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Published: Sunday, 5/13/2001

Move ahead on the ban

In A turnaround that likely reflects the political timidity of Toledo City Council members as much as sound law, city lawyers have concluded that a health board smoking ban would supersede a city ordinance permitting smoking in some public places.

Last month their mantra was that the law had to be changed to accommodate the rule. But members of council, who could imagine their images on dartboards in smoky taverns throughout the city, obviously are not partial to having so sticky an issue to deal with over the next few months of election season.

Whatever the motivation, it does not appear that the city is going to fight the notion that in this case, for a clear public health issue, the state takes precedence over the city, even a home rule city.

Of course, no matter which way the city had gone, a legal challenge to the smoking ban is virtually certain. So the administration and the council are taking the path of least resistance.

The Toledo-Lucas County Board of Health, which held off formal approval of the ban late in April because of confusion over the city ordinance, should have no hesitation when it reconsiders the ban later this month.

In a fit of irrationality, Maumee, and perhaps other suburbs, contemplate passing permissive smoking ordinances they expect to supersede the health rule. Theirs is the hope of churlishness over scientifically sound reasons against smoking and the perils of breathing second-hand smoke.

They show a blatant disregard for the health of not only their own citizens, but visitors who frequent eating and drinking places in their town. Hardly the role of gracious host.

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