WHAT a breath of fresh air.
The vote by the normally conservative Ohio Supreme Court not to hear an appeal that would have, in effect, allowed indiscriminate smoking in private clubs was the correct decision.
Hopefully, it will snuff out, once and for all, attempts to roll back the voter-approved ban on smoking bars, restaurants, offices, and most other indoor public places.
The attempt by the state health department to exempt local Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Elks Clubs, and the like from the ban by declaring their waiters, waitresses, and bartenders members rather than employees, even if they're paid, was just a smoke-and-mirrors ploy to circumvent the law's obvious intent.
Equally hazy was the state's argument that many people voted for the ban in the belief that private clubs would be exempt. The strict ban that went into effect in May, 2007, was approved by nearly 60 percent of Ohio voters and has only gotten more popular since then. Indeed, in an American Cancer Society survey a year after the vote, 80 percent of respondents supported the law.
Clearly, Ohio voters wanted a ban with only a few, narrowly defined exceptions, and while we have nothing against veterans groups in general and have a great deal of sympathy for older veterans who got hooked on the free cigarettes handed out by the military during World War II, watering down the law would have made the ban meaningless.
Rather than fighting a good law, veterans' groups would serve their members better by offering smoking-cessation classes and forming support groups for members who decide to quit.
Twenty-three states have outlawed smoking in bars, restaurants, and most workplaces, while 10 other states have at least limited smoking on a statewide basis.
Ohio should take pride in having put in place one of the most progressive public-health measures in the nation - one that allows Ohioans to breathe free, both now and in future generations.