American Cancer Society says Ohio’s smoking issues are very different

Desiree Bartoe

American Cancer Society and Colleges Against Cancer are working to clear the smoke with issues 4 and 5.

Issue 5, supported by the American Cancer Society, prohibits smoking in public places and places of employment – excluding private residences and designated smoking rooms in hotels, motels, other lodging facilities, nursing homes, retail tobacco stores, private clubs and family-owned and operated places of business.

Issue 4 is sponsored by the Ohio Licensed Beverage Association and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. It is a constitutional amendment and would ban smoking in 90 percent of enclosed public places, making exemptions for places with liquor licenses that serve mostly adults.

“Because Issue 4 is a constitutional amendment, if it is passed, it would trump Issue 5, regardless if Issue 5 is passed or not,” said Wendy Simpkins, director of media relations for the American Cancer Society Government Relations Department. “That is why it is important for us to educate people to vote no on 4 and yes on 5.”

The American Cancer Society has been working to educate the people of Ohio through grassroots efforts, such as literature dropping, yard signs and contacting individuals.

Through thousands of volunteers, the American Cancer Society has been successful in educating people about the issues, said Shelly Kiser, SmokeFreeOhio campaign director for the American Lung Association of Ohio.

Colleges Against Cancer is following the American Cancer Society’s lead and helping distribute information on college campuses.

“A few of (Colleges Against Cancer members) are working at the polls on Tuesday to educate people about the issue; however, most of us are just handing out informative literature,” said Nicky Tobolski, president of Colleges Against Cancer at Kent State. “It’s important that Issue 4 is not passed because it will reverse the steps that other counties have made for smoke-free laws.”

Although Colleges Against Cancer at Kent State is just supporting American Cancer Society’s efforts and not taking on its own campaign, members are still passionate about Smoke Free Ohio.

“Every college is a little different,” Simpkins said. “We are trying to get Colleges Against Cancer on board by inviting them to different meetings and events to help them understand about Issue 4 so they can educate their campus.”

Smoke Free Ohio

The American Cancer Society launched the Smoke Free Ohio campaign with the support of more than 575 organizations, including the American Lung Association, American Heart Association and the Ohio Health Commissioners Association.

The main goals of the campaign are to educate Ohio residents about the issue and address questions about smokers’ rights and economic impact on businesses.

“Smoke Free Ohio will definitely not hurt Ohio businesses,” Kiser said. “Columbus’ law has actually improved their business. They are seeing new business because non-smokers who would never enter smoking restaurants before are now regular visitors.”

And the smoking ban would protect workers of smoking establishments.

“I work in a restaurant that allows smoking,” Tobolski said. “I have no choice in the matter because I cannot find another job. If I am asked to work in the bar, I have to do it even if I am suffocating from the smoke.”

Smoke Less Ohio

The Smoke Less Ohio campaign, often referred to as “the common sense smoking ban,” is encouraging Ohio citizens to vote for Issue 4 as an alternative to a total smoking ban.

“The extreme position of a total smoking ban goes too far,” Smoke Less Ohio spokesperson Jacob Evans said. “It is a fair and balanced approach that everyone can agree on.”

According to a NBC Nightly News investigative report, Smoke Less Ohio is using “questionable methods” to obtain signatures for the issue. The reporter said Smoke Less Ohio is not making the difference between Smoke Less Ohio and Smoke Free Ohio clear to people.

“The broadcast itself is deceptive and misleading,” Evans said. “We have always been very clear about the issue. Smoke Less Ohio and Smoke Free Ohio have similar names, but people are not voting on the names.”

According to Smoke Less Ohio’s Web site, Issue 4 creates a smoking ban covering 90 percent of enclosed Ohio business places; however, it includes exemptions, such as bars and restaurants that provide a fully enclosed separate smoking room.

“We started out with a poll to see what Ohioans wanted,” Evans said. “They wanted a policy to be enacted but they wanted exemptions. The voters have the first, final and any additional words on it. Issue 4 is fair. There is no reason why when the vast majority of a businesses population is smoking, smoking should be prohibited.”

Contact social services reporter Desiree Bartoe at [email protected].


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Courtesy of Smoke Free Ohio


“They are polluting the environment, and they are polluting other peoples lungs,” Junior chemistry major, Samit Datta said. “It is a disgusting habit. “

“I totally agree with (Smoke Free Ohio),” said Andrea Burkhart, sophomore international relations and political science major.

“I am definitely against it because I don’t want to have to go out to smoke,” said Sean Soltis, visual communication design major. “As long as there is a smoking section, I don’t see why it’s a problem.”

“The government is always in everybody’s business, and they shouldn’t be,” Prentice cashier Marcia Drake said. “The government should not be able to tell you when and where to smoke.”

“I like the bars a lot, and it wouldn’t be a bar without cigarette smoke,” senior technology major Randy Robinson said. “I am against (Smoke Free Ohio).”