Andrew Schuman encourages a Lucas County ban on smoking in public places. In foreground is Dr. David Grossman, Toledo-Lucas County health commissioner.
BOWLING GREEN - A local attorney said he's collected nearly all the signatures needed to place a no-smoking in public initiative on this city's primary ballot in May.
Andrew Schuman said yesterday that he needs 65 more signatures to meet the required 610 by mid-January. But Mr. Schuman said he and about 90 other local circulators plan to collect 1,000 signatures to be sure they have enough for certification.
“This has turned into a much bigger commitment than I had ever imagined,” Mr. Schuman said. “But I think it's a fair process, that people could get to vote on it.”
In November, Mr. Schuman, who suffers from asthma, held a meeting at the local library for people who were interested in learning more about his proposal or who wanted to help with his initiative drive.
He said residents signed up on the spot to help him. One person who agreed to circulate petitions was John Schumacher, an assistant professor of gerontology at Bowling Green State University.
Mr. Schumacher said he has gone door-to-door in his neighborhood seeking signatures. “It's been pretty overwhelmingly positive,” Mr. Schumacher said. “Even smokers are supporting it.”
Mr. Schuman's proposal would ban smoking in restaurants, businesses, coin-operated laundries, theaters, and other public places.
Bars that derive less than 35 per cent of their gross annual revenue from food sales would not be included, and restaurants could allow smoking in “completely enclosed rooms.”
If enough signatures are collected, they will need to be certified by the Wood County board of elections and the city before the initiative can be placed on the ballot.
If that happens, Mr. Schuman said he will then attempt to meet with local restaurant owners to discuss the proposal and its potential effect.
He said he's not trying to hurt anyone's livelihood with the plan.
“I am concerned about what they think. I want to take time to learn from them,” Mr. Schuman said. “I wouldn't do this if I thought it would put them out of business.”