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Clubs probe for loopholes in smoke ban

Publication Date: 2006-11-26
  • Author:Jim Provance
  • Publication:Toledo (OH) Blade

Few exemptions likely in strict new Ohio law

Local VFW and American Legion posts, Moose lodges, and other private clubs across the state are scrambling to see if they can qualify for an exemption after voters decided Nov. 7 to make Ohio the first Midwestern state to ban smoking in nearly all indoor public places.

The law, which takes effect Dec. 7, is so narrowly tailored that many not-for-profit clubs and fraternal organizations are expected to be classified as smoke-free workplaces.

Some have talked of selling guest memberships at the door, making all employees members, or changing their liquor licenses, but none of these maneuvers is expected to help them get around the law.

“We are private clubs, regardless of what the politicians say,” said Bill Seagraves, state commander of the Department of Ohio Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“They have really confused people on the issue,” Mr. Seagraves said. “A lot of our employees are members of our organization, but [the law is] also calling volunteers employees. I don”t understand that.”