Truckers Balk at Ohio's Public Smoking Ban
Ohio's new public smoking ban, which takes effect Thursday, extends to company vehicles of all types based in Ohio, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) reports. As a result, trucks have to get rid of ashtrays and post no-smoking signs at all entrances, said an Ohio Department of Health spokesman. Tracy Sabetta, head of the SmokeFree Ohio campaign, was on the phone much of Tuesday as word spread about the truck-driving provision. SmokeFree Ohio wrote the law passed by Ohio voters in November. Sabetta said the intent is to protect employees in vehicles used by more than one person, even if different drivers use a vehicle at different times. But Sabetta noted that enforcement is based on complaints, saying that health inspectors are not likely to seek out offenders. Larry Davis, president of the Ohio Trucking Association, said the group will ask the next state legislature to exempt truck drivers. He says the motivation behind the ban was eliminating secondhand smoke, which does not affect drivers. A reported 40 to 75 percent of truck drivers in Ohio are smokers, according to The Plain Dealer.As it stands, an out-of-state trucker crossing into Ohio can light up, said the Ohio Department of Health, but smoking is illegal if the truck is based in Ohio. Family-owned and -operated trucks are exempt if drivers are related to the owner, the DOH said. Among more than a dozen states with public smoking bans, Ohio appears to be the only one that forbids smoking in trucks, said a UPS spokesman.