments in favor

The following reasons were given in support of Issue 5 by SmokeFreeOhio:[4]

Protect your right to breathe smoke-free air inside all restaurants, public places and workplaces.

Secondhand Smoke Kills

The U.S. Surgeon General reports that:

  • Secondhand smoke causes cancer, heart disease, and lung disease in nonsmokers.
  • There is no safe level of exposure.
  • The only way to protect health is to eliminate smoking inside public places.
  • Separate smoking sections do not protect health.
  • Smoke-free policies do not harm business.

For these reasons, the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and American Lung Association have joined with doctors, hospitals and every major health organization in Ohio to urge a YES vote on Issue 5.

What the SmokeFree Workplace Act will do:

  • Eliminate secondhand smoke in all public places and workplaces
  • Offer equal protection against secondhand smoke to all workers and customers
  • Create one fair, level playing field for all businesses

Studies show nonsmokers inhale the equivalent of one and a half cigarettes just by sitting in a restaurant’s non-smoking section for two hours. This state law allows children, the elderly, and those with health problems to enjoy restaurants and other public places without jeopardizing their health.

Simply asking smokers to step outside public places will protect the health of the nonsmokers around them and allow all Ohioans to enjoy their favorite places together.

What the SmokeFree Workplace Act will not do:

  • SmokeFreeOhio does NOT amend the Constitution.
  • The law does NOT prohibit smoking in private residences, vehicles, or outdoors.

Twenty-one Ohio communities and 14 states have strong, successful smoke-free laws in place. The time has come to vote to stop this preventable health hazard and improve the health of all Ohio residents.

Vote YES on Issue 5 so Ohio can breathe smoke-free![5]

The official ballot argument in support of Issue 5 was signed by Donald McClure, Susan Jagers, and Tracy Sabetta.

Campaign contributions

SmokeFreeOhio spent $2.68 million to support the measure. Donors to the campaign included:[6]

  • American Cancer Society (three different affiliates). $2.169 million
  • American Heart Association (Ohio Valley Affiliate), $104,750
  • Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, $82,491
  • David Maltz, $50,000


Arguments against

The following reasons were given in opposition of Issue 4 by the Committee to Prepare Argument Against Issue 4:[4]

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 nonsmokers 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.[5]

The official ballot argument in opposition of Issue 5 was signed by Jacob Evans.

See also

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