Smoking Gun

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Smoking ban advocates say the Ohio Supreme Court decision doesn't end efforts to make public places smoke-free.

While they believe the health departments were a more direct approach, they say there are other avenues.

Sandy Erb, Regional Coordinator for the advocate group Tobacco-Free Ohio, says it might seek state legislation allowing health departments to institute a ban.

"We'll look to other places, such as city councils and ballot initiatives, to pursue clean indoor air in Ohio," Erb adds.

One place the health department will look at later this month is Belpre City Council. But while Erb says council members are supportive, Mayor Bill McAfee doesn't believe all of them are behind the regulations.

"The question is, when it goes to city council, will it ever get out of committee?" says Mayor McAfee.

While it will continue its anti-smoking efforts, the health department will be turning its attention to education.

"We will continue to advocate for people not to smoke for their health," says health commissioner Charles Hammer. "And to not smoke in public places, so as no to expose other people to second-hand smoke."

The issue is expected to go to council Sept. 22.

The ban, if approved, would apply to public places such as restaurants. In other cities, it would apply to places such as bars, but Belpre bans the sale of alcohol in its city limits.