Voters to decide on two statewide smoking bans

Jennifer Zemanek

On Nov. 7, voters will choose from many candidates and issues. But two of these issues may cause confusion.

Issue 4, Smoke Less Ohio, and Issue 5, Smoke Free Ohio, are both smoking issues that have been battling each other since being placed on the ballot.

Smoke Less Ohio will eliminate smoking ordinances that have already been passed in Ohio and allow businesses to decide for themselves whether they want to allow smoking.

Smoke Free Ohio will ban smoking in most public places.

The following can explain more on the two issues to potential voters. For more information on the issues visit and

Q. What does Issue 4 do?

A. Issue 4 would ban smoking in 90 percent of business, but those businesses exclude bars; separate areas in restaurants, hotels, motels and nursing homes; and in bowling alleys, bingo halls and other places that predominantly serve customers 18 years or older. It also would allow smoking in offices, factories and retail stores if minors are prohibited. As a constitutional amendment, Issue 4 also would discard current smoking ordinances in 21 cities, including Columbus, Toledo and Bowling Green, and would prevent future smoking bans.

Q. What does Issue 5 do?

A. Issue 5 prohibits smoking in public places and places of employment. Smoking would be allowed in private residences; designated smoking areas in hotels, motels and nursing homes; retail tobacco stores; outdoor patios; private clubs and family-owned and operated businesses. It would authorize a uniform statewide standard to protect workers and the public from secondhand smoke. Issue 5 would also impose fines for violators.

Q. What do supporters of Issue 4 say?

A. They say it’s a fair and balanced approach to smoking on which everyone can agree. They say Issue 4 allows for a limit on smoking in public places but also protects the rights of businesses and individuals.

Q. What do opponents of Issue 4 say?

A. They accuse the tobacco companies of being deceptive and deliberately confusing the voters by using a similar name for their issue. They say Issue 4 is masquerading as a smoking ban, but it is really is a pro-smoking agenda.

Q. What do supporters of Issue 5 say?

A. Supporters say it protects children, workers and families from the health risks associated with secondhand smoke. They also say it protects a person’s right to breathe clean air in all restaurants, work places and public places.

Q. What do opponents of Issue 5 say?

A. They say the decision to smoke or have a smoking establishment should be made by individuals and business owners. They also say that a smoke-free environment will hurt businesses financially.

Contact public affairs reporter Jennifer Zemanek at [email protected].