Two-thirds of Ohio smoking ban fines are unpaid

State data shows officials have collected only one-third of the $2.2 million in fines levied for facilities that have violated Ohio's smoking ban since enforcement began four years ago.

An analysis by the Dayton Daily News also found the percentage of fines collected drops each year. It was 81% in 2007 but 26% last year.

Health officials have issued more than 2,300 fines totaling more than $2.2 million since May 2007. About $1.5 million had not been paid as of April 30.

The newspaper says that's frustrating local health officials because 90% of the collected fines are intended to go toward investigations.

Most places comply with the ban, but some officials argue the holdouts would change their behavior if the state collected the fines more aggressively.

In Toledo, the two estalishments most frequently reported to the state and local health departments were Dave's Hideaway on N. Detroit Ave. which was reported 21 times and cited 11 times, and The Rip Cord on N. Erie St. which was reported 21 time and cited 16 times since the smoking ban went into effect. Both establishments have outstanding, unpaid fines.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)

View list of all area smoking ban violations as of 5/2/11

What do you think is preventing the state from recovering the unpaid fines? Do you think the smoking ban is too hard to enforce? Do you support the statewide smoking ban? Post your comments below.