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Ohio Weighs Cost Benefit of Smoking Ban

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Ohio's 2007 law that bans indoor smoking has cost the state a net of about $2 million to enforce, the Columbus Dispatch reported Feb. 22.

The Ohio Department of Health estimated total enforcement costs at $3.2 million, but said that the state has levied fines of about $1.2 million and collected about $400,000. “I don't think this has been an unreasonable cost for enforcement,” said Mandy Burkett, chief of the department's indoor environment section. “I think the costs will be recouped by savings in other areas, particularly health-care costs.”

Critics said the figures show that the law is costing taxpayers a lot of money that could be used for education, healthcare or other needs. Sen. Bill Seitz said that bars should be allowed to purchase smoking licenses similar to liquor licenses, and that money from licensing fees could be used to fund enforcement.

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