FOX19 Exclusive: Should Smoking Ban Be Followed At Bingo Hall? - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

FOX19 Exclusive: Should Smoking Ban Be Followed At Bingo Hall?

Guess which popular public facility is not kicking the smoking habit? Bingo!

That Bingo hall's apparent flouting of the 8-month-old smoking ban is raising red flags for the health department.

They play Bingo here on Monday and Tuesday nights, and by the club's own admission, a lot of Bingo players are smokers, so they say they'll keep lighting up until the courts say otherwise.

Mary Urteaga's grandmother is big into Bingo, but she's not into smoking.

"So I went in there and half of the people are smoking in a space that's pretty small, that's about 200 people," said Urteaga. "There's ash trays and you'll sit right next to someone. There's not proper ventilation and the room is engulfed in smoke."

None of this comes as any surprise to the Norwood Health Department. They've got files of complaints about smoking at the Bingo hall,, but the Bingo hall is fighting the warnings and complaints, claiming to be a private club.

"There is no private club exemption," said Donna Laake with the Norwood Health Department. "The voters of Ohio did not say that. The voters said there were no exemptions, and so we have been advised that very, very narrowly is there a private club and we don't believe Norwood Bingo meets that definition."

But the Bingo hall's attorney says they are a private club because they have no paid employees, only volunteers, they operate out of a stand alone structure, and only members can play.

"Are there signs posted, are there people smoking? Are there ash trays present? Does it smell like smoke? That's all I can control, I can't control whether they're a private club or not. That's gonna be determined by the courts and we'll be happy to take it there," said Laake.

And Mary Urteaga hopes they do take it there, for her Bingo-loving grandmother's sake.

"The laws are there for a reason and as a society make those laws and people just don't care," said Urteaga. "No one is above the law."

FOX19.com: Corey McConnell

 

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